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Unread 07-16-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
bstew417
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NM, AZ, CO, UT Adventure Tip Suggestions (en route to Moab)

Hello everyone, couldn't decide which state forum to put this in.... anway.

Some time in the future (probably May 2012) I will be making a trip starting in Austin, TX and ending in Moab, UT in the trusty ole TJ. I'm looking to do it in around two weeks with as many adventures as I can handle along the way. I know this a LONG way off, but I don't want to miss anything.

The overall plan is to simply explore. I'm hoping to find some trail-type, un-maintained roads, national parks, cool little towns, rivers, lakes, mountains, stuff I don't see in the Louisiana swamps. I want any and every suggestion you locals can provide. This trip won't have a set itinerary, and I will certainly do some research and exploring on my own; but it's such a vast area with so many routes (hopefully some semi-uncharted ones) that I don't even know where to start. About the only thing that's decided is I want to go north through New Mexico, not the middle-of-nowhere Texas. I also have no idea if I should go into Arizona (probably from Sante Fe) or up through southern Colorado on the way to Moab (maybe a bit of both and four corners?). Any offroad parks would be welcome, though I don't want to do any heavy hitting until I actually get to Moab. I'm planning to camp most of the way with a few cheap hotels thrown in, so if you know any camp grounds or places to grab a shower along the way, that'd be great.

Thanks for the help everyone.

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Unread 07-18-2011, 11:47 AM   #2
Gymguyjeep
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Plan to go north on US 285 out of Santa Fe. Go through Alamosa, Del Norte then turn on Hwy 149 through Creede to Lake City. Turn west out of Lake City to go over Engineer Pass then continue west to Hwy 550, then north to Ouray and Montrose. Turn west in Montrose to continue to Moab.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 03:47 PM   #3
bstew417
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That definitely looks like the general route I'll be taking. I'll probably spend two days in Ouray and taking Imogene or another trail to Telluride. I was thinking about continuing that way to Moab, would you suggest going up through Montrose?
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Unread 07-18-2011, 04:53 PM   #4
bhblaine
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exactly the way he suggested
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Unread 07-18-2011, 08:34 PM   #5
h2ojeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstew417 View Post
That definitely looks like the general route I'll be taking. I'll probably spend two days in Ouray and taking Imogene or another trail to Telluride. I was thinking about continuing that way to Moab, would you suggest going up through Montrose?
The problem you may encounter is snow. In your first post, you indicated that your tentative plain was to go in next May (2012). It was still snowing on Black Bear Pass and Imogene Pass in the second week of June this year. As of July 15 this year Black Bear was still not open and Imogene has been open only about a week. Here is a (bad/shakie) photo I took on July 18, 2010 about 7 miles from the Imogene Pass summit. You can see there is still a lot of snow that late into the summer.



The last of May, I dont recall any pass or basin open yet (although there was more snow this past winter (2010/2011))

You might want to change your plains to a later date. I hope you can, it is a great area.
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Unread 07-18-2011, 09:25 PM   #6
bstew417
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Thanks for the suggestions. I had thought about the snow, and I will certainly be watching the weather reports as it draws nearer. Does Engineer Pass usually open by the end of May? I'm trying to get this trip in between the end of the fall semester and the start of my internship for the summer.

Super preliminary map looks something like this:
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Unread 07-19-2011, 09:14 AM   #7
Gymguyjeep
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I wasn't thinking about travel over mountain passes in the month of May. I'm pretty sure that Engineer Pass will still be impassable with snow at the top on the Lake City side.

Here is a website I use to plan my trips to Colorado each year. It gives updated information on trails and you can look at previous years data to get an idea if passes you want to travel will be open in May.

We always go to Colorado the first week of August to be sure that the trails we want to drive are clear.

http://bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm
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Unread 07-19-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
bhblaine
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Stop in at Red River, NM. it is an awesome little town and built around 4wheeling and jeeping and there are trails alll over including Greenie Peak (Highest Eleveation Motorvehicle road in NM)
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Unread 07-19-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
h2ojeep
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In reference to your route:

Unless you want to take in Carlsbad caverns (and some other guided cave tours but bring your own lights (check their website for Slaughterer cave)), you may want to miss Carlsbad, NM. While there is also some good jeeping in the area, I would recommend that you do that with someone who has jeeped it before, just for best use of time.

