Phoenix to Santa Fe & back on two lanes...
June 14, 2006 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Slightly insane road trip. Phoenix to Santa Fe and back in four days with a wedding in the middle. Route & overnight stop questions.

I land (from the UK) in Phoenix around 5pm the Thursday before Labor Day. I'm meeting with a friend from NYC & we're driving to Santa Fe. [Ideally we'll be in Santa Fe 5pm on the Friday but the wedding isn't until Sat.] My flight leaves Phoenix the following Monday evening so a drive back to PHX leaving after lunch on Sunday seems appropriate.

Route: Two-lanes rather than freeway so I'm looking at heading east on Route-60 to Show Low and then taking a good route on to Santa Fe. A different route on the way back would be good.

Overnight accommodation: 3+ hours out of PHX would put me near Show Low, AZ. There's the usual Days Inn etc. crop there...any other recommendations. On the way back I'm after something a slimilar distance, maybe up to 5 hrs, out of Santa Fe.

General: Any stops would be up to 30 mins rest & stretch but any fine points along the way could be cool. Obligatory hot springs or somesuch?

I know the area (which is why I want to do this!) having driven Flagstaff-Silver City-Santa Fe & Williams-Phoenix and am used to the distances having covered thousands of miles in the US but any help on this particular trip would be very much appreciated.
posted by i_cola to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nice ghost town in Shakespeare, NM. The Gila would be gorgeous this time of year. Truth or Consequences NM has some funky art galleries.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2006

On the way back, are you going to stop in Los Alamos, NM, where the US develops weapons of mass destruction? If you had crazy mad free time and didn't mind destroying your rental car, I would suggest Chaco Canyon. And, yes, the Gila cliff dwellings are great, if you have time.

Before you go, make sure you read William Least Heat Moon's book Blue Highways.
posted by billtron at 10:23 AM on June 14, 2006

sorry. Blue Highways in the UK.
posted by billtron at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2006

The VLA, 50 miles west of Soccoro, is way-cool, even if you aren't a space geek. Bonus: it's free.

(For the love of god, though, NM cops are radar-gun bearing ninjas on a mission to avenge their honor by issuing tickets. Do. Not. Speed.)
posted by bhance at 10:34 AM on June 14, 2006

It's a nice drive. If you route it right, you can check out the Petrified Forrest in northern AZ.

There isn't much out there.

I've done that drive a bunch of times and while it's a lovely drive, I can't remember ever really stopping anywhere. Except the Thing Museum, off the I10. (If you take the southern route...)
posted by ph00dz at 11:20 AM on June 14, 2006

bhance - I live in NM and drive these roads regularly. I've NEVER gotten a speeding ticket here. Arizona on the other hand? Every. Single. Time.

Besides - on the roads the OP wants to travel? Not going to be much in the way of law enforcement.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2006

2nd the VLA but try and catch it at sunrise - geeky things made beautiful. You won't need to spend long there but you'll definitely get to stretch your legs wandering around. On another note - as it's quiet in the bathrooms at that time in the morning it's a good time to freshen up after a night drive if you decide to do that.
posted by floanna at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2006

I’ve driven to Phoenix from Santa Fe going the backroad route as well as the freeway. It takes 9 hours if you go by freeway (I-17 to I-40 to I-25). Sedona is really a nice stop with some eye popping rock formations. Flagstaff and Gallup areas are also very scenic (not so much the cities themselves).

If you go the back road route (by way of 60 through Show Low), you should know that you will be driving through the area of the Rodeo-Chediski Fires that burned up western AZ pretty good in 2002. I recommend a stop at the Bosque del Apache bird sanctuary near Socorro if you do take this route.

There aren’t any good routes west of Santa Fe so going to Los Alamos is out of the way. And I second FlamingBore on AZ cops, especially around Flagstaff. If I were you, I’d fly in to Albuquerque and make the hour drive to Santa Fe. Instead of being in a car for most of your visit, you can spend your time taking day hikes in the nearby mountains or visiting Taos, Abiquiu or the hot springs at Ojo Caliente. Either way, have a safe, fun trip.
posted by jabo at 1:46 PM on June 14, 2006

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