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Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Old Sep 26th 2009, 6:27 pm
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Default Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

I'm planning a driving trip from Phoenix to Santa Fe for next week. One night stopover on the way possible/preferred. Basic choices seem to be,
1) Phoenix up to Flagstaff, then I-40 across to Albuquerque then up to Santa Fe;(7 hr drive)
2) Phoenix roughly due-east to Globe, Show Low, Eager, Magdalena, then up to AQ / SF (this would be a back-roads route) (9hr drive)
3) Phoenix down to Tucson, then I-10 across to Las Cruces, then up to Albuquerque and SF; (9 hr drive)
4) variation on 1 and 2 would be to go to Globe/Show Low, then up to Snowflake and join I40
5) A longer shot would be Phoenix to Flagstaff then on up / across to Farmington, then down to Santa Fe (google map of route). (11 hr drive)

I'll be driving there and back to so can take one route there, another route back ...

I've driven from Phoenix to Globe to Show Low/St. Johns before and it was a gorgeous drive along the Salt River Canyon; I've also driven up to Payson from Phoenix, and it too is gorgeous. Where I'm stuck is, the bulk of the journey in New Mexico - I've never driven in that state! I'm a veteran of long road trips in the US, and am looking for some classic 'southwestern' scenery, hoping to avoid long stretches of flat/boring road if possible. The Tucson / Las Cruces is the most intriguing, hugging the Mexican border (well ....) but it could be flat and boring!

Route 2 above shown on google maps ...

I'm leaving Monday so need help quickly! Thanks!

Last edited by Steerpike; Sep 26th 2009 at 6:37 pm.
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 6:29 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I'm planning a driving trip from Phoenix to Santa Fe for next week. One night stopover on the way possible/preferred. Basic choices seem to be,
1) Phoenix up to Flagstaff, then I-40 across to Albuquerque then up to Santa Fe;(7 hr drive)
2) Phoenix roughly due-east to Globe, Show Low, Eager, Magdalena, then up to AQ / SF (this would be a back-roads route) (9hr drive)
3) Phoenix down to Tucson, then I-10 across to Las Cruces, then up to Albuquerque and SF; (9 hr drive)
4) variation on 1 and 2 would be to go to Globe/Show Low, then up to Snowflake and join I40

I'll be driving there and back to so can take one route there, another route back ...

I've driven from Phoenix to Globe to Show Low/St. Johns before and it was a gorgeous drive along the Salt River Canyon; I've also driven up to Payson from Phoenix, and it too is gorgeous. Where I'm stuck is, the bulk of the journey in New Mexico - I've never driven in that state! I'm a veteran of long road trips in the US, and am looking for some classic 'southwestern' scenery, hoping to avoid long stretches of flat/boring road if possible.

Route 2 above shown on google maps ...

I'm leaving Monday so need help quickly! Thanks!
Steerpike - we just did a roadtrip from Sedona to Tucson, up to Albuquerque, continuing on to Santa Fe and back via Flagstaff.

Let me call my Dad to see what his recommendations are - he lives in AZ. Where is Silver City in relation to your route? It's supposed to be worth seeing and we considered it but there was no hotel availability when we were going.

When you go to Santa Fe - check out Taos if you can. It's very worth visiting.

Also -I thought New Mexico was beautiful to drive through - Northern New Mexico to be specific (the initial stretch from Tucson was pretty deadly). It's different from Arizona. I think you'll like it.
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Glad to see another vote for Silver City.. if you can get there (15 turns into a seasonal road & I don't know when the snow flies) the Gila Cliff Dwellings national monument is sooooo cool.
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I'm planning a driving trip from Phoenix to Santa Fe for next week. One night stopover on the way possible/preferred. Basic choices seem to be,
1) Phoenix up to Flagstaff, then I-40 across to Albuquerque then up to Santa Fe;(7 hr drive)
2) Phoenix roughly due-east to Globe, Show Low, Eager, Magdalena, then up to AQ / SF (this would be a back-roads route) (9hr drive)
3) Phoenix down to Tucson, then I-10 across to Las Cruces, then up to Albuquerque and SF; (9 hr drive)
4) variation on 1 and 2 would be to go to Globe/Show Low, then up to Snowflake and join I40
5) A longer shot would be Phoenix to Flagstaff then on up / across to Farmington, then down to Santa Fe (google map of route). (11 hr drive)

I'll be driving there and back to so can take one route there, another route back ...

