New Mexico Trip Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by jmal, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. jmal

    jmal Member

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    I'm heading to NM next month and have a rough idea of my itinerary, but I figured I'd ask here anyway. I plan on beginning in SF. From there I could go to Bandelier and Tent Rocks. I also plan to head to AZ for a day or two in Canyon de Chelly. My primary interests are some places for 2-3 hour hikes, good photos, and then back to town in the evening for dinner and drinks. Any other areas near SF (i.e. within a an hour or two) that would be better/more interesting than Bandelier or Tent Rocks? Also, has anyone used a guide in Canyon de Chelly (and was it worth it)? Lastly, any food/drink recommendations for SF? Last time I was there, it seemed like the town closed very early. Was I just missing something? Thanks.
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Santa Fe is a small town and yes it closes up early. I lived there for a couple of years and when I went out to eat, I usually drove to Albuquerque because there is not much in Santa Fe except fast food (YUCK) and ultra expensive places where lunch costs $50 a person (couldn't afford that...was cheaper to buy gas to go to ABQ and eat at middle-class oriented places).
     
  3. mark

    mark Member

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    Depends on the guide. Be specific about what you want. I grew up near Canyon de Chelly. One of my most favorite places. While you are out there you have to catch a sunset at the Chuska mountain range. Head east from the canyon to Tsaile(sp) and maybe north to Lukachukai on you way back to New Mexico. If it is passable drive over buffalo pass for amazing vistas into the Bisti. If it is not passable drive south to the turn off to Crystal. Then hang a left and go over Narbona pass.

    In Santa fe head to Chimayo, espanola, truchus(sp) and Taos. Lots to see and do.
     
  4. Don12x20

    Don12x20 Member

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    Lukachuki Pass is outstanding -- from Shiprock to Lukachuki.
    Not sure if the local Chapter is still giving passes to be on this section of tribal land - Mark do you know?
     
  5. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    You may like to check out the Pecos Wilderness Area east out of Santa Fe up I-25 to the town of Pecos. I searched online and there are closer access points to the Pecos Wilderness from Santa Fe with some nice possibilities for day hikes. I have only entered from Pecos Canyon.
    The Santa Fe Ski Basin may be a possibility for some hiking.
    As far as restaurants, I don't know the ones in Santa Fe very well but if you go north toward Española I like Gabriel's about 10 or so miles out before you get to Pojoaque. And, Española being closer than Albuquerque may be an option for less expensive restaurants. The ones I'm familiar with are La Cocina, Matilda's, Jo Ann's, just some options.
    Taos Ski area has some trails to hike, too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2010
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Since you'll be close, I recommend you stop at Los Alamos, and visit the museum. Its a real eye opener to the "Atomic Age" and why the town exists. I grew up there and still find out more that I didn't know about. The town still had armed gun towers when we moved there, and everyone lived at the same PO box number in Santa Fe. Anyway, beautiful city, then leave town headed north and visit the Valle Grande. Its an extinct volcano crater thats the heart of the Jemez Mountains. Continue through to Jemez Pueblo and on north to Ship Rock and Four Corners. The drive is magnificant and many places for short hikes, and to burn copious amounts of film.
     
  7. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    Take the tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains. Breathtaking views of four states!
     
  8. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    I don't know if others find this cheesy, but I quite liked the little "ghost town" trail (Turquoise Trail). I stopped in Madrid and Cerrillos, meant to stop in Golden but it appeared so quickly that I missed it and there were no places to turn around for some reason.

    Along the road to Cerrillos:
    [​IMG]

    Taos Pueblo is nice as well, people are pretty friendly. If I remember correctly it doesn't open to visitors until 8:30 or 9:00 and might close around 4 so the lighting isn't perfect, but it's still an interesting place to see.
    [​IMG]

    Also, La Choza in Santa Fe has pretty good food. Blue Corn Cafe is OK, not amazing, but other people seem to really like it so it probably depends on what you order.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    I never heard of needing passes to go over Buffalo pass. On the Navajo Reservation you technically need a back country permit to travel off a paved road. Some people do not get upset, really, until you start hiking around unescorted. But these people are very few and far between. It is not like the Hopi or Zuni Reservations where photography is restricted and so is hiking. I have not been over buffalo pass is years but they were getting it ready to pave it then. Photography is not restrict on the Navajo Reservation if it is for personal display and use. Commercial photography is another story. If you have questions call the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation office.

    Oh Yeah, be careful in the Canyon De Chelly parking lots. Lots and Lots of cars get broken into. Especially the White House Ruin Trail and Spider Rock parking lots. If it looks expensive and it can be seen there is a good chance you will be broken into.
     
  10. trhull

    trhull Member

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    Agree with the Turquoise trail. My only photo with multiple sales was taken in Cerrillos, so its a favorite. Good wikepedia history on Cerrillos. Also liked Chimayo, and several places along the Rio Grande! Madrid-not so much, and I missed Ruidoso which some folks like.
     
  11. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    Don't miss Ghost Ranch and Abiqui (sp) two place that are very photogenic.... also gotta go try to find Hernandez, don't you? There's a nice loop around the back country East and North of SF. The Pecos Pueblo is worth seeing. Most are pretty depressing. Otherwise, have some fun!
    Logan
     
  12. skyrick

    skyrick Member

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    Also take the High Road to Taos, it starts roughly NE of Espanola through Truchas, Las Trampas, and a couple of other small towns. Take the Enchanted Circle drive from Taos east through Angel Fire, Eagles Nest, Red River, Questa, and back to Taos; or even better if you have 4wd, westbound from Taos to Questa. There is a logging road that goes over the mountain pass to Red River, then continue on through Eagles Nest and Angel Fire.
     
