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  1. #1

    Default New Mexico/So. Arizona people!!

    We're thinking of heading to the Tuscon, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe areas. We're mostly into hiking and science stuff. We already have Pima and Los Alamos on our list. If anyone knows, where are some good but not too strenuous hikes/parks, as well as neat places to stay/dine.

    Thanks for any advice!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    What time of year are you thinking?
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  4. #3

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    Unfortunately (maybe) late June. It's the only time window we have this summer for one last trip for SW-loving with college bound son.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    June is not too bad (usually) and it is never humid, so that is a plus.

    Would you consider going down south at all (Carlsbad, White Sands) or is that just too far with limited time?

    Are you looking for budget friendly hotel, or do you have a little to blow (say in SF) on a hotel?

    I have some good hikes up north and in ABQ so let me get it all together and I'll post in the next day or so.
    Last edited by RTB; 04-30-2016 at 12:52 PM.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  6. #5

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    White Sands is on our list!! We're probably ok on lodging--dh travels for work and has hotel points, so if there are Marriots or Hyatt brands around, that works!

    Looking forward to hearing about the hikes and any great restaurants you might recommend. Our #1 rule on dining while on vacation is NO CHAIN RESTAURANTS!!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6

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    Love White Sands!! Sunspot observatory is in the mountains above near Cloudcroft - we rented a great log cabin in cloudcroft. Three River Petroglyphs is in the same valley as White Sands if you're interested in Petroglyphs.

    South of ABQ is Bosque del Apache - best birding ever!! They have hummingbird feeders outside the visitor center that are mobbed by hummingbirds, like 100 at a time!!!. Its got a loop you drive around.


    Los Alamos area - there is Bradley Science museum there, cool hiking at Bandelier National Monument. Up in the Jemez mountains there are lots of places to go hiking - Valle Grande is the big caldera which you will recognize if you watch Longmire.

    ABQ actually has a pretty good zoo and great science museum... at least it was 10 years ago.

    food!
    near bosque del apache is the Owl Bar Cafe - best green chili cheeseburger in the state!
    near Santa Fe, north of town on the way to Los Alamos - Gabriel's - they make guacamole at your table, delicious food
    in Los Alamos - Chili works - basically a shack, its where all the lab rats go for green chili cheeseburgers for lunch. My husband says Hill Top Dinner has closed, its where we used to eat all the time when we lived in Los Alamos.
    Abq - Hacienda is a restaurant in old town, Padilla's mexican kitchen (mom and pop place) near the University. Gardunos in Abq.

    So jealous, we lived in Los Alamos for a few years and I miss NM terribly.
    Stay at home physicist - Mom to C (18 & off to college)) and J (15)
    https://homeschoolsciencegeek.wordpress.com

  8. #7
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    So I’m going to stick to hikes and food, but if you want more activities just let me know.

    Albuquerque
    Hikes
    You can start here to get an overview Sandia Foothills Open Space Easy to get to hikes in the city (that we like) include Elena Gallegos and Embudo Canyon. Elena Gallegos offers various summer concerts that are free too. The Petroglyph National Monument is easy to get to and very interesting https://www.nps.gov/petr/index.htm If you have limited time, go to Boca Negra Canyon, it has the most petroglyphs clustered around the trail. The Sandia Mountains are part of the mountain chain you see to the east in the city. They are managed by the Cibola National Forest Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands - Home, and offer several hiking trails. The Tram starts at the base of the Sandias (in ABQ) and will take you up to the Crest Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway - Sandia Peak Tramway . Various trails are located up there, or terminate for those who hiked from the base. The Tram is neat even for a local.

    Food
    If you are looking for good breweries ABQ is full of them. They usually don’t have a full menu, but food trucks are usually around. I’d start with the top dogs, Marble Brewery and La Crumbre. The Canteen Brewhouse is a good mix of nice patio and good beer. I’d avoid Kelly’s Brewpub (awesome patio, bad beer), Boxing Bear (also sub par), and Red Door (I’ve never been, but friends say ‘bleh’).
    Winieries Casa Ronde
    Good places around Old Town to eat at are Vinaigrette, Little Anita’s and Season’s (for rooftop happy hour). Other good New Mexican places include Twisters (I eat there all the time) and Stufy’s (pronounced Stuffy’s). Lots of tourists go to El Pinto (for New Mexican food), the margaritas are fabulous, the the grounds are wonderful, the food is awful. You basically can’t go wrong with anything in the Nob Hill area (which is by the University of NM).

    Santa Fe
    Hiking:
    I've spent less time hiking outside of SF but the managing district is http://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe/.

    Food:
    Jambo cafe - totally not New Mexican, but the food is amazing there http://jambocafe.net/
    Cafe Castro - New Mexican
    Coyote Cafe has a rooftop cantina, the food is alright, but the rooftop is really nice and the mango margarita is good.

    Other places
    Tent rocks. If you can - make it to Tent Rocks. This hike is fairly easy and fascinating. One of my favorites. This is where all the ash from the Valle Caldera ended up. Take the Canyon trail for the most bang for your buck. http://www.blm.gov/publish/content/n...S/KKTR_NM.html (it is between ABQ and SF, off I-25). Go early it gets hot and crowded.