I've driven from Phoenix to Globe to Show Low/St. Johns before and it was a gorgeous drive along the Salt River Canyon; I've also driven up to Payson from Phoenix, and it too is gorgeous. Where I'm stuck is, the bulk of the journey in New Mexico - I've never driven in that state! I'm a veteran of long road trips in the US, and am looking for some classic 'southwestern' scenery, hoping to avoid long stretches of flat/boring road if possible. The Tucson / Las Cruces is the most intriguing, hugging the Mexican border (well ....) but it could be flat and boring!

Route 2 above shown on google maps ...

I'm leaving Monday so need help quickly! Thanks!
Okay - just hung up. (I wish you could have heard my parents arguing over the route!)

Here's what my Dad recommends - he's keeping in mind where you've already been.

From Phoenix:
1-71N to Camp Verde
E on Arizona 260 through Payson and Showlow
Short right to town of Greer (unmarked road about 5-6 miles away) - Greer is a beautiful little town worth a quick stop
Back to 260 to Eagar
N on US 191 through St. Johns
R on Arizona 61 which becomes New Mexico 53
through towns of Zuni, Black Rock, El Morro (several Indian reservations)
East of El Morro is the Acoma reservation - they have a very large pueblo (as big or bigger than Taos) which is worth seeing
N53 will turn north and intersect with Interstate 40 at Grants
E to Albuquerque on Interstate 40
N on Interstate 25 to Santa Fe

He thinks he would overnight in Eagar. There's a Best Western there.

He said this route is very interesting, the roads are paved but secondary.

Of the routes you were already considering, he says skip Las Cruces. Scenery-wise things are pretty bland between Deming and Santa Fe. Your earlier options he also thought sounded good, but he likes this one the best. He said he realizes some of it will be a repeat but thinks the new parts will be worth it.
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Kaffy Mintcake View Post
Okay - just hung up. (I wish you could have heard my parents arguing over the route!)

Here's what my Dad recommends - he's keeping in mind where you've already been.

From Phoenix:
1-71N to Camp Verde
E on Arizona 260 through Payson and Showlow
Short right to town of Greer (unmarked road about 5-6 miles away) - Greer is a beautiful little town worth a quick stop
Back to 260 to Eagar
N on US 191 through St. Johns
R on Arizona 61 which becomes New Mexico 53
through towns of Zuni, Black Rock, El Morro (several Indian reservations)
East of El Morro is the Acoma reservation - they have a very large pueblo (as big or bigger than Taos) which is worth seeing
N53 will turn north and intersect with Interstate 40 at Grants
E to Albuquerque on Interstate 40
N on Interstate 25 to Santa Fe

He thinks he would overnight in Eagar. There's a Best Western there.

He said this route is very interesting, the roads are paved but secondary.

Of the routes you were already considering, he says skip Las Cruces. Scenery-wise things are pretty bland between Deming and Santa Fe. Your earlier options he also thought sounded good, but he likes this one the best. He said he realizes some of it will be a repeat but thinks the new parts will be worth it.
FABULOUS! It was ~15 years since I went to Show Low/St Johns! I presume you mean 17N to Camp Verde, not 71N. I'm surprised he would favor the Payson route over the Globe route, though - I recall that was spectacular. Maybe I'll work that into the return!

So Las Cruces is out; how about the return - is there any value in the Northern Route - Farmington, etc - near the 'four corners', and possibly passing through Monument Valley? I've never seen that yet ...

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I've driven from Phoenix to Globe to Show Low/St. Johns before and it was a gorgeous drive along the Salt River Canyon; I've also driven up to Payson from Phoenix, and it too is gorgeous.
If you want an alternative to either of these routes to Show Low, take the 288 that bisects them right through the Tonto Forest. You need a high clearance vehicle -- most of the road is unsurfaced. But you won't need 4WD unless you move off on to the forestry roads.
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

