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Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

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Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

We are a couple, no kids looking for 7 or 8 night itinerary help, flying in and out of Albuquerque. I would like to visit Santa Fe during the Opera season, so no later than 8/25. First night staying near airport due to very late night flight. Maybe last night in Albuquerque too. Would like to spend 2 days in Santa Fe, also see Bandalier, maybe Ghost Ranch, maybe overnight in Mesa Verde area. Maybe save Taos for another time. We could do schedule visit a few days after Indian Market to avoid crowds, as suggested. What order would you do this in?

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Albuquerque, NM
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1. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

I would let your Opera selection decide the direction but I would go Santa Fe, then up via Española to Ghost Ranch then continue on US 84 into Colorado and across to Mesa Verde. The return would be into Shiprock, Farmington down NM44 through Cuba to Bernalillo back into Albuquerque. There is more to see on this loop than you could ever do in this time so you will have to choose where to stop. If your Opera was later you would reverse this.

We stayed in the park and loved it but they tend to fill up, so plan ahead.

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2. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

Thank you very much!

Kalispell, Montana
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3. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

The route given above is a good one but not really my favorite at the end. You are going to be doing a lot of driving and having very little time to actually enjoy some of the areas you mention and still take in the Opera.. If you don’t like the big crowds be sure to plan this for after Indian Market!! It will be slammed then. I personallhy would stay in SF longer if possible.

Santa Fe in particular has a lot to do right in the city. At Bandelier you have to drive to White Rock and take the manditory shuttle down from there so that takes time. Ghost Ranch and Abuquiu is another place where if you take tours of Georgia’s studio and her painting subjects at Ghost Ranch takes a good chunk of a day. Otherwise you are just driving through...although that is beautiful anyway.

........

1...Arrive late, stay ABQ.

2 & 3 & 4...SF 2 days for visiting SF and Opera?. 1 day for a day trip to Bandelier and back.

5...Drive to Durango via Ghost Ranch..215 miles 5 hours plus on the road...add time at Abiquiu or Ghost Ranch and your day is used up. Durango is a great little town to visit and overnight..

6...Drive into and visit Mesa Verde...40 miles. MV is big and has some loop drives and a lot of photo ops. Stay in Durango again after a nice long day in Mesa Verde.

7...Drive back via Pagosa Springs and stay the night in Taos. Stop in Pagosa Springs for lunch or coffee. Enjoy Taos...visit the Pueblo and the town Plaza, have a nice dinner. (This is MUCH more beautiful and interesting than driving from Farmington to ABQ which is blah and desert like most of the way.)

8...end up in ABQ for your last night. Take the High Road road down to Santa Fe. You will drive through the mountains to Truchas....then stop in Chimayo for lunch at the Rancho de Chimayo...continue to the Santuario de Chimayo (interesting stop and photo op... and then continue on to Nambe...visit the old trading post there. Its the last of the originals. Arrive in SF and then take the Turquoise Trail (#14) through Cerrillos and Madrid and down to ABQ. Fly out late or the next morning.

Enjoy...ask more questions if you have any. I can post you a list of the 5 areas of SF to visit and what to do in each...you can choose according to your own tastes.

Edited: 25 May 2018, 01:14
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Canton, Texas
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4. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

A day's drive to Mesa Verde--but if you go, book everything in advance. If you are adventuresome there are some spectacular specialty hiking tours where tourists don't go--but they aren't offered often. The lodge is nice but plain. I'd stay in Santa Fe/

Albuquerque area. Be sure to go to Rancho de Chimayo in Chimayo to eat at the old hacienda--Chile Reyeno (sp) is their specialty. Lunch is cheaper and not as crowded as dinner. And visit the Santurio de Chimayo church. No reservations. Bandelier National Monument is good--be sure to take the hike to the Rio Grande River and go at least to the waterfall! Interesting museum in Los Alamos not far from Bandelier--all about the atomic bomb and WWII. And just to the west is Jemez Springs. Good museum and they will tell you more about what's up the road up thru the canyon (ruins and hot springs you can swim in) and we ate on the side of the road at a little place where an Indian girl was cooking on a wood fire--hubby had the tamales and I had Indian taco--both excellent. Stick to the taco if you can't take the spice. West of Albuquerque is the Pueblo of Acoma--Sky City. Fabulous old Indian Village on top of a mesa. Stop at the museum/visitor center to schedule a tour. The museum also explains the paintings on the famous Acoma pottery. The Indians sell their pottery just outside their house on top of the Mesa. The Albuquerque flea market on Saturday and Sunday at the fair grounds is good for a morning. Not as much Indian Jewelry as there used to be but interesting--you may see Grandma in her velvet and heirloom turquoise eating a corn dog! Good museums in Albuquerque--one has a full suit of armor that a horse wore! Only one anywhere I've ever seen! And to the south I highly recommend a trip to The VLA (very large array) of radio telescopes close to Magdalena (turn west at Socorro) on the way down stop at Belen for the Harvey House museum on the railroad.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
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5. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

Just an FYI The Falls Trail from Bandelier to the Rio Grande River is closed at the Upper Falls, has been since 2011 floods. https:/…hiking.htm

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6. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

I'm not in a position to post the usual over-long reply, but CA is right, one can't hike down-canyon in Frijoles Canyon (the main one) at Bandelier to the Rio any more because of a trail washout. However, there's still plenty of hiking in the monument. The "tourist loop" is still entirely open, and there are abundant backcountry opportunities, including hikes on the mesa above (north of) Frijoles Canyon that do reach the Rio. I would advise waiting to do these until you're more familiar with the monument, though.

Connecticut
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7. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

Thank you so much for your amazing help! Things have been a bit fluid with my planning. I shifted my days away from the Indian Market weekend and resurrected my Sedona to Santa Fe road trip.

So, what I tentatively have is land in Phoenix, stay overnight due to late arrival, 3 nights in Sedona, one Night in Winslow at La Posada, and 3 nights in Santa Fe at the Inn on the Alameda. I haven’t booked the flights yet, so it looks like I will be most likely be taking a Red Eye from Albuquerque, perhaps staying a night before there...not sure yet. So, I would like to do one day exploring Santa Fe and seeing the opera at night. One day Bandelier and maybe one day one of the pueblos. Now I have to study all of your wonderful suggestions and change this into a three of four day itinerary.

Edited: 25 May 2018, 11:48
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8. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

p.s. I’m intrigued by the radio telescopes! I love stargazing and look forward to the dark skies of NM and the Milkyway.

Kalispell, Montana
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9. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

Looks like you are eliminating Mesa Verde and Taos now. Maybe you are visiting the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Parks on the way to SF...I would recommend staying in Gallup instead...its a very famous Rte 66 town and has a lot to see there if you are interested in Native arts and nice prices.

The best pueblo on your new route is the Acoma Pueblo. Its an International Heritage site! You would get there the morning you leave Gallup or I guess, Winslow. http://acomaskycity.org/main.html?pgid=29

The Pueblos closer to Santa Fe are more like little private villages and not as nice or spectacular. The other is the Taos Pueblo but maybe it sounds like Taos might be for another trip.

A last night near the airport is ok but with a Red Eye there is really no need to visit ABQ when there are so many things to see in the Santa Fe area. ABQ is another really big city...save that for a longer trip one day.

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10. Re: Help with Santa Fe/Mesa Verde itinerary

We are rethinking the red eye and yes, saving Taos and Mesa Verde for another time. I had considered Gallup as a stop but am reading mixed things on TripAdvisor and don’t know what to make of it. I know you have to take these things with a grain of salt.

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