Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > West
Reload this Page >

? best scenery driving ABQ-ELP,DEN or TUS

? best scenery driving ABQ-ELP,DEN or TUS

Old Apr 2, 18, 5:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,587
? best scenery driving ABQ-ELP,DEN or TUS

Hi,
I will be at a meeting in ABQ this october and fly back to Australia 2320 hrs on a sunday night from LAX.
I'll be doing some touring round ABQ and Sante Fe for a 4 days .
The only non stop flight leaving ABQ on the day of my departure arrives in LAX at 2153 - too tight for me,
There are non stop flights out of DEN,TUS and ELP which would fit in ( dep round 1730 or 1800 ) and I could rent a car to get those airports .
I love driving in rural USA and would be grateful for some advice as to the most scenic route to get from ABQ to one of the options or with things to visit on the way.
I know it is a short timespan but i don't want to get to LAX too early or too late .
Grateful for your advice.
ozflier is offline  
Old Apr 3, 18, 8:47 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Erie, CO USA
Programs: UA, Marriott, Starwood, et al
Posts: 1,554
Santa Fe (or Taos) to Denver is very doable in a day. I did Taos-Denver in November (Taos to San Luis to Walsenburg on secondary roads and then on I-25 through Denver). The drive varies from fairly flat to some rolling hills. Particularly if you start from Taos somewhat early, you should have time for a detour at Colorado Springs to drive through the Garden of the Gods (Google it). It is easy to access from I-25. From there you are about 90 minutes from DEN, so you can judge how much time you can spend there. There are a number of other places worth seeing on the drive, especially around Pueblo and Colorado Springs, but not sure I would try those while working to catch a first flight in a series.

As you may know from travelling in the US, Costcotravel.com often has good rates on one-way rentals, possibly even enough savings to merit joining Costco. And when approaching Denver from the South, particularly on a busy traffic time like Sunday afternoon, the fastest way to the airport will be via E470, which is a toll lane. The tolls are collected automatically by toll tag or license plate, so be sure you understand how your rental car company charges for that. Even if you have tolls on just one day, some rental car companies at least used to charge you the rental car fee for then entire rental. This page may be helpful, though I don't know if the rules are the same if you pick up a car away from DIA: https://www.expresstoll.com/HowDoesItWork/RentalCars

Good luck!
TRRed is offline  
Old Apr 3, 18, 9:24 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Programs: AA 2MM - UA 1P / Hyatt Diamond - SPG Plat / Hertz 5* - Avis 1st
Posts: 3,513
ABQ to TUS can be a very pretty drive with some interesting sights along the way, depending on the route you select, but in most months you will be driving down into the sunset at the times you noted, and that is a real drawback to this option.

TRRed's DEN recommendation is probably the better idea, given your constraints.
Wilbur is offline  
Old Apr 3, 18, 10:56 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 448
If you choose to go to DEN, you will have three basic options from Santa Fe: I-25 the whole way, Taos to La Veta Pass then I-25, or US 285. I have done them all and I-25 is my least favorite, though it is the fastest. Highlights on this route are Raton Pass in NM and views of the Front Range, including Pikes Peak, on your left most of the way (with views of the flat half of Colorado on your right). Highlights of the Taos route are the town of Taos itself, the Rio Grande Gorge (with a detour) and great views of the Spanish Peaks coming down from La Veta pass. If you take 285, you will see mountain ranges in the distance on either side for some time, passing near Great Sand Dunes National Park and the UFO Watchtower. Then you will have close views of the Collegiate Peaks before passing into South Park and continuing to Denver. The downside of this route is you end up on the opposite side of Denver from the airport and given your timeline you probably want to avoid this.

