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My mom and I are talking about taking a road trip of the U.S. southwest next spring, so I'm looking for recommendations of stuff to see.<br><br>
We're planning for the whole trip (a loop from SoCal to southern Utah, then over into New Mexico and then back to CA via Arizona) to take 7-10 days, and we'd like to hike daily.<br><br>
We know we'll be heading to Utah's Zion and Bryce Canyon in the early part of our trip, but we're fairly unfamiliar with New Mexico and Arizona -- any great sites to see or great hiking spots you can recommend?
 

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Hmmm, I live in NM. But I'm blanking here, lol.<br>
Ummmm...<br>
How about Carlsbad Caverns? Taos Pueblo N of Taos?
 

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There is some huge crater maybe in NM?? It was pretty cool, of course I was a kid. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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If you're going to get near SW CO, go to:<br><a href="http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc.html" target="_blank">http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc.html</a> -- it's a great museum! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We really enjoyed it this spring. We could have spent half the day there, easily (or longer, since the girls loved the exhibits).<br><br>
We just went on a similar loop through the SW -- I'd recommend:<br>
Spend some time on <b>Route 66</b>, just for fun. We drove on the road from Kingman to Needles, CA which was fun. Flagstaff to Seligman was good too. It takes longer but it's fun.<br><br><b>Highway 12 from Escalante Utah to Boulder UT</b> is great. You are essentially driving on top of the hogbacks, it's a lot of fun. (It's near Capitol Reef National Park)<br><br>
We were traveling with two kiddos, so didn't hike so much. We 'hiked' more in Arches than elsewhere (Bryce was still snowed in mostly) -- there are a ton of good trails to choose from. Depending on the spring, be prepared for both HOT and cold weather -- we were doing our loop in the first two weeks of April, and much of the trip involved snow. We wore shorts only a few days .... I think generally, mid-April it starts warming up more. Loop up to Arches while you're there (Bryce to Arches then South towards NM, cut through Cortez Co and you can see the Anasazi Center I mentioned above <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) ....<br><br>
Eat at Zion Pasta & Noodle Co. while you're in Zion. Good pizza, good service. There's a Birkenstock store across the street which I loved too (mostly for the proprietors, although they had a nice sale and selection while I was there). Zion has a little grocery store which has a startling amount of natural/organic foods too. If you need to restock while you're there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Redrock Park in Sedona, AZ is amazing! The Petrified Forest in Arizona is also breathtaking.
 

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The Flagstaff area in Arizona is fantastic. There is the Petrified Forest near Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook also has some iconic Route 66 scenery (the Wigwam Motel, the rock shop w/all the dinosaurs). Near Winslow is Meteor Crater, which is pretty impressive. Definitely not all day thing, but certainly a fun highway stop.<br><br>
Flagstaff is in the center of a lot of different places to visit. The big obvious place is the Grand Canyon, which is about an hour and a half from Flagstaff. Sedona is about 30 minutes from Flagstaff and is chock full of things to see, including Red Rock State Park, Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, etc. Walnut Canyon national Monument is also near Flagstaff. Definitely a great place to hike.<br><br>
Jerome is also a fun trip. it's about an hour, hour and a half from Flagstaff. It's considered a ghost town, but in reality it's a beautiful little town built into the side of a hill with great galleries and restaurants. It's become quite an artist community. Spook Hall in Jerome often has some really great musical acts.<br><br>
Can you tell I worked my way through school in Flagstaff by working at hotels? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We drove through that area when I was a young teenager. I loved Taos, NM. From what I remember, there was great local Native-inspired architecture, fabulous local artwork and wonderful food. My Dad bought me a silver neclace that's still one of my favourites.<br><br>
Dad also woke us up one morning to see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. We grumbled, but it was sooooo worth it!<br><br>
Bon Voyage!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">The Flagstaff area in Arizona is fantastic. There is the Petrified Forest near Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook also has some iconic Route 66 scenery (the Wigwam Motel, the rock shop w/all the dinosaurs). Near Winslow is Meteor Crater, which is pretty impressive. Definitely not all day thing, but certainly a fun highway stop.<br><br>
Flagstaff is in the center of a lot of different places to visit. The big obvious place is the Grand Canyon, which is about an hour and a half from Flagstaff. Sedona is about 30 minutes from Flagstaff and is chock full of things to see, including Red Rock State Park, Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, etc. Walnut Canyon national Monument is also near Flagstaff. Definitely a great place to hike.</div>
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I second the above. Definitely take the time to go to Sedona. Hiking there is so fun, especially if you've never seen landscape like that in AZ before. Don't miss Schenebly Hill Road, just off the center of Sedona. You can walk seemingly forever on the "cow pies" (<a href="http://www.familymatters.tv/level_4/outdoor/cowpies.htm" target="_blank">http://www.familymatters.tv/level_4/outdoor/cowpies.htm</a>) trail off this road. Have fun!
 

