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Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 11, 2023 09:56PM
My wife and I are sorting out some last minute details on our trip to New Mexico. We fly into Albuquerque and we're having trouble deciding whether we'd prefer to spend more time in the north or the south. We'd like to go one some hikes (5-15 miles, sorter ones are fine but less satisfying), eat some good food, and _hopefully_ not spend too much time in the car but maybe thats not possible or just wrong headed considering our destination.

Destinations that interest us - Valles Caldera and Carson (both North) and Gila, White Sands, Lincoln (all south)

Any advice?

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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: davester
Date: September 11, 2023 10:22PM
My wife and I love visiting New Mexico, especially Santa Fe and environs. I would choose north for sure. Valles Caldera area, plus Bandelier National Monument. Jemez Springs is also pretty nice, plus the mountainous area to the northwest of there. North of the Jemez Mountains is Ghost Ranch which is pretty spectacular desert terrain and an area where Georgia O'Keefe did a lot of her work. If you're interested in Anasazi culture, Chaco Canyon to the west of the Jemez Mountains is interesting, if a little desolate. Santa Fe of course is a great city to stay in and has a thriving art community. From there you could drive the high road and then the low road to and from Taos, which is quite a beautiful drive and has an active pueblo. You could definitely put together all sorts of great hikes throughout this region, though the best would probably be in the Jemez Mountains, which encompass many of the locations mentioned above.

The southern locations you mention are interesting but much more desert like and less hike-friendly in general.

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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2023 10:25PM by davester.
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: September 11, 2023 10:55PM
Perfunctory MRF'er stop in Central NM, to or from ABQ.........

Like davester, North is more scenic, but South has all kinds super interesting stuff to see and do.
Food is good in either direction.
My advice; stay longer, do both!
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: September 11, 2023 11:14PM
Honestly, can't go wrong.
For south, Lincoln in fun. My friends band plays at a local brewery quite often.

There are nice cabins in Ruidoso, right next to Lincoln.

There is hiking at Sierra Blanca (on a clear day, you can see it from White Sands).

Roswell is hoot, just don't take it seriously.

The highlight last time went was the Flying J ranch, just north of Ruidoso.
Silly little fake old west town, complete with a gunfight.
Barbecue dinner was pretty good.

The the show...a real Western music show. I loved it.

San Antonio, TX (in the old city)

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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: btfc
Date: September 11, 2023 11:37PM
Valles Caldera looks interesting!

Yes, not that far from Chaco Canyon:



Bandelier is worth a visit.

I used to guide backpacking trips into the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument:

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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: pqrst
Date: September 12, 2023 01:29AM
When will you be traveling? The Trinity test site open is October 21st. And then again the spring April. Well worth it as is the VLA (very large array). The south of New Mexico is very scenic albeit different than the north. If you’re a history buff, Lincoln county billy the kid’s area is in the southern central area of nm.
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: Ca Bob
Date: September 12, 2023 01:51AM
I spent time in Santa Fe back when it was a quiet little town. Good place to visit. Bandolier was fun, although there weren't any other tourists back when we visited. I hear it has become popular. Taos was interesting, but you are talking ten thousand foot altitude.

I assume you will be driving, but it depends on where you are coming from. Entering from Arizona on the west along I-40, the entrance to NM is pretty spectacular.

It also depends on when you will be there, because it is chilly and snowy in the winter, particularly at altitude, which much of the north is.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2023 01:54AM by Ca Bob.
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: September 12, 2023 08:11AM
Unless you're a desert rat, I'd say north.

One out-of-the-way thing you might want to check out is the Falls of the Brazos, east of Tierra Amarilla. They're on private property, a resort that might be of interest to you as hikers, though I once was lucky enough to glimpse the springs from a public road nearby shortly after a big rain. Quite impressive, though I guess they only have a reliable flow in the spring.
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: rz
Date: September 12, 2023 01:01PM
We did Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns this summer. I didn't really research Roswell very much and wasn't expecting it to be a decent sized city. The most fun thing we did there was the Lego attraction. I thought we'd spend maybe 30 minutes there... ended up almost 3 hours.

Carlsbad Caverns was amazing. 105 degrees at the top, 56 degrees underground. Incredible stalagmites and stalagtites.
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Re: Seeking NM vacation advice - north or south?
Posted by: Wags
Date: September 12, 2023 04:43PM
I’ve got two sisters in NM, one in Santa Fe, the other in Las Cruces. If I had to pick one I’d choose Santa Fe and environs. Got everything I like - mountains and deserts, Pueblo culture (Chaco Canyon is fab if you don’t mind a 45 drive over corduroy roads to get in), and Santa Fe is great for art and restaurants. Last time I was there visiting my sister took me on several day trips that were great that included hiking. This time of year the weather might be more amenable. Still getting kinda hot in Las Cruces. Both areas have a lot to offer.

Yours truly strikes a heroic western pose at the Longmire cabin, Valles Caldera National Preserve

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2023 04:46PM by Wags.
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