That first option, you could do that in one sitting and then just enjoy the following day....
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
If you want an alternative to either of these routes to Show Low, take the 288 that bisects them right through the Tonto Forest. You need a high clearance vehicle -- most of the road is unsurfaced. But you won't need 4WD unless you move off on to the forestry roads.
I have a decidedly non-high clearance vehicle - you've advised me to get high clearance before for AZ, and it's good advice - but I'll be driving my low slung car on this one, sadly. I'll table this one for the future!
Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That first option, you could do that in one sitting and then just enjoy the following day....
"Getting there is half the fun" - for me, more than half. I've been to Santa Fe a few times, always flying; this time I want to experience the journey!
=============
Another twist to this trip is the weather ... it's still hitting 100F during the day in Phoenix, dropping to ... maybe 75 at night (! ). The predicted overnight temperature in Santa Fe next Thursday is 31F !!! I don't have any warm clothes here in Phoenix - not one jacket ... Oh well, I'll buy something I guess ...
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I have a decidedly non-high clearance vehicle - you've advised me to get high clearance before for AZ, and it's good advice - but I'll be driving my low slung car on this one, sadly. I'll table this one for the future!
You're not going to get to see Arizona in a gurl's car!
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Old Sep 26th 2009, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
FABULOUS! It was ~15 years since I went to Show Low/St Johns! I presume you mean 17N to Camp Verde, not 71N. I'm surprised he would favor the Payson route over the Globe route, though - I recall that was spectacular. Maybe I'll work that into the return!

So Las Cruces is out; how about the return - is there any value in the Northern Route - Farmington, etc - near the 'four corners', and possibly passing through Monument Valley? I've never seen that yet ...

Thanks again!
You're very welcome - you're right - I likely wrote the 71 down wrong - it should be 17.

Maybe try one route one way and switch it up on the way back? He did say that in N. Mexico you are going to go through some arrid less than interesting land for a bit, but he tried to take you along a route that maximized scenery and things to do.

He also said he had more info (I had to hop off the phone as company had arrived). I'll check back in with him later, so if you have any questions let me know - I e-mailed him your original query.

FYI - he thought you were underestimating driving time a bit, saying that Phoenix to Albuquerque is about 7 hours. Maybe keep that in mind as you plan.
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Old Sep 27th 2009, 5:39 am
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
FABULOUS! It was ~15 years since I went to Show Low/St Johns! I presume you mean 17N to Camp Verde, not 71N. I'm surprised he would favor the Payson route over the Globe route, though - I recall that was spectacular. Maybe I'll work that into the return!

So Las Cruces is out; how about the return - is there any value in the Northern Route - Farmington, etc - near the 'four corners', and possibly passing through Monument Valley? I've never seen that yet ...

Thanks again!
I asked ... here's the note he sent me:

****************
By all means vary the route by coming home through Globe. Suggested through Camp Verde and Payson for variety. Assumed he has not been on AZ 260 for any distance. Its all scenic from Camp Verde to NM. Globe from Phoenix is more than half freeway now.

We just did Tucson to Demming in April, remember? ( almost to Las Cruces) and then north via I-25. Pretty boring to Albuquerque.

Northwestern NM and Northeastern AZ is arid. From Farmington to Tuba City across the Navaho Nation (near Grand Canyon) is just empty desert with a few formations. Mainly a long drive. To deviate to Monument Valley (at Kayenta), (or Mesa Verde or Canyon d'Chelly) would be time consuming. If he does that be sure he makes reservations. Few places to stay and lots of visitors at this time of year.
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Old Sep 27th 2009, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Kaffy Mintcake View Post
I asked ... here's the note he sent me:

****************
By all means vary the route by coming home through Globe. Suggested through Camp Verde and Payson for variety. Assumed he has not been on AZ 260 for any distance. Its all scenic from Camp Verde to NM. Globe from Phoenix is more than half freeway now.

We just did Tucson to Demming in April, remember? ( almost to Las Cruces) and then north via I-25. Pretty boring to Albuquerque.