    We spend most of our hiking time in and around the Jemez Mountains. There are many trails off HWY 4 to explore. The Jemez tends to be very crowded on the weekends. It seems to gets less crowded the further towards Los Alamos you go.

    Soda Dam is a fun stop, you can see the mineral deposits, and it is on the roadside and on your way to all the Jemez hikes.

    There are natural hot springs in and around the Jemez you can hike to. Let me know if you are interested.

    Las Conchas Trail http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/reg...il/index.shtml
    It is nice to hike or just bum out and picnic while watching the rock climbers and listening to the river. This place
    is crowded on the weekends.

    The crowds seem to die out around the Jemez Falls Campground.

    The Valle Caldera is our favorite place to hike https://www.nps.gov/vall/index.htm. It is breath taking beautiful and extremely peaceful (and empty). Pop into the ranger station (located in the Caldera), they can recommend some great hikes (as well fill you in on all the science). On the weekdays you can get the whole place practically to yourself.

    Taos - The Taos Gorge is worth seeing if you are in the area. Also is Taos Mesa Brewing. The beer is marginal, but the view is amazing. And the culture of Taos is a curious thing.

    You said you may visit White Sands - amazing place, we seem to go once a year. Take extra water, not just your water bottle. I’ve never done sunset on the sands, but I have done sunrise and it is so beautiful. If you find a good place to eat in Alamogordo let me know (ha!). Oliver Lee State Memorial Park is fairly close to the area, it is mostly camping but does have a trail.

    If you go to Carlsbad Caverns - go see the bats exit the cave in the evening.

    Also in the southern part of the state is City of Rock State Park http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/cit...statepark.html The vistas from this place are expansive and go on as far as you can see. The volunteers in the ranger center are full of information.

    On your way to Arizona check out El Malpais http://www.blm.gov/publish/content/n.../ELMA_NCA.html

    If you have limited time, and you are planning on ABQ / SF as your main stops - I'd do Boca Negra in the Petroglyphs, Tent Rocks, a trail in The Valle Caldera, and Bandelier.

    Let me know if you have other questions. Have a wonderful trip!
    Last edited by RTB; 05-01-2016 at 07:56 PM.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  9. #8

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    Rebecca, this is great! Thanks so much for taking the time to put it all together. This will really help us make plans.
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  10. #9
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    Sorry this has taken me so long!!!

    Coming to Tucson - you can drive down through the White Mountains - hwy 191 is a great trip in itself (long mountain road coming down - safe, but twisty and steep) plenty of great hiking there - Gila NF in NM and Apache-Sitgreaves in AZ. Navajo Reservation and painted desert if you like (just north of I-40). On the way down you cross the Salt River - beautiful canyon - hikes there and rafting? Not sure if that's what you are looking for.

    If you like ruins you can drive over to Flagstaff and then down (through Phoenix) - there are several cliff dwellings / pueblo dwellings to stop at.

    If you are in Tucson area - Kartchner Caverns is south/east close to Benson, Az. Totally awesome "wet" cavern, amazingly well preserved and definitely worth it if you are into caverns.

    Not too far from Kartchner Caverns is the Chiricahua Mountains/ Chiricahua National Monument - amazing rock formations, great hikes. It'll be hot, though.

    In June, in Tucson, for hikes - go up! Mt. Lemmon is beautiful - it's high - a great trip on the way up - you drive from desert to mixed conifer forest - supposedly like going from Tucson to Canada in terms of vegetation change, in an hour and a half. Mt. Lemmon is at the peak of Catalina Mountains bordering Tucson. There are plenty of good hikes and it'll be LOTS cooler. Summerhaven there (tiny town)with some good local eateries. There's a ski lift that operates in summer, nice view.

    Sonoran Desert Museum is cool - outdoor, natural 'museum' with plants/critters native to area. Beautiful drive to get to it - through Saguaro National Park - Saguaros are everywhere here (but only in this region) but the drive to the museum is great one with viewpoints/hikes along the way.

    Sabino Canyon Recreational Area is another hiking/destination area near Tucson. Really pretty desert vegetation - tram to the top and (maybe) water pools - but in late June it'll be HOT. 100 - 108. We do our Sabino Canyon hikes after monsoon season / winter usually. Or very early morning.

    For food in Tucson you have to go to Cafe Poca Cosa. Amazing, locally owned restaurant. Mexican food - but not northern Mexico/Tex mex. Really different central mexico cuisine (well different b/c we don't usually eat it in U.S.) and really, really, good. A bit pricey, but not out of sight. Worth it.

    We have lots of breweries now. I could list those, too, if you want. And downtown Tucson has gotten a lot more interesting. Some great local restaurants/bars.

    Spanish mission at San Xavier del Bac just south of Tucson proper is beautiful and a cool historic spot.

    Hope that helps - you can't go wrong with a trip down here! Don't want to scare you off - I love the heat, and June is really dry - so it's not as bad as it sounds. Just make sure to have lots of water, take breaks and use hat/light clothes/sunscreen and you'll be fine.

  11. #10

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    Thanks Pdpele. We've explored the northern half of AZ quite a bit in past trips, so we're centering on Tuscon while we're there, so your suggestions for that area are great! Now I think we have more potential things to do than we'll have time for, but that's just fine!!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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