Road Tripping through AZ and NM - Any must-do trails/stops? (1 Viewer)

Trusty Rusty

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Hey CSC folks - We're planning to make a run from Houston in the 80 later this year towards Arizona and New Mexico for a week of exploring.

Wanted to see if there was any consensus on any 'must-do' stops. We're planning to visit Sedona for a few days and also spend some time in NM (maybe Santa Fe area???). I'll have a few others along, so won't be purely a wheeling trip, but hoping to hit a few good trails along the way (remote areas, mountain views, forests, deserts - we're down with it all).

Any feedback on most scenic places, trails, interesting/unique places to stop, etc. would be great!

I'll keep searching the forum to see if this has been brought up before - just thought CSC specifically would have some solid guidance for a road trip through the Southwest US.

Thanks!
 
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Phoenix, AZ
Hey CSC folks - We're planning to make a run from Houston in the 80 later this year towards Arizona and New Mexico for a week of exploring.

Wanted to see if there was any consensus on any 'must-do' stops. We're planning to visit Sedona for a few days and also spend some time in NM (maybe Santa Fe area???). I'll have a few others along, so won't be purely a wheeling trip, but hoping to hit a few good trails along the way (remote areas, mountain views, forests, deserts - we're down with it all).

Any feedback on most scenic places, trails, interesting/unique places to stop, etc. would be great!

I'll keep searching the forum to see if this has been brought up before - just thought CSC specifically would have some solid guidance for a road trip through the Southwest US.

Thanks!
If you're in for a lot of driving I love the Kaibab Plateau / North Rim of the Grand Canyon area (I always recommend viewing north rim from Toroweap Overlook but that's even more driving and very remote (worth it, imo). The drive from Flagstaff up to Kaibab is very unique as well and has some epic scenes (Vermilion Cliffs, Marble Canyon)..
 

Trusty Rusty

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If you're in for a lot of driving I love the Kaibab Plateau / North Rim of the Grand Canyon area (I always recommend viewing north rim from Toroweap Overlook but that's even more driving and very remote (worth it, imo). The drive from Flagstaff up to Kaibab is very unique as well and has some epic scenes (Vermilion Cliffs, Marble Canyon)..

A few suggestions; Chiricahua Mountain Range, hwy 191 & North Rim GC.



Thanks for all of the great info so far @Abigail @bwesty @medtro ! Just trying to get a rough idea of what all we might be able to tackle over the course of a week.

All of this is very useful - I'll spend some time reading through these threads and digging up info on the other suggestions! :cool:
 
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There is a plethora of POIs in AZ, and you might also just declare your route and hit the spots along that track. I have been here a few years now and still not seen half the stuff I have on my list.
 
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I'd take a visitor to the state through the following route: start at Lake Pleasant and head to Crown King. Possibly overnight at cabins there or camp at Horse Thief Lake, but definitely have an evening at the saloon. Crown King to Prescott up the Senator Highway, with BBQ at destination and possible overnight to drink in the best of Whiskey Row. Pavement from Prescott to Mingus Mountain, take a right Forest Road 104 and go see the hang glider takeoff spot . Head back down, cross 89A into the Potato Patch, go through gate at very end of camping area, and stay on the Woodchute/Smiley Rock trail. This one can be tricky in spots but also offers nice camping options deep in the woods; or power through to Jerome for beer-thirty and a hotel stay. Next, take pavement to Sedona and hit Broken Arrow trail. Yes, yes, it's polluted by pink tourist Jeep traffic, but you have to go up there to see an actual submarine made of rock. This last one is a loop, and it's a quick jaunt to Schnebbly Hill Road, which offers some amazing view camping up 153A...just a few hundred yards up and you'll have the entire valley in sight. Alternatively, you camp out on Schnebbly, but double back to Sedona early in the morning and beat the big rush up 89A to Flagstaff. It's paved and a bit overrun, but beautiful and kind of a don't-miss road. After you get out of the canyon, either take a left on 535 for the long way to Flagstaff, or take a right at 237 for the other long way to Flagstaff. Stay at Hotel duBeau in Flag, have dinner at SoSoBa or Beaver Street Brewery, catch a live show at the Orpheum, and get drinks at the Weatherford. Toasted Owl Cafe breakfast, and bolt up the west side of Mount Humpheries on 180 to catch Schutz Pass Road and wiggle up to Lockett Meadow; great place for a hike, picnic, and to let the boiling point of your gasoline come down a little. With all of these, I suggest research with state/local resources to confirm trail openness.
 

Trusty Rusty

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There is a plethora of POIs in AZ, and you might also just declare your route and hit the spots along that track. I have been here a few years now and still not seen half the stuff I have on my list.

Definitely lots of targets in AZ alone - trying to find a handful of highlights before a few days in NM on the back end of the week. Thanks @ARJMN !

hahaha ARJMN,,, ive been wandering AZ over 35yrs now, and although my portfolio is longer than most, i still feel ive only scratched the surface

So you're telling me that I won't be able to get them all in a week @RHINO ?!? 🤣

I'd take a visitor to the state through the following route: start at Lake Pleasant and head to Crown King. Possibly overnight at cabins there or camp at Horse Thief Lake, but definitely have an evening at the saloon. Crown King to Prescott up the Senator Highway, with BBQ at destination and possible overnight to drink in the best of Whiskey Row. Pavement from Prescott to Mingus Mountain, take a right Forest Road 104 and go see the hang glider takeoff spot . Head back down, cross 89A into the Potato Patch, go through gate at very end of camping area, and stay on the Woodchute/Smiley Rock trail. This one can be tricky in spots but also offers nice camping options deep in the woods; or power through to Jerome for beer-thirty and a hotel stay. Next, take pavement to Sedona and hit Broken Arrow trail. Yes, yes, it's polluted by pink tourist Jeep traffic, but you have to go up there to see an actual submarine made of rock. This last one is a loop, and it's a quick jaunt to Schnebbly Hill Road, which offers some amazing view camping up 153A...just a few hundred yards up and you'll have the entire valley in sight. Alternatively, you camp out on Schnebbly, but double back to Sedona early in the morning and beat the big rush up 89A to Flagstaff. It's paved and a bit overrun, but beautiful and kind of a don't-miss road. After you get out of the canyon, either take a left on 535 for the long way to Flagstaff, or take a right at 237 for the other long way to Flagstaff. Stay at Hotel duBeau in Flag, have dinner at SoSoBa or Beaver Street Brewery, catch a live show at the Orpheum, and get drinks at the Weatherford. Toasted Owl Cafe breakfast, and bolt up the west side of Mount Humpheries on 180 to catch Schutz Pass Road and wiggle up to Lockett Meadow; great place for a hike, picnic, and to let the boiling point of your gasoline come down a little. With all of these, I suggest research with state/local resources to confirm trail openness.

Great amount of info here @isthatalexus ! Going to have to map this and digest a bit to see what all we can fit in with our timeline. We're probably spending a few days in AZ and then a few days in NM, so trying to piggyback a few of the highlights back-to-back and then continue moving towards NM. Will do some digging on all of these places - awesome suggestions and a full itinerary of stops!
 
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Lots of solid advice, if you are going to be here during our crazy heat, checking out Greer or Alpine is a nice place to cool down at 8000+ ft. Going to be chilling out up there end of the month👍
 

Trusty Rusty

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Lots of solid advice, if you are going to be here during our crazy heat, checking out Greer or Alpine is a nice place to cool down at 8000+ ft. Going to be chilling out up there end of the month👍

Not until December! Plenty of heat here in Houston that I can't escape from either - enjoy your time up in the clouds!
 

DSRTRDR

I can mangle anything ...
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in NM, White Sands as well as Carlsbad Caverns National Parks are totally worth it - further north in New Mexico would be Santa Fe and Taos, for the more artsy inclined

many places in AZ have already been mentioned - I'd also offer Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments, the town of Jerome, and of course Sedona with its iconic Red Rock Crossing State Park, but places on the southern route not mentioned are Chiricahua National Monument, Kartchner Caverns State Park, Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - towns of Bisbee and Tombstone are very interesting as well

don't discount Big Bend National Park in your own state of TX - since it's quite a ways off the interstate, it's not as crowded as many other National Parks

and while going in that direction, Marfa, TX is worth checking out, both for the Donald Judd/Chinati Foundation arts exhibits, as well as the Prada store in the middle of nowhere :hillbilly:

alternatively, you could go the more northerly route, hit Roswell, NM - the very large radio telescope array west of Socorro, NM (visitor center is currently closed, but you can see the installations from accessible dirt roads in the area) - and then cross into Arizona by Alpine in the "high country"
 

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