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Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Maastricht, The...
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for Maastricht
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Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Hi,

we are staying in the Farmington area late september, and we were wondering which would be the most scenic route to Santa Fe or Albuq: the 64 W or the 550S. Anything worth visiting?

Since it's only a 65 Mile drive,we could stay in SF or ABQ and make a daytrip to the other city. Which would be the more interesting city?

Thank you from the Netherlands!

10 replies to this topic
Albuquerque, New...
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135 reviews
1. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

US 64 is the most scenic. A two lane excellent highway takes you through the Apache Indian Reservation, through the small community of Chama, then south through some beautiful mesa country to Espanola, then Santa Fe. At Chama, visit the narrow gauge Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad depot and yards.

Another fun spot along this road is Echo Canyon, a rest area south of Chama, where you take the trail into the canyon, and when you speak, your voice echoes back at you.

You will travel through several small communities that have been in existence for hundreds of years. All in all a very pleasant drive.

If you are in more of a hurry, then US 550 would be best.4 lane highway all the way to Bernalillo, which is between Albuquerque and Santa Fe along I-25 .

Maastricht, The...
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2. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Thank you sandiaman!! Great tips. I looked Chama and the Echo Canyon(was hard to find) up, and we will visit bothe for sure. Is Echo Canyon free to visit end of September?

Thanks!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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3. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Of the 2, Santa Fe is more interesting and smaller, lots of great restaurants and shops. But I really do like the Old Town area of Abq as well as Nob Hill on Rt 66.

Edited: April 03, 2015, 8:18 am
Albuquerque, New...
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2,459 posts
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4. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Yes, Echo Canyon is free. It is a Forest Service small campground with pit toilets. They only charge if you are going to camp. Last couple of times we stopped there, there wasn't a campground host.

Aubrey, Texas
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10,544 posts
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5. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

I agree that 64 is the best route but continue on to Taos going over Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Stay a night in Taos then take the scenic High Road to Santa Fe with a stop in Chimayo to see its charming church.

Edited: April 03, 2015, 10:29 am
Maastricht, The...
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for Maastricht
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6. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

We will probably stay for 2 nights in the Santa Fe Area, and take the Turqouise Trail to ABQ one day to visit Old Town. I'm afraid we have to save Taos for another roadtrip. Coming from Farmington, it's an extra 65 miles to Santa Fe, totaling 400miles which is a bit too much for 1 day. The rest of our 4 week schedule is pretty tight. This is day 14 and we still want to visit TX , driving through Big Bend.

I read about Tent Rock, Bandelier and Plaza Blanca which looked pretty interesting, but are they accessible by a rental family car? Would you prefer other sights?

All tips are very welcome.

Thank you!!

Uden, The...
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for Road Trips
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7. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Taking nm14 Turquoise Trail a side road leads to Sandia Crest high up in the mountains with incredible views. It's close to the place also the tram goes up (from the west) Much cheaper to drive yourself. (small fee at the summit for parking) And close to nm14 is Tinkertown museum highly recommended. All paved roads ;-) And make a stop in Madrid (remember the movie Wild Hogs...)

Tet

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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8. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

I used to live in NM and I would suggest going to Taos instead of Albuquerque. You will see a fantastic Old Town in Santa Fe, no need to see another and Taos is famous for the Taos Pueblo - a must see, imho.

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47224-d10…

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9. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

I would take the Santa Fe Route, go towards Chama, NM You can get that way to Colorado, through the mountains! U hit the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos, NM. then u can head off to Chama through the scenic mountain drive! There are campgrounds in the area to stay.

Los Alamos, New...
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for Santa Fe, Los Alamos
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10. Re: Scenic road Farmington to SF or ABQ

Tent Rocks and Bandelier are "accessible" by family car, but there is a minor complication with Bandelier to be aware of. The road is fine, paved all the way, but the main parking lot in Frijoles Canyon, the main site for the visitor, was badly damaged in a flash flood (forest-fire-induced) fifteen years ago. Access during daytime hours in peak season (mid-May until late September or October; exact dates vary from year to year) is therefore restricted to a shuttle that leaves from a visitor center in White Rock, about five miles from Bandelier, and takes visitors to and from the canyon. This isn't really a huge hardship for the casual visitor (contrast the backcountry hiker, for whom it poses problems) but you have to plan to be ready to leave the canyon by 3:30, when the shuttle stops running (there's one soon after that to pick up stragglers, but no Bandelier-bound shuttle). You can drive into the canyon yourself (again, perfectly good road, other than some recent road construction) after the shuttle stops running, until close to sunset, when the whole thing closes.

Plaza Blanca is a different story and is best approached with a high-clearance vehicle. It's not the kind of seriously gnarly 4WD road common in New Mexico, but I wouldn't take our Prius there. Be consoled that there's good red-rock scenery visible from the highway, including a nice little natural arch right above the road 5 miles or so north of Abiquiu (turnout on the west side of the road, arch is on the east and best seen from the north end of the turnout). Echo Amphitheater, called Echo Canyon in the above, is also an interesting stop for passersby.

If you have to choose among these sites, I recommend Bandelier, shuttle or no shuttle, but Tent Rocks is interesting too.

Edited: April 15, 2017, 11:21 pm
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