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Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Little Rock...
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Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Looking for a more scenic route that I can make pretty good time without a lot of stops. Which is the better route: 1) after Santa Rosa take Highway 84 north to I-25 and then into Santa Fe, 2) drive a little further down I-40 and take Highway 285 to I-25, or 3) all the way to Albuquerque and then up I-25?

This will be in late October.

TIA

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

I have done both 285 and rt3 and I liked 3 better a little more scenic and less traveled. (not that 285 is booming express)

enjoy..

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

If you take Rt. 3, stop at Villaneuva State Park. It's just off the road and quite scenic. The park is on the Pecos River

www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/villanueva.htm

…state.nm.us/prd/documents/Villanueva_005.pdf

santafenewmexican.com/local%20news/Villanuev…

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Of the three (84, 285 and 3), I've only been on 3 north of I-40. It goes by Villanueva State Park, which we've stayed at and has some good facilities. It also goes by the small Madison Winery, which we also enjoyed. I-25 is pretty scenic to me from there to Santa Fe & you'll be driving by Pecos and through Glorietta Pass. There's another alternative: the Turquoise Trail (14 north out of Tijeras), just before ABQ, goes on back side of Sandias from ABQ, through Madrid & Cerrillos. Late October could see an early winter blast so watch road conditions. Even though that stretch is not particularly mountainous at all, you can get some iffy weather conditions, particularly around Clines Corners.

New Mexico
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4. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

I 2nd Villaneuva State park. I love to hike to the top of the (small) mountain.

Also on Route 3 is Madison Winery

http://www.madison-winery.com/

then

About 3 miles before you get to 25 is La Risa Cafe. Great Food.

thelarisacafe.com/TheLaRisaCafe.com/Home.html

She makes the best brownies!!

Edmond, OK
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5. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Have driven this route many, many times from OKC to Santa Fe. The fastest, easiest way into SF from the east on I40 is exiting at Clines Corners onto Hwy 285 and going north to I25 then west into town. (You can also turn west just past the interstate onto Las Vegas Hiway and take that into SF) It may not be the most scenic, but by the time you have driven from Little Rock, you just want to get there.

The most scenic route is, by far, Hwy 3 north from I40 through Villanueva State Park to I25, then west into SF. It follows the Pecos river for part of the way. Getting behind a slower moving vehicle can be frustrating on this winding road, but be patient because the scenery is rewarding. It is also quite a bit further on I25 west to SF.

The other alternates: Hwy 84 goes too far north and east to I25 and Hwy 41 and 14 have you going too far west before turning north. Save Hwy 14 (Turquoise Trail) for a day trip from SF.

BE SURE and stop at the new visitors center as you come into New Mexico - the folks there are lovely and you can get a free road map, clean bathrooms and coffee! Happy Trails!

Folsom, California
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6. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

When are you going?

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Albuquerque, New...
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7. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

NM 3 through Villanueva is a pretty drive, but so is US 84. Plus, you would be driving on pre-1939 Route 66 all the way from I-40 to I-25. After turning on I-25, it is a pretty drive with the mesas and all the juniper and pinon trees along the way. Views of the east side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains are pretty special. This wouldn't take a lot more time than NM 3, as 84 and I-25 have relatively fast speeds (65 and 75).

Little Rock...
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8. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm planning on driving out the last week in October.

Edmond, OK
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9. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

Absolutely, all are good roads each with different scenery and vistas. We always like to take the roads less travelled when we are in New Mexico, because you never know what you'll see. We have also taken Hwy 104 that goes in a northwesterly direction out of Tucumcari to Las Vegas, then I25 down to Santa Fe. It probably has the most unusual scenery of any of the other roads that are off I40 and could be a challenge driving in iffy weather - several hairpin turns, mountain dropoffs, etc. Need to have plenty of time for this one.

Have a great trip - Fall is my favorite time to visit New Mexico.

10. Re: Driving into Santa Fe from the East on I-40 (Best Way)

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