2 1/2 days in Mesa Verde, Santa Fe, Taos

Old Apr 14th, 2016, 01:13 PM
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2 1/2 days in Mesa Verde, Santa Fe, Taos

Two friends and I are visiting the SW in late Sept. We'll be leaving Durango, CO on a Wed morning and driving to Mesa Verde. We'd like to visit MV, Santa Fe, and Taos before heading to Albuquerque late Fri (with a Sat morning flight home). Is that too much to squeeze in between Wed morning and Fri evening? If it is, what should we leave out? If you think it's possible to see all three, what's the best configuration? For example, drive to MV and spend most of Wed there, then drive to Santa Fe (or is Taos better) in the evening and spend Thurs there? Then move to the third spot on Fri, and drive back to Alb on Fri night? I'm afraid we may be trying to do too much in a short period of time.

We are three seniors citizens, mainly interested in historic and cultural sights, art, churches, and places to photograph the beautiful landscape. Walking isn't a problem, but not interested in hiking. I'd love to get suggestions for sights we shouldn't miss. Thanks!
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 02:11 PM
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Your plan to drive from Durango, visit Mesa Verde on Wed then drive to Santa Fe in the evening is not advisable. It's over 5 hours from MV to SF. You do not want to be driving unfamiliar curvy roads which often have large animals like elk and deer crossing them after dark. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the top of the mesa once you leave the main road and the road in is steep and full of switchbacks.

I would drive to Mesa Verde and try to get lodging at Far View Lodge in the park on Wednesday. Have a nice supper at the Metate Room. Thursday morning visit any sites you haven't seen and then drive to Santa Fe. Spend the rest of Thursday afternoon evening and Friday morning in SF then drive to Albuquerque on the Turquoise Trail.

If you have to do Taos, then leave MV earlier Thursday drive the 5+ hours to Taos, then go to Santa Fe for Thursday night. Check to see if Taos pueblo will be open to visitors when you plan to go.
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 02:42 PM
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Mesa Verde is what to leave out. It is in the opposite direction of Taos and Santa Fe and it is a time consuming place because it is a long drive in and a long drive back out.

Taos and Santa Fe are full of history and they are wonderfully photogenic. While in Taos, take the tour of the Taos Pueblo. The first tour is at 9:00 a.m. and they "run every 20 minutes on the hour."

Taos is about 200 miles and 4 hours from Durango driving on US-160E and US-64E.

HTtY
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 02:54 PM
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I concur with emalloy.
I totally disagree with with happytrails.

While Taos and Santa Fe have a certain charm, there are other "old towns" like Phoenix and San Diego. They have much of the same [not exact] feel and look.

Mesa Verde is a very unusual, unique place that is beautiful and has a spiritual feel to it. The cliff dwellings, the carvings, the whole feel of the place is special.

Taos is small and wouldn't take long to see the best parts of it. It is a long drive from Durango/Mesa Verde. I'd leave it off the list.

Santa Fe's old town and its surrounds is very popular and there are many of the things you mentioned that you like.

I would plan to spend your last night, Friday, in Albuquerque to avoid any traffic issues or the like.

As always, YMMV
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 02:55 PM
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Well, you have great instincts for great places, but your sense of distance is out of whack.

Can you eliminate Durango or the place before Durango? Mesa Verde is better than Durango unless you are train buffs. Taos is better than Durango. Santa Fe us better than Durango.

If you are arriving from the west, do Mesa Verde on Tuesday, drive through Durango and Pagosa Springs to arrive in Taos late Wednesday, take the High Road to Santa Fe on Thursday, spend the rest of Thursday and Friday morning there, then drive to Albuquerque via the Silver Trail.

Please be sure you leave each "town" with plenty of gas and water. This is still pretty empty country, and you may not have cell service or find lots of places to eat or use the toilet.
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 03:32 PM
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"drive to Albuquerque via the Silver Trail. "

I believe you mean The Turquoise Trail aka SR 14.
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 05:35 PM
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We can't eliminate Durango. We are doing a Road Scholar photography trip the week before that ends in Durango that Wed morning.
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Old Apr 14th, 2016, 06:26 PM
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Head to Mesa Verde ASAP and get in at least 1/2 day Wednesday afternoon and then Thursday morning; that isn't enough but better than nothing.

