New Mexico driving trip

Mar 16th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 64
New Mexico driving trip

Considering last minute addition to a 10 day trip early April 07. 2 adults, 2 kids (9 and 12).Chaco National Park vs Gila National Monument. Will be visiting Albuquerue, Santa Fe, Taos, Carlbad and White Sands. Wondering about driving conditions to Chaco at this time of year?
hat is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 04:11 PM
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Don't know about the driving conditions around Chaco canyon in April, though I reckon they'll be fine. Here's a nice educational loop between Albuquerque and Santa Fe:

Springtime in the desert is beautiful!

PhotoDad is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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From our trip to Chaco Canyon, my impression is if it has been dry for the day, you drive slow on the rough dirt road. If it has been raining you wait until it dries or you go somewhere else.
rm_mn is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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We were at Chaco in Sept and the road was great - you could cruise along at 40 mph, no problem. Go see Chaco - it's incredible.
A highlight of our trip was a little town called Jemez Springs. A very small town but so beautiful. We hiked to some awesome hot springs nearby. Stayed at a wonderful B&B - gorgeous setting & house, very reasonably priced - called Canon del Rio. Some trip pics at:
sharondi is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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We are doing a 10 day trip in late April 07. Heading same places you are..
would really appreciate a follow up on what you loved and what you would skip?And Note to SharonDi your response with pictures was great-really enjoyed your link
Jeff7660 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Here's a link to a suggested itinerary for NM and SW CO; maybe it will be helpful.

Carlsbad and White Sands is in the opposite direction. I've been to White Sands - it's a long way {from ABQ or other areas} for nothing too special. Don't know about Carlsbad.

If you have Q's, please ask.

DebitNM is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Thanks everyone! Loved your pictures Sharondi. Looks like a great trip. Jeff7660,will be back mid April so will let you know about the highlights.We promised the kids White Sands so White Sands it is.

Any recommendations about the best way to get to Chaco from Taos?
hat is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 03:39 AM
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I'm so glad you all enjoyed the pictures. I hope they helped with your trip planning.
hat, we were headed from Chaco to Taos - we left Chaco and traveled Rte 550 east to Cuba where we picked up Rte 126 through the Sante Fe Nat'l Forest (which was a very scenic drive). We ended up in Jemez Springs, as I mentioned in a previous post, for a night. Then on to Taos. Don't miss the Taos Pueblo - which for us was the highlight of Taos. We didn't really care much for Taos and wished we'd spent our last few days elsewhere. But the Pueblo was remarkable.
sharondi is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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For those of you interested in Chaco Canyon, PBS has a special called "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon". Here is show:


November 2006 (check local listings)

Chaco Canyon, located in northwest New Mexico, is perhaps the only site in the world constructed in an elaborate pattern that mirrors the yearly cycle of the sun and the 19-year cycle of the moon. How did an ancient civilization, with no known written language, arrange its buildings into a virtual celestial calendar, spanning an area roughly the size of Ireland? Why did this society, ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians, choose to establish the center of their world in the middle of such an arid, barren land? And why, after constructing buildings the size of the Roman Coliseum, did these same people deliberately seal them and abruptly leave? These enigmas have puzzled archaeologists for centuries. This program presents substantial evidence that the Chacoan people expressed a complex solar and lunar cosmology in their magnificent architecture. The discoveries documented in the film have transformed scientific understanding of this site — one of the most elaborate and mysterious of ancient Native-American ruins — and are revolutionizing perceptions of the Chacoan civilization. Robert Redford narrates. Producer: The Solstice Project.

You can go to and put in your zip code to determine if/when your local station will broadcast.

There is an older VHS that you can buy that talks about the history of the canyon called "Odyssey: The History of Chaco Canyon" which is very interesting.

Its worth watching to really make your visit to Chaco Canyon even more interesting.

We're heading back this year and are really looking forward to it!

BeachGirl247 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Chaco was a unique experience made
even more special by the research
and reading I did before the trip.
It helps to have some understanding
of the site before you get there.

Here's some sites that I found interesting:

There are more if you are willing to
spend some time searching them out.

If you camp out there make sure that you spend some time sitting quietly...
I still wonder about the womens voices chanting and flute & drum playing that
I was hearing. Perhaps it was another camper but my wife (sharondi) wasn't
really hearing the same thing I was as
we were lying in our tent. All I know is that I was left with an intense feeling of
melancholy. Finding and handling ancient potsherds and even
seeing the fingerprints of the long-ago
potter who made the vessel added to the feeling of something wondrous lost forever.
It is a great temptation to pocket a couple of those potsherds but
the spirits that linger in that canyon
preclude any kind of petty theft.

Chaco isn't for everyone but for some like it is the experience of a lifetime. I hope to
return someday but, at least I got there once.
peterboy is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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Now we can't wait to visit Chaco Canyon, and we are definitely glad we added it to our trip. Your thoughts and input are much appreciated.
hat is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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We took our kids on a driving trip around New Mexico last year. They like Carlsbad but I think I would not go unless it were later in the summer and you could see the bats. I disagree with poster who thought White Sands was nothing special. I thought it was one of the most magical places. We also really enjoyed Badolier National Monument, Los Alamos and its two museums and the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. We went to Roswell (liked the souvenirs) and also Ruidoso, which was beautiful, if quiet and off-season, and visited the Smokey Bear State Park.
sfamylou is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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It's not so much that White Sands isn't anything special. It is just that it it so far from the other areas that OP wanted to visit that I didn't think it was worth the time and the drive.

After you go down the dunes a half dozen times, that's about it, IMHO.
DebitNM is offline  

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