If you do take in Carlsbad, I will recommend the next destination (from Carlsbad) to be Las Vegas, NM, then Taos NM. From Carlsbad to Interstate 40 will be very desolate for someone from Louisiana (you might see 5-6 trees), but from I 40 up you will get a nice treat especially after leaving Las Vegas. Very indirect, little traffic, two passes and some great forest and high mountain meadows. It is one of the type of 'back roads' that you mention in your first post. I would do that before going through Santa Fe. If you do the Santa Fe route, I would avoid Espanola, a "gang" town and best avoided for an over night stay.

While not on the route discussed, a great inexpensive overnight stay would be Santa Roas, NM. It has more motels than restaurants and it would not be far out of your way.
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Unread 07-19-2011, 12:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2ojeep View Post
Santa Roas, NM.
Santa Rosa, NM.

Great info though, right on
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Unread 07-19-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
bstew417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gymguyjeep View Post
I wasn't thinking about travel over mountain passes in the month of May. I'm pretty sure that Engineer Pass will still be impassable with snow at the top on the Lake City side.

Here is a website I use to plan my trips to Colorado each year. It gives updated information on trails and you can look at previous years data to get an idea if passes you want to travel will be open in May.

We always go to Colorado the first week of August to be sure that the trails we want to drive are clear.

http://bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm
That website is great. I will definitely be following their reports as this draws nearer, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhblaine View Post
Stop in at Red River, NM. it is an awesome little town and built around 4wheeling and jeeping and there are trails alll over including Greenie Peak (Highest Eleveation Motorvehicle road in NM)
I had heard a little bit about Red River, but that sounds pretty awesome. I'll definitely add that to the list. Any suggested trails to run? We will more than likely have a stock 4x4 in the group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by h2ojeep View Post
In reference to your route:

Unless you want to take in Carlsbad caverns (and some other guided cave tours but bring your own lights (check their website for Slaughterer cave)), you may want to miss Carlsbad, NM. While there is also some good jeeping in the area, I would recommend that you do that with someone who has jeeped it before, just for best use of time.

If you do take in Carlsbad, I will recommend the next destination (from Carlsbad) to be Las Vegas, NM, then Taos NM. From Carlsbad to Interstate 40 will be very desolate for someone from Louisiana (you might see 5-6 trees), but from I 40 up you will get a nice treat especially after leaving Las Vegas. Very indirect, little traffic, two passes and some great forest and high mountain meadows. It is one of the type of 'back roads' that you mention in your first post. I would do that before going through Santa Fe. If you do the Santa Fe route, I would avoid Espanola, a "gang" town and best avoided for an over night stay.

While not on the route discussed, a great inexpensive overnight stay would be Santa Roas, NM. It has more motels than restaurants and it would not be far out of your way.
I do want to check out Carlsbad Caverns and the area around there, at least for an afternoon. It's also an 8 hour shot from Austin which is a pretty good drive to get us going on the first day. The Las Vegas route is exactly what I'm looking for. Back roads are great, I want to get off the beaten path. If I can find roads like that to go between Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Taos, Red River, etc that would be an amazing few days. Thanks for the tip on Espanola, I'll avoid that one.

Once again, I really appreciate the tips. It's stuff like this I can't figure out on google maps. I'm looking for a list of places just like the ones mentioned to stop in, we won't be following any set schedule.
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Unread 11-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #12
BobA
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Whenever I'm driving through Albuquerque I see alot of Hot air balloons around,usually in the morning. Might be fun to watch.
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Unread 12-30-2011, 09:52 PM   #13
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You should look at Carlsbad to Cloudcroft and Ruidoso on the way up. Come up the old south 14 through the Salinas mission national monument. Wheel Cedro Peak in Tijeras before taking north 14 to Santa fe. On your way back go south from Gallup, through reserve through the center of the Gilla wilderness through pinks altos/ Silver City and the cliff dwellings. Camp at city of rocks state park outside deming. Run the border from Columbus to backside of El Paso. Just food for thought. Hit white Sands national monument outside Las Cruces if time permits.
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Unread 12-30-2011, 09:56 PM   #14
bkrmt
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also you need some sand. great sand dunes outside Alamosa in CO on the way up or Mescalero sands ORV park between Tatum and Roswell in NM. ORV park in Albuquerque is good too, sands not as soft though.
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