  13. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Thanks for all the recommendations and the tips about break-ins at Canyon de Chelly. I'm trying to get away from that sort of thing! Skyrick, I've driven the high road before and really liked it, but there is almost no room to pull of the road. I'm really trying not to spend my whole vacation in the car, even though driving in NM is nice. Having said that, I'd also like to go to White Sands. I'm not sure if it is worth the effort or not. Any thoughts on White Sands would be great. Also, how concerned must one be about getting sand in equipment there? Thanks.
     
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  15. Thebes

    Thebes Subscriber

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    I don't know where you were in Santa Fe but there are a LOT of excellent small restaurants. They don't, mostly, cost 50 a person... actually I can only think of a couple that do, though they are all a bit more expensive than Abq. SF is one of those cities that talks about shutting down fast food. FWIW I live 2 hours from SF, go there often and lived there for a while a few years ago. Lots of culture, lots more photogenic IMHO than Abq which is more mainstream USA.
     
  16. mark

    mark Member

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    Depends on the winds. Spring is windy in the southwest
     
  17. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Santa Fe is a small town, so it doesn't matter where in town you are, lol. I could not afford the few places that served food I could get myself to eat. I don't do seafood or asian or anything else strange. I have an EXTREMELY delicate stomach, the tiniest bit of spiciness makes me get very sick very fast. So, I only eat very bland, plain things. Basically most American midwest type stuff. That kind of food is virtually nonexistant in Santa. I agree that ABQ is very normal-americano looking, but I didn't go there to take pictures, I went there to eat and shop. Fast food will never be shut down in Santa Fe no matter how much the granola crunchers wring their hands, the city has a lot of people who actually have to work for a living and can afford nothing else. I wasn't that poor, but I couldn't afford most of the decent places there either. I would rather live in Santa Fe than my hometown in Indiana for a lot of reasons having to do with culture. My family is from Spain and I simply fit in better in Santa Fe. That said, living in a city of 300,000 people does make life easier in many ways. I don't have to leave town to buy clothes I can afford or to go out to eat, as I did in Santa Fe.

    I know I won't make any friends saying this too, but I found the landscape generally depressing in New Mexico. I missed seeing actual water in rivers and landscapes that are green and alive. There are more than 100 lakes, all natural lakes, in northeast Indiana alone. One of my grandfathers owned a lake cottage and I spent a lot of my childhood up there with him. I miss the culture in NM though, and I plan to go back to NM after my son graduates from high school. His mother was institutionalized by the state, she has psychiatric problems, so I came back to Indiana to get custody of him 2 yrs ago.
     
  18. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Chris, I fully understand what you mean regarding the landscape. I live in Kansas, but I grew up in Maryland and really miss green canopy, real rivers, etc. I do like the landscape in NM, though. And, I love spicy and "strange" food. The hotter, the better. As for Asian food, I usually eat Vietnamese food a few times a week. Or Indian. Or Thai. Or sushi. Or Korean. (So that's why I've gained a ton of weight!) I guess that's where we diverge. Anyhow, I'm sure Indiana has plenty of beautiful areas. I was told the other day that Kansas only has two natural lakes, both on private property.
     
  19. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Try as I might, I couldn't find anything remotely spicy in NM. I have an extremely UN-delicate stomach, though :smile:.

    Even though I don't live around any real nature myself, I'm so used to greenery & water that desert landscapes are significantly more interesting to me. Wish I had more opportunity to go to NM again...would love to see White Sands.
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Last time I was in SF for a conference, I found a place near the hotel called the Atomic Grill. Beer and some sort of burrito thing if I recall. It was good and affordable. I ate lunch there most days.

    For spicy food, which I love, in NM look for green chiles. Get it with everything. Breakfast burrito with green chiles. Mac and cheese with green chiles. Enchiladas with green chiles. It's all good. They aren't super spicy, but give a pleasant kick and some nice flavor.

    I loved Carlsbad caverns when I was younger. Worth checking out.
     
  21. toro_mike

    toro_mike Subscriber

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    El Malpais National Monument

    Just wanted to add my $.02. I was just in New Mexico in November and centered our stay in Albuquerque. We went to El Malpais National Monument and hiked around. It's a great place if you want to avoid the crowds and they have a great arch that's easy to get to. It's about one hour west of Albuquerque.
    http://www.nps.gov/elma/index.htm.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2010
  22. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Thanks for the tip Mike. How's the park as a whole?
     
  23. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Surprised no-one's mentioned Bisti. Sure you'll have to stay, eat and drink in Farmington but there's no long term hurt in that and provided you do a bit of research to avoid walking down the flat central plain with no interest. If you get Bisti right you'll get photographs as good as anything available in the south west.
     
  24. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    Watch just walking around at White Sands- I left the 'confines' of the Monument into the Test Range apparently one time tho we passed no signs or fences. Hefty fine even then, in these more paranoid times it must be very high.

    There is a second part of Bandolier which is really great- smaller but quite beautiful. The name is escaping me now (I left NM in '95) but the main park can tell you about it. Lots of small cave dwellings you can get in and lots of petroglyphs. Tiny parking area right off the road, but there was hardly anyone ever there when I used to visit. I can only recall one time out of ten visits there was anyone else around.
     
  25. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Tsankawi?
     
  26. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    Yes!