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New Mexico has:<br><br><b>The VLA</b> (Very Large Array-A bunch of radio telescopes)<br><a href="http://www.vla.nrao.edu/" target="_blank">http://www.vla.nrao.edu/</a><br><br><b>White Sands</b>- Very white, windy and fun. You can buy a little sled disk and sled the dunes. Or just bring one.<br><a href="http://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm</a><br><br><b>Chaco Canyon</b><br><a href="http://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm</a><br><br><b>Bandelier</b>-My favorite place in NM to hike. It feels very spiritual to me for some reason.<br><a href="http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm</a><br><br>
Someone mentioned <b>Carslbad Caverns</b><br><a href="http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm</a><br><br>
Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque Old Town are all fun<br><br><b>Madrid, NM</b> is a cute little village nestled in the mountains. Lots of quirky art shops, and frequent music festivals.<br><a href="http://www.visitmadridnm.com/" target="_blank">http://www.visitmadridnm.com/</a>
 

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Chaco canyon in NM is a buggy as well as White Sands.
 

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When in Spring? I would recommend Sedona, Flagstaff, and Jerome. Except Flagstaff and the Sedona area can have <b>serious</b> snow storms until April.<br><br>
The Sonoran Desert region is gorgeous in March and April. If we get enough rain the wildflowers are phenomenal. I would suggest Tonto National Forest, Tonto Cliff Dwellings, Tonto Natural Bridge, driving the Apache Trail, and maybe staying in historic Globe.<br><br>
In New Mexico I would recommend the Gila Wilderness, Gila Cliff Dwellings, the Cat Walk, and a stop in historic Silver City. Chaco Canyon you would probably want more than a day in.<br><br>
Southern Colorado -- Durango, Mesa Verde, Pagosa Springs -- beautiful.<br><br>
I live in Southern AZ -- feel free to pm me if you have any questions about places <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">There is some huge crater maybe in NM?? It was pretty cool, of course I was a kid. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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My kids *loved* this. Sedona is nice, but when we were there it was a little expensive and touristy. Beautiful, though.
 

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Grand canyon?<br><br>
We went to the Gila National Forest in NM and it was absolutely gorgeous! I totally recommend it and we still talk about it.<br><br>
I also recommend going to some ghost towns- but that's just 'cause I like them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Jerome is also a fun trip. it's about an hour, hour and a half from Flagstaff. It's considered a ghost town, but in reality it's a beautiful little town built into the side of a hill with great galleries and restaurants. It's become quite an artist community. Spook Hall in Jerome often has some really great musical acts.<br></div>
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Been here, loved it!<br><br><br>
We did a trip a few years back from Las Vegas and went to Zion, Bryce and North Rim of Canyon.<br><br>
Also have done a trip starting in Albuquerque and looped through Taos, Santa Fe, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Mesa Verde, Four Corners, South Rim of Canyon and back to Albuquerque. It was awesome.<br><br>
Loved Sedona and Jerome - visited there after starting in Phoenix.<br><br>
Have a great trip!
 

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Thanks so much -- tons of great suggestions here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We were planning for March -- sounds like we might do well to push it to April or May?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>limabean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415769"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks so much -- tons of great suggestions here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We were planning for March -- sounds like we might do well to push it to April or May?</div>
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Yeah, you may have a better shot at weather. Either way, be prepared, weather can be pretty wild all spring...anything from heat to snow. Last time I went through Santa Fe in June I went through a snowstorm.
 

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Some great sites from the southwest listed on this site:<br><a href="http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences/geology/worlds-most-impressive-rock-formations/" target="_blank">http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences...ck-formations/</a><br><br>
And I have always wanted to visit this location:<br><a href="http://www.yellowecho.com/travel/goblinvalley.htm" target="_blank">http://www.yellowecho.com/travel/goblinvalley.htm</a>
 

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We took an RV trip in AZ and UT last summer. We loved Zion National Park best of the places we visited. Bryce was interesting looking, but we liked Zion more. The Grand Canyon, is, well, grand! The IMAX in the town outside of the South Rim shows a movie about the exploration of the Grand Canyon that was worth viewing.<br><br>
We also camped at a campground on Lake Powell that was quite lovely.<br><br>
My kids have a book of "101 Places to See Before You Are 12" and we decided that we have now covered Place No.7, "The Middle of Nowhere" with our trip to Meteor Crater.<br><br>
I had wanted to visit the observatory and ancient Indian ruins in the area, but we didn't have enough time.<br><br>
As a teenager my family went to Canyonlands National Park and I remember the trip as being awe inspiring. We rafted down the Colorado (guided trip), then traveled by jeeps to camp within the park. So peaceful with just our group and no city/town noise or lights. Seeing all the stars was magnificent!<br><br>
Have a great trip!
 

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Don't forget to pick up some freshly roasted green chiles in NM. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">
 
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