We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

6 posts
Save Topic
From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

Hello from Germany.

We would like to travel for From Albuquerque NM to Denver CO in 6 Days by car.

The date is the 3rd of May to 9th of May this spring. It would be great to get also some impressions from the south Rocky Mountains.

So this means North West from Denver, isn’t it?

Is there anybody out there who can give us some first advices for the route?

So we don’t like the big places, more the lonely routs, stop from time to time and take a walk for a couple of miles.

So it would be nice to get some ideas.

Thanks in advance, Claudia & Jens

Taos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
644 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

You will have many choices and I'm sure many recommendations from those of us who live in the part of the world. We think you should consider the following:

Since you're not wanting "big" places, you might spend a little time in Santa Fe before going north to Taos, NM. Taos is nestled against the western side of the Southern Rocky Mountains known as the Sangre de Christo Range. The peaks tower thousands of feet over the town to the north, east and south.

Taos is small in stature, but big on art and the outdoors. White water rafting, ballooning, horseback riding, a llama trek are part of the outdoors experiences. Many art galleries and 7 small art museums are in town. The town became an art colony around the turn of the 20th Century and has been prominent in the art world ever since.

You can spend 3 to 4 nights in Taos and never see the same thing twice. Plenty of really great restaurants as well. Forgot to mention that we are surrounded by National Forest on two sides of town and there are many, many terrific day hikes close by.

We're biased in favor of B&B's and on TripAdvisor.com there are 45 small B&B's/Inns in the Taos vicinity. Check it out:


Many of these have online booking engines where you can make your reservations directly through the Internet. B&B's are small, intimate, and give you a real feel for the way of life in this little town.

On your way north to Denver, consider going directly into Southern Colorado toward the towns and Inns along the Arkansas River west of Pueblo, Colorado. This might include Canyon City, Colorado near the Royal Gorge Bridge (one of the highest bridges in the world). Staying in this area will bring you just a few hours away from Denver Airport where the international flights in and out of Germany are primarily serviced by United Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines.

We hope you have a fun and memorable trip~!

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

With six days of travel time, you can see so much in Colorado and New Mexico. I'm presuming you are flying into Albuquerque, and out of Denver, with a rental car in between.

Definitely visit our historic Old Town area here in Albuquerque. 19th Century adobe homes have now been transformed into a miriad of shops, and restaurants. The Albuquerque Museum of History and Art is a good first stop, to give you an excellent introduction into the ancient Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo history of our area. A ride on our world's-longest tramway to the top of 11,000ft. Sandia Peak would also be worthwhile, and offers some great 100-mile views.

Drive the "backroad" to Santa Fe, NM-14 (a.k.a. the "Turquoise Trail") to Santa Fe through diverse scenery and old mining towns such as Madrid (Mad-rid)...now a quirky arts and crafts place. Santa Fe has so many historical sites, and museums, plus a major Mecca for Southwestern Art, and Jewelry. It is celebrating its 400th Anniversary this year.

Next, Taos and 15th Century Taos Pueblo...2 routes to get there...the "High Road" through little mountain villages such as Chimayo, Trampas, and Penasco; or the "Low Road" via Espanola, Pilar and Rancho de Taos along the Rio Grande River, and it's gorge.

From Taos north through Questa to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, and Alamosa. North from Alamosa through Salida, Buena Vista to Leadville (beautiful!). Then I-70 at Copper Mountain into Denver. From I-70 you can take the old US.Highway over Loveland Pass as a side trip off the interstate. Also see enroute to Denver, Georgetown, and Central City, two very lively Old West towns.

Six days should allow you do take in the most prominent sites, and also enjoy some hiking, or possibly river rafting. (The latter has some good runs out of Pilar, SW of Taos).

Enjoy your trip through the Rockies, which actually pass by Albuquerque also (our Sandias), and end in El Paso at the Mexican Border.

Edited: 25 March 2010, 22:55
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
21,356 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

As others have said, plenty to see and do in 6 days!

May 3 Day 1 arrive Albuquerque. Drive to Santa Fe and visit .

May 4 Day 2 Santa Fe Plaza area in morning then to Pagosa Springs or Durango for the night.

May 5 Day 3 Mesa Verde National Park and back to Durango

May 6 Day 4 Durango to Silverton to Ouray for the night. Some of the most beautiful mountains along this drive.

May 7 Day 5 Ouray area to Gunnison, seeing Black Canyon of the Gunnison along the way.

May 8 Day 6 Gunnison to Buena Vista, seeing St Elmo Ghost Town, Chalk Creek. Stay in Buena Vista. Awesome Collegiate Range mountains.

May 9 Day 7 - Arrive Denver and depart.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,164 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

Lucky you!

It's smart to take time to explore!

Certainly taking the back road to Taos is a good suggestion: Rt 76 NE from Santa Fe through Chimayo (stop @ the Sanctuary and at Ortega's rug shop), Truchas, Trampas, then 518 up to Taos.

One thing I was thinking is that you will be in New Mexico for Cinco de Mayo (5th of May), which is the Mexican Independence day. I was searching for festivals during that time in the north, and found only the 27th Annual Taos Spring Arts Festival which starts May 1 and goes the full month of May. Not exactly Cinco de Mayo, but still interesting!