I would head to Santa Fe on Thursday afternoon and see the plaza late on Thursday, there should be some daylight left. Spend Friday in Santa Fe. Head to ABQ Friday night.

You do not have enough time for Taos.
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 07:00 AM
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You are right that you don't have time to do everything on your list.

You will love Taos and, if you go there, you will wonder why anybody would tell you to skip it. The town has many photo opportunities, the Pueblo and La Hacienda del los Martinez being two of my favorites. Google "Taos things to do tripadvisor" and read through the long list of what there is to do and photograph there.

Attractions on the Turquoise Trail include the Santuario de Chimayo: http://www.turquoisebear.com/scenic-...e-to-taos.html

HTtY
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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I have to agree it's quite ambitious to include Taos. After 20-something years visiting Santa Fe and Taos I moved here. I love Taos, too. But, the with limited time it will be a lot of time in a car and not much actually visiting a spot.

The Santuario de Chimayo is *not* on the Turquoise Trail which is from ABQ to Santa Fe. Santuario de Chimayo is on the High Road to Taos from Santa Fe.
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 08:07 AM
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We are three seniors citizens, mainly interested in historic and cultural sights, art, churches, and places to photograph the beautiful landscape.

Sounds like Taos to me, but perhaps I didn't see everything at Mesa Verde.

HTtY
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 08:33 AM
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I found Taos Pueblo fine, much like Accoma Publo, for an hour tour , but Mesa Verde is an experience of historic life and much more interesting and with very much more to do/see. I have gone back to Mesa Verde to see more of the park, would not go back to Taos unless I were going to ski.
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 04:59 PM
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I'm another NM resident who loves Taos, but I agree that you don't really have time to visit. I'd go with emalloy's suggested itinerary and plan a return visit to New Mexico.

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 06:11 PM
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If you are not interested in hiking or climbing (Mesa Verde tours), and will leave Durango in the morning, you could do a quick overview of Mesa Verde on Wednesday. Then drive back while still light to Durango for the night. Thursday morning, onto Taos for another quickie (or skip and go straight to Santa Fe), spend the night in Santa Fe.Friday late afternoon on to Albuquerque, via Turquoise Trail for scenery, or more ďirect route if it is late.

Whew. A lot of driving, but you can get in some sights. Just not enough time for scheduled ranger walks or Pueblo visits.
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Old Apr 15th, 2016, 11:55 PM
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The overview of Mesa Verde will be disappointing. The one set of cliff dwellings that can be visited without a tour is under restoration. I think that a tour of at least one set of cliff dwellings is essential. Sign up for them at the entrance of the park.
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Old Apr 28th, 2016, 08:04 PM
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Well, it looks like we may have to change plans. Both Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde will be closed when we're there. The sites that are open for touring involve ladder climbing, etc. We're not up for that. Should we skip Mesa Verde all together? Should we just spend the full 2 1/2 days in Santa Fe? Or is there something else in the area (between Durango and Santa Fe or between Santa Fe and Albuquerque) we should check out?
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 03:30 AM
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Let me repeat myself.

"You are right that you don't have time to do everything on your list. You will love Taos and, if you go there, you will wonder why anybody would tell you to skip it. The town has many photo opportunities, the Pueblo and La Hacienda del los Martinez being two of my favorites. Google "Taos things to do tripadvisor" and read through the long list of what there is to do and photograph there."

I don't know why some folks have discouraged you from going to Taos. Do a little research. It is a unique place.

HTtY
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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HTtY, some people suggested Taos be cut because the OP doesn't have enough time for all the places they want to visit. But now that Mesa Verde is off the schedule, they should be able to visit Taos.
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Old Apr 29th, 2016, 08:48 AM
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I didn't promote Mesa Verde. It is way down my list of favorite National Parks because on my two visits there I had disappointments of the kind the OP encountered.

HTtY
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Old May 2nd, 2016, 11:49 AM
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Ok, here's our new plan (and I'll post in the New Mexico forum as well). We will leave Durango on a Wed morning and drive to Taos (skipping Mesa Verde all together). We'll spent the rest of Wed and part of Thurs in Taos. Then we'll drive to Santa Fe and spend part of Thurs and part of Fri in SF before heading to Albuquerque Fri night. Does that sound doable? Any particular route suggestions?
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