If you drive to El Paso, stop by White Sands National Monument. Spectacular!
maskedmesothorium is offline  
Old Apr 3, 18, 1:27 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCI, Prior: SEA/PDX, VA/DC, PHL, BUF (born/raised)
Programs: Marriott (Silver/Gold), IHG, Carlson, Best Western, Choice( Gold), AS (MVP), WN, UA
Posts: 2,909
If you have a few days do ABQ to Tucson. remember to DEN in October you have REAL RISK of front range snow along I-25 to Denver
djp98374 is offline  
Old Apr 5, 18, 2:32 pm
  #6  
Moderator Travel News, West, The Suggestion Box, Smoking Lounge & DiningBuzz
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Programs: AS MVP Gold, Honors Diamond
Posts: 33,925
Originally Posted by djp98374 View Post
If you have a few days do ABQ to Tucson. remember to DEN in October you have REAL RISK of front range snow along I-25 to Denver
Agreed!

I'd do this route, stopping at Pietown, NM
https://www.newmexico.org/places-to-...west/pie-town/
The drive from Show Low, Arizona, to Globe is gorgeous.

https://goo.gl/maps/YQePunT8BF12
cblaisd is offline  
Old Apr 5, 18, 3:47 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Denver, Colorado
Programs: Marriott Platium. Hyatt Globlist. United Silver w/Club Card. WN A-list w/CP. Frontier Elite 100K.
Posts: 177
If you have time while in Albuquerque go to Tent Rock--very nice day hike

https://www.blm.gov/visit/kktr

Last edited by MileHighColorado; Apr 5, 18 at 3:48 pm Reason: typo
MileHighColorado is offline  
Old Apr 5, 18, 5:04 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: CT
Programs: AA-Plat, Marriott-LT Plat
Posts: 73
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Agreed!

I'd do this route, stopping at Pietown, NM
https://www.newmexico.org/places-to-...west/pie-town/
The drive from Show Low, Arizona, to Globe is gorgeous.

https://goo.gl/maps/YQePunT8BF12
I would go to Tucson this way but I would not continue through Springerville to Show Low on 60. Instead go from Springerville through McNary to Hondah on 260 and then turn down 73 and go through Whiteriver to meet back up with 60. This drive is far, far more beautiful and in October, all the aspens will be golden yellow. The drive from Springerville to Show Low is rolling hills of grass, no trees. You will also have a greater chance of seeing pronghorn, elk and bighorn sheep on this route. Albuquerque to Tucson this way though should be an eight to nine hour drive. A great stopping point half way would be Greer-a beautiful little hamlet nestled in a valley with the Little Colorado River running through the middle of town.
odie11 is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 8:10 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Erie, CO USA
Programs: UA, Marriott, Starwood, et al
Posts: 1,554
Originally Posted by djp98374 View Post
If you have a few days do ABQ to Tucson. remember to DEN in October you have REAL RISK of front range snow along I-25 to Denver
I don't disagree with the possibility of snow on I-25 in October, but I don't think it is a really high risk. I suspect the chance of an accident slowing down the any of these roads is higher. Around here the humidity is pretty low, so that even if there are a few hours of snow, the roads and streets are usable fairly quickly afterwards.

If there is a snowstorm causing significant problems on I-25, it will probably also be impacting flights from DEN. If your DEN-LAX leg is on the same ticket as LAX-OZ, then you should be protected if there are weather based delays. Though think about the type of car you are renting if snow is coming.
TRRed is offline  
Old Apr 9, 18, 4:32 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,587
Good advice thank you.
ozflier is offline  
Old Apr 10, 18, 11:16 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Navajo Nation, Northern Arizona
Programs: ex-Con *Gold (earned)
Posts: 9,042
Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
Agreed!

I'd do this route, stopping at Pietown, NM
https://www.newmexico.org/places-to-...west/pie-town/
The drive from Show Low, Arizona, to Globe is gorgeous.

https://goo.gl/maps/YQePunT8BF12
The NRAO is also on the route from Albuquerque yo Pietown. A must see if you have any degree of geekdom.
Show Low to Globe is a beautiful drive through Apache territory.

Originally Posted by MileHighColorado View Post
If you have time while in Albuquerque go to Tent Rock--very nice day hike

https://www.blm.gov/visit/kktr
I very much like Tent Rocks. The adjacent Cochiti Pueblo is genuine.
kale73 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread