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Old 03-25-2016, 05:55 PM   #1
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New Mexico Camping and Must Sees

We are planning a trip to New Mexico in September and would appreciate help from Escapers who have been there or live there. It is our plan to drive straight to Mesa Verde in Colorado before beginning our tour of New Mexico. We have read and heard of many sights already (Bisti Wilderness Park, White Sands Park, Carlsbad Caverns, etc.) If you had two weeks in the area, which would you recommend and with what preference? Also, I am interested in seeing the hot air balloon festival in September, if convenient.

Lastly, we are all ears for great restaurants (Mexican, BBQ, etc.).

Thanks in advance,

Bob K
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:07 PM   #2
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We are planning a trip to New Mexico in September and would appreciate help from Escapers who have been there or live there. It is our plan to drive straight to Mesa Verde in Colorado before beginning our tour of New Mexico. We have read and heard of many sights already (Bisti Wilderness Park, White Sands Park, Carlsbad Caverns, etc.) If you had two weeks in the area, which would you recommend and with what preference? Also, I am interested in seeing the hot air balloon festival in September, if convenient.

Lastly, we are all ears for great restaurants (Mexican, BBQ, etc.).

Thanks in advance,

Bob K
If you can Gila cave dwellings too . Pat
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:13 PM   #3
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Bob,
My Mom found this hidden gem between Taos and Santa Fe that tourists flock to from all over Europe. We never miss an opportunity to go there when we're anywhere nearby for the most incredible New Mexican food experience. You can dine outside on the terraced gardens or inside in authentic decor.

RANCHO DE CHIMAYÓ

There are probably some great camping spots nearby, but never have gone there yet with the trailer.

There are many interesting historical places in the lil town of Chimayo as well, including a "miracle dirt" historic Catholic Church. Buses of Mexican visitors make pilgrimages to the Church every year for small bags of the dirt to cure what ails them.

This is one of those places you will never find unless someone tells you about it, but you will definitely go back many times.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:46 PM   #4
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Darn, looks too cold to stop in for a night or 3. We'll be passing through Albuquerque on I-40 eastbound the 1st of March next winter. I'll have to mark it down as a possibility though, never can tell what the weather will be. Any idea if route 285 north out of Santa Fe a mountain road?
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:54 PM   #5
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The Balloon Fiesta is always the first full week in October (Oct 1-9 2016). There is a sandlot RV campground across the street from the launch field but it usually fills up 6 or more months in advance. Towards the end of the week the boondock sites may open up. But it sounds like your schedule will rule out attending the Balloon Fiesta (an amazing event by the way!!)
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:21 PM   #6
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It depends on what you are interested in. There are lots of archeologic site and modern day pueblos to visit in NM. Coming down from Mesa Verde a great ruin to see is Aztec Ruins in Aztec NM...you can go into the Great Kiva. If you are into ruins, then Chaco Canyon is in the area but is about 15miles on a really rough and sometimes impassable road...weather conditions and your tolerance for washboard roadways would dictate that decision...and it would eat up a few days.
Bisti is hard to get into with a trailer, but your tow vehicle would be fine.
Taos and Taos Pueblo are worth visiting. The pueblo quite dramatic and is still occupied and tours are available - there is a tour fee and a camera fee.
Near Santa Fe and Los Alamos is Bandelier National Monument - cliff ruins carved into volcanic tuff...a wonderful little park with a very nice campground.
Pass by Valle Grande on Hwy 4 for spectacular views.
Just east of Santa Fe is Peco National History Park - ruins of large pueblo and mission church built on top of the pueblo.
In the Albuquerque area, there is Petroglyphs National Monument and the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center. About an hour west of Albuquerque is Acoma Pueblo..where you can go up to the ancient pueblo - which is still active and used for feast days. Then walk back down to the visitor center on the rock trail that was used to hand carry water up to the mesa.
Heading west from Acoma, there is El Malpais National Monument and then El Morro National Monument which has a small, nice campground and features prehistoric and early Spanish inscriptions on the rock face with pueblo ruins on top. Just west of there is Zuni Pueblo.
If you are into astronomy, the VLA (Very Large Array) 60 or so miles west of Socorro on US 60.
Bosque del Apache (just off I-25) about 20 miles south of Socorro is the Bosque del Apache...a world class birding refuge which should start to be seeing migratory birds by September.
Silver City is a neat town to visit and there are campgrounds nearby - City of Rocks State Park is a nice place to park. (Most NM state parks are good to camp at - usually have power hookups and water and a dump station, along with restrooms and maybe showers.)
The road to Gila Cliff Dwelling is not suitable for trailers but it is easy to get to from Silver City with your tow vehicle.
White Sands is quite dramatic - a nice cg not too far away is Oliver Lee State Park.
Brantley Lake State Park is a place to camp for visiting Carlsbad.

There are lots of places to visit and we would be happy to answer questions or expand on areas of interest.
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:50 PM   #7
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We really enjoy the Santa Fe National Forest. In fact, we plan to go back next year if I can manage the time off.
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:59 PM   #8
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...the Balloon Fiesta (an amazing event by the way!!)
I did this about four years ago as it was on my to-do list. Amazing is an understatement as no words can describe how exciting it was to be amongst the participants--not sitting in a bleacher watching but right down in the field with the people and balloons. Yea, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - 2016 Daily Event Schedule
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:00 PM   #9
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Black Canyon F.S. camp is 7 miles to Santa Fe. Space 30 is a very nice wide flat end spot. $10
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:20 PM   #10
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There are lots of places to visit and we would be happy to answer questions or expand on areas of interest.
Wow, tons of info there! This thread is definitely bookmarked! We'll get down there one of these years.
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