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Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

Maidstone, Kent
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Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

We shall be making the trip from Flagstaff to Pagosa in September returning to Flagstaff for home. Can anyone please give advice to a couple of Brits re. road travel etc, also any suggestions re. B & B's along the way in Flagstaff, ABQ and Santa Fe? I apologise for such a lot of info. but it would be very much appreciate.

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for Colorado
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1. Re: Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

Hi, onesingleyellowrose!

For B & B suggestions, I'm wondering if you've searched and/or posted in the Arizona and New Mexico forums as well. I read the New Mexico forums some times and I know there have been several mentions of B&Bs, esp. in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

September should be a great time for the trip you have planned. Could you be a bit more specific about your questions regarding road travel?

One thing I would suggest is that you make a loop trip and include Cortez, Mesa Verde National Park, and Durango in your itinerary. You could ride the Durango=Silverton narrow gauge railroad through some spectacular scenery.

Another scenic railroad along your route is the Cumbres-Toltec Scenic Railroad.

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2. Re: Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

What a scenic trip at a great time of year! I was there in September 2 years ago and had a wonderful time.

I sounds like you will be taking I40 through New Mexico? You might take a northern loop back to see more country. I would suggest going through Farmington (Aztec Ruins), Ship Rock (throat of ancient volcano and sacred mountain of the Navaho), and Monument Valley. If you have time you can do an day trip to Mesa Verde from Pagosa.

Also if you have time, a day trip to Telluride will take you through some of the prettiest aspen forests in the state with breathtaking mountains (Lizard Head mountain is another extinct volcanic throat). There is a free gondola lift from the town to the ski resort and back. Take it if you're there - it goes right through the aspen forest and at the top of the ridge is a panoramic view of the mountains.

For traveling in general:

Bring layers of clothes - afternoons can be hot, nights cold and the weather can change quickly that time of year. You will also be climbing to a higher altitude and will dehydrate more easily - drink a lot of water. The higher altitude and thinner air mean you burn more easily so make sure you wear sunscreen if you're going to be outside - don't forget your hands and arms when you're driving.

In the west there can be long stretches between stops for food and gas. If you are down to 1/2 a tank then fill up in the town your in. The fact that you may be climbing hills or mountains will use more gas than the distance implies and not all little towns on the map will have stations.

The same for food - a town may not have a place to eat or it may not be anything you want - McDonalds! It's a good idea to have bottled water and some snacks to tide you over until there's a place you want to stop.

September is migration time for deer and elk be wary of animals on the road - especially at dusk, night, and dawn when they are active. They can really move fast and will dart out from behind a bush or trees before you can react.

Also, make sure you slow down to the speed limit for small towns. 1) Cops like to catch you speeding, and 2) elk and deer love to eat what people grow in their yards. The closest I've come to hitting something was when an elk jumped out from behind a lilac bush in someone's yard.

The hot springs at pagosa are WONDERFUL! Different pools for different temperatures and if you stand under the waterfalls in some of the pools it's like getting a massage. You can also do ice water dips in the San Juan River, though I lack the fortitude for such endeavors. If you stay at the resort you have 24 hour access to the pools and they're wonderful at night with the lights, the steam rising and the sound of the river. If you stay somewhere else you can pay a flat fee per day and I think they're open until 11:00.


Oh yes, the western slope of Colorado is famous for it's wildflower honey - look for it in the local shops.

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

I too would recommend you do not miss Southwest Colorado's fabulous scenery, especially north of Durango on US550, which includes the old mining towns of Silverton, and Ouray.

Driving from Flagstaff (or the South Rim of the Grand Canyon), travel north through Tuba City, and Kayenta, and take in Monument Valley. Then backtrack about 25 miles to US160, and continue northeast on US160 (bypassing Shiprock) to Cortez, a good place to spend the night. Take in Mesa Verde National Parks' impressive cliff dwellings, and scenery, and continue north to Telluride. Then over to Ridgeway at US550, and south on US550 through Ouray and Silverton to Durango. Some of Colorado's very best scenery! Pagosa Springs is approximately sixty miles east of Durango, an easy drive through the pines.

From Pagosa Springs, do try to take in Taos,NM and nearby Taos Pueblo, which remains much the same as it looked in 1541 when Coronado's expedition visited there. Then Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, and return to Flagstaff on I-40. Leaving Santa Fe and Albuquerque to the end of your trip will allow you to benefit from the 75mph interstate highways, if you are running a little behind schedule time wise.

For dozens of B&B suggestions and reviews, just go to the "Hotels" tab on each city's forum, and there will then be a second tab from there for "B&B's." There are many great choices, especially in Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.

One last suggestion. Flagstaff to Cortez is really "in the boonies," with few restaurants, and even fewer accomodations in between. I would get an early start from Flagstaff, on what will be a pretty long day's drive. Be sure to carry a good supply of water with you also. September should be an ideal time, temperature wise however. Not too hot in the desert areas, and not too cold in the high mountains. Enjoy!

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4. Re: Flagstaff to Pagos . . . and back!

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