Another loop drive that is very scenic is the Northwest/central loop. If you were staying a night or two in Santa Fe then a day trip could be:

North to Pojoaque, west on 502 to Los Alamos (36 miles). West on 4 from Los Alamos to Bandelier National Monument (22 mi). South on 4 through Valles Caldera, Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, down to join North I-25 at the Santa Ana Pueblo and back up to Santa Fe.

Things to do along the way:

* Los Alamos is still a very active scientific community & has the Bradbury Science Museum.

<for some reason my links are not showing as links...you can just copy and paste these into your browser...sorry!>

*Bandelier National Monument: Anaszi Ruins


*Valles Caldera is an immense valley formed when a mountain range collapsed after the magma was sucked out from underneath after volcanic eruptions.


*The Pueblos along the west side of I-25 between Albuquerque are some of the oldest settlements in the state (dating probably back to the 13th century), and have preserved their culture, language and arts to the present time. Each does really amazing pottery, for example, and I really like the jewelery of Santo Domingo.

If you are interested in taking this route and I can give you directions to Tsankawi, an overlooked part of Bandelier that I think is in many ways more interesting.


Finally, I'm not sure if you have time, but the Northwest part of New Mexico is pretty spectacular...Bisti Badlands, for example:


Chaco Canyon:


Lots to consider!


Edited: 26 March 2010, 06:03
Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,169 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

When you mention "northwest from Denver," I believe you are refering to "Rocky Mountain National Park...which is northwest from Denver, and west of Estes Park, CO. A spectacular drive, much of it above the timberline. The highest point on this "Trail Ridge Road" (closed in Winter) is about 12,000ft. elevation. It is a good, paved highway however. Great views! Enjoy your visit!

6 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

First, thanks a lot for took the time and write so much!

This gives us lot ideas to spend unforgettable days in your beautiful area.

I’ll read and plan, and than come back with a more detailed plan!

Thanks and cheers, Jens

6 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

Hello again!

Now more in detail, and planed a little allready.

First here is the link to the planed trip from day 1 to day 5! If it is not a link, please copy and past!


The Plan is:

Day 1 Albuquerque, Sandia Peak, Albuquerque old town or trip to Jemez! Is Jemez to far for a one day trip?

Day 2 Alb to Santa Fee via 14 like you see in the link above.

Day 3 Santa fee to Taos via high road! Or better low road in beginning May?

Day 4 Taos to Salida! Or is it to far for a day trip with the sand dunes?

Day 5 Salida to ????? north of HW 70! Here i'm not sure where to go!

Now my further questions.

Where to go north of HW 70 during the final one and a half day?

How can i involve Pikes Peak ( cause i'm a rallye fan ;-) )

Can we involve Estes Park?

Can we involve St. Elmo?

Is Bisti Badlands to far from our route to see it?

Sorry for that many questions and thx for your efforts and answers.

So long Jens

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
1,873 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

Many good suggestions. I also like Colorado Springs/Pike's Peak area.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,164 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days


>>>Day 1 Albuquerque, Sandia Peak, Albuquerque old town or trip to Jemez! Is Jemez to far for a one day trip?

Jemez / Bandelier is a day trip. Sandia Peak-Tramway/Old Town is a day. Both together is probably too much to pack into 1 day. Perhaps one way I could imagine doing it would be (1) early breakfast (8:00 AM at Church St. Cafe in Old Town, walk around Old Town after breakfast (2) off to Jemez/Bandelier for a day trip (3) return to Abq late afternoon & tram up to the peak for sunset / dinner. But that does seem like a *full* day.

>>>Day 2 Alb to Santa Fe via 14 like you see in the link above.

I like this drive up North 14. You will see along your route the small town of "Golden". Just past the (very small) town center on the right is a small but photogenic church ( …deviantart.com/art/Little-church-in-Golden-… )...my family's church when I was a child. Also, just up the road from Golden, be sure to stop in Madrid to walk around the shops. Madrid, in my youth in the 1970s was a ghost-town occupied by "hippies" who squatted in the old mining houses. Now it is a thriving arts community.

>>>Day 3 Santa fe to Taos via high road! Or better low road in beginning May?

Check the weather, but the road should be fine. This is a beautiful drive. Favorite stopping points for me are: The Sanctuary at Chimayo; Ortega's rug shop at Chimayo and (if it is near mealtime: Ranchos de Chimayo restaurant); also there is a beautiful old adobe church along the way...I am trying to recall if it is in the town of Truchas or Las Trampas...you will see it on the right of the highway in the middle of town. This countryside and these towns are well captured by New Mexico artist Jennifer Cavan ( http://www.jennifercavan.com/ ) who lives in the region.

Day 4 and 5 I will leave to others.

>>>Is Bisti Badlands to far from our route to see it?

Probably too far. The times we visited Bisti/Chaco Canyon we stayed in the area. You would have to dedicate a long day, for example from Taos driving there, exploring, and driving back by evening at Taos.

Hope this helps!


Edited: 21 April 2010, 15:55
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,164 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: From Albuquerque to Denver in 6 Days

Hi again Claudia and Jens!

A friendly amendment to what I just posted. After reading the recent reviews of the Church St. Cafe here on Tripadvisor, it seems to have gone downhill. Too bad, it used to be better.

INSTEAD you could have a great breakfast at Cecilia's Cafe downtown ( tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60933-d17… ), then hop over to see oldtown and continue on from there. Cecilia will make you a *very* authentic and tasty New Mexican breakfast (corner of 6th and Silver, downtown).

BTW, where are you staying in Abq?