Driving Tour G: Phoenix, Tucson, Southwest New Mexico, Carlsbad, Albuquerque and Grand Canyon
Here's an impressive loop tour that really shows the American Southwest: From the caverns of Carlsbad to the Grand Canyon, from Billy the Kid's old stomping grounds to some of America's fastest growing sunshine cities!Day 1. Phoenix -
The capitol of Arizona provides an array of attractions. Include the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Museum. Then if you have time the Phoenix Family Museum, Desert Botanical Gardens, and the Hopi Cultural Center can be added.
Day 2. Tucson
- Driving time to Tucson: 2 hours.
Mileage: 120 miles (192 km.)
- Visit the Old Tucson Studios and their gun fights, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum with desert animals and plants in their habitat. The International Wildlife Museum has an outstanding collection of wild animal mounted specimens, and the Biosphere is always found interesting.
Day 3. Lordsburg
- Driving time to Lordsburg, NM: 2.5 hours
Mileage: 145 miles (232 km.).
- Visit the famous ghost towns of Shakespeare and Steins. Shakespeare, an old mining town, does monthly re-enactments in costume. Steins, an old railroad town, is open most dats along the Southern Pacific mainline. Enjoy the recreation areas surrounding Lordsburg.
Day 4. Deming
- Driving time: 0.9 hours
Mileage: 60 miles (96 km.). East on Interstate 10, over the Continental Divide.
- The Mimbres Museum is a must on your stay, then visit St. Clair Winery and the rockhounder's favorite, Rockhound State Park. On the Mexican border enjoy the history and atmosphere of Pancho Villa State Park and Palomas, Mexico. To the north view the moonscape appearance of City of Rocks State Park.
Day 5. Silver City
- Driving time: 1 hour
Mileage: 52 miles (83 km.). Northwest on US180, past City of Rocks State Park and copper smelter at Hurley.
- The rich prehistory of the Gila Cliff Dwellings Nat'l Monument, the 3-million acre Gila National Forest, and Billy the Kid history beckons. Tour the Trail of the Mountain Spirits up through the Mimbres Valley, past Lake Roberts to the Cliff Dwellings, . . . then visit the art galleries in historic downtown.
Day 6. Truth or Consequences
- Driving time to Truth or Consequences: 2 hours
Mileage: 90 miles (144 km.). East on NM 152, passing through Hillsboro and Kingston, north on Interstate 25.
- Enjoy Elephant Butte, the largest lake in New Mexico, water skiing or bass fishing, . . . or just relaxing at the hot springs. Explore the Geronimo Springs Museum, wineries, or nearby old mining towns along the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway.
Day 7. Las Cruces
- Driving time: 1.3 hours
Mileage: 75 miles (144 km.). South on Interstate 25, past Hatch (Chile Capitol) and Ft. Selden.
- Here's a chance to immerse yourself in a relaxed game of year-round golf, explore the history of Las Cruces and Old Mesilla. Enjoy the fiestas and then shift your mood as you observe the work on display at the Branigan Cultural Center. Put the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum on your must list.
Day 8. Alamogordo
- Driving time to Alamogordo: 1.1 hours
Mileage: 70 miles (112 km.). East on US70/82, past White Sand Natl Monument and White Sands Missile Range. Traffic may be delayed up to an hour, due to missile firing, so check locally about possible delays.
- Visit the Space Hall of Fame and White Sands National Monument.
Day 9. Carlsbad
- Driving time: 2.2 hours
Mileage: 140 miles (225 km.). East on US82, south on US285.
- Enjoy Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Desert Museum.
Day 11. Ruidoso
- Driving time from Carlsbad to Ruidoso: 3.3 hours
Mileage: 190 miles (300 km.) North on US285, west on US82, north on NM244 and US70.
- Visit the Museum of the Horse and the Spencer Theater. In season, horse racing and skiing are great. Take time to visit historic Lincoln, with their re-enactment of the Billy the Kid drama.
Day 12. Socorro
- Driving time to Socorro: 2.5 hours.
Mileage: 105 (170 km). North on NM37 and west on US380.
- Enjoy the amazing display of waterfowl at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Let your mind wander into space at the VLA Radio Telescopes. Tour the historic area and learn of the pioneer heritage of Socorro.
Day 13. Albuquerque
- Driving time to Albuquerque: 1.3 hours
Mileage: 75 miles (120 km.) North on Interstate 25.
- Visit the Indian Pueblos, the Pueblo Cultural Center, the NM Museum of Natural History & Science, the National Atomic Museum.
Day 14. Gallup
- Driving time to Gallup: 2.5 hours;
Mileage: 140 miles (225 km).
- If you're there at the right time attend the InterTribal Indian Ceremonial. Consider the Acoma Sky City, Bisti Badlands, Canyon de Shelly, Gallup Cultural Center, El Malpais and El Morro National Monuments.
Day 15. Flagstaff
- Driving time to Flagstaff: 3 hours; Mileage: 182 miles (290 km). Consider the Homolovi Ruins State Park at Winslow and the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert at Holbrook on your way.
- The Grand Canyon is 1.5 hours, 80 miles (128 km) from this lodging base. Here you'll also enjoy the Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the Arboretum.
- Driving time to Phoenix: 2.2 hours;
Mileage:140 miles (224 km). Consider a side trip thru Sedona.