Northwestern NM and Northeastern AZ is arid. From Farmington to Tuba City across the Navaho Nation (near Grand Canyon) is just empty desert with a few formations. Mainly a long drive. To deviate to Monument Valley (at Kayenta), (or Mesa Verde or Canyon d'Chelly) would be time consuming. If he does that be sure he makes reservations. Few places to stay and lots of visitors at this time of year.
Great, thanks! I think I'll skip that northern route! I do want to see Monument Valley/etc, but I can make that a different trip. Sounds like 'cutting through the middle' between I40 at the north end and I10 at the south end is the way to go. I think I'll do the exact route you describe, staying in Eager, on one leg; definitely want to come back a different route.
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Old Sep 27th 2009, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
Great, thanks! I think I'll skip that northern route! I do want to see Monument Valley/etc, but I can make that a different trip. Sounds like 'cutting through the middle' between I40 at the north end and I10 at the south end is the way to go. I think I'll do the exact route you describe, staying in Eager, on one leg; definitely want to come back a different route.
Let me know how it turns out! If you're ever in Sedona on a Tuesday or Wednesday, swing into the visitor's center and you'll meet the guy who put the route together.

I'll relay your thanks. FYI - just so you know what to expect - I don't think Eager itself has anything particularly to offer, it's just a convenient overnight. He's since sent me a note that the Best Western there got decent reviews on Tripadvisor. Albuquerque would work too, but Eager was a bit more in the middle.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 7:11 am
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
Glad to see another vote for Silver City.. if you can get there (15 turns into a seasonal road & I don't know when the snow flies) the Gila Cliff Dwellings national monument is sooooo cool.
I got off to a late start today (Monday) - 2pm (crisis at work) - so decided to go straight up highway 87 from Scottsdale/Fountain Hills to Payson. That has got to be one of the most beautiful drives around - fast, few cars, rolling hills surrounded by dense cacti and great rock formations. Amazing combination of golden/yellow rocks and green cactus, with lots of green vegetation around - not at all 'desert-like'. - a real treat! I find this kind of driving to be a wonderfully therapeutic (and uniquely American) experience - you can drive for hours at 70mph, gobbling up the miles, surrounded by awesome scenery at all times ... gas is cheap, motels are cheap ... life is good ... From Payson, took 260 to Show Low and then 60 to Springerville/Eagar - delightful drive (though not as awesome as the first part). It was 105 F in Phoenix when I left; 60 in Eagar when I arrived - I felt like dancing in the street, the cool air felt so good!

I've done the I17-N route before, and will make a day trip out of the Silver City / Gila Cliff Dwellings - something to look forward to!

Originally Posted by Kaffy Mintcake View Post
...

...FYI - just so you know what to expect - I don't think Eager itself has anything particularly to offer, it's just a convenient overnight. He's since sent me a note that the Best Western there got decent reviews on Tripadvisor. Albuquerque would work too, but Eager was a bit more in the middle.
I'm typing this from the Best Western in Eagar! Turns out Eagar is really just a bolt-on to Springerville, itself a tiny town! I LOVE these tiny, 'generic', middle-of-nowhere towns ... and I have a strange appreciation for these generic motels too ... they deliver EXACTLY what you need ... no more, no less ... clean sheets, decent shower ... so you can be on your way tomorrow ... Found a better-than-expected dining spot too - 'Java Blues'.

For the return trip, how about:
1) Santa Fe to Albuqurque to Soccoro on I-25
2) Soccoro to Magdalena to Springerville to Show Low on 60
3) From Show Low, continue on 60 to Globe.
4) from Globe, continue on 60 to Phoenix
(Google map of the route)

I KNOW the last part (Show Low to Globe) is great; the question is, the first part. I just wonder if it's worth going down through Silver City and around the bottom of the Gila National Forest, rather than around the top. I love driving ...
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Old Sep 30th 2009, 2:34 am
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Default Re: Driving from Phoenix to Santa Fe - suggestions please!

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post

For the return trip, how about:
1) Santa Fe to Albuqurque to Soccoro on I-25
2) Soccoro to Magdalena to Springerville to Show Low on 60
3) From Show Low, continue on 60 to Globe.
4) from Globe, continue on 60 to Phoenix
(Google map of the route)

I KNOW the last part (Show Low to Globe) is great; the question is, the first part. I just wonder if it's worth going down through Silver City and around the bottom of the Gila National Forest, rather than around the top. I love driving ...
My Dad says - have you ever been to Sedona? If you haven't, you don't know what good scenery is. Flagstaff to Sedona to Jerome to Prescott to Phoenix is a spectacular drive. He says the route you proposed is nice too, but it's basically a repeat of what you've already done.
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