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Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

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Minnesota
posts: 7
Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

I will be driving through Albuquerque and eventually going to Phoenix and am considering going south to Las Cruces, over to Tuscon, then to Phoenix (this will be right around New Years and my thought is that the weather will be warmer if I go the roundabout south route rather than doing some sight seeing in Albuquerque or Sante Fe and going to Phoenix via Flagstaff). I will have about a day to take some detours to see some sights (I'd prefer a couple hours here, a few hours there, at several places that are kind of on route). White Sands looks interesting. I've had bad experiences driving non-interstate mountain roads and want to avoid such driving pretty much at all costs. I drove up to Jerome, AZ and did not like it at all, panic attack pretty much. Is there any mountainous driving from Las Cruces over to White Sands ? And is there anything else noteworthy on my route that can be gotten to without mountainous driving ? I did the drive from Nashville to FL through the TN mountains on the Interstates ok. I didn't like it, but it was tolerable. The single-lane roads with cars behind me and cars coming at me on a mountain road with a high slope/cliff near me is something I won't do. Even if the slope/cliff is not "dangerous" and isn't super close, it still distracts and scares me to the point where I won't do it again. Thanks.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,362
reviews: 34
1. Re: Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

Most of the areas south of Albuqueque are fairly flat.

From Albuquerque to Las Cruces take a stop at Bosque del Apache early in the morning to see the thousands of geese and cranes take off for the day! Maybe stay in Socorro the night before. Truth or Consequences (hot springs), Elephant Butte Reservoir are along the way. If you have an interest in space, the NM Spaceport America is near T or C. www.spaceportamerica.com/about-us/faqs.html

In Las Cruces stay in the old village of Mesilla. La Posta and Double Eagle/Peppers are 2 good restaurants. From there to Tucson, stop to see City of Rocks State Park www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/cityrocks.htm

Here's one of my favorite websites when traveling to new places. www.milebymile.com

Minnesota
posts: 7
2. Re: Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

So it's pretty flat driving over to the White Sands ?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,362
reviews: 34
3. Re: Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

From Las Cruces to White Sands it is very flat. In 68 miles the road goes "up" only 336 feet between Las Cruces and White Sands. I can not think of a flatter road in New Mexico and you will be just fine. BUT it can be closed if the US Military is shooting off missiles!

Longview, Washington
Destination Expert
for Mount Rainier National Park
posts: 2,449
reviews: 90
4. Re: Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

We just did this trip a couple of weeks ago. You can do the entire route on the Interstates and it's all fairly flat. We missed Bosque del Apache this year, but have been there before and saw thousands of snow geese and many sand hill cranes.

We drove out to Spaceport USA and took some pictures from the gate. Saw signs in T or C for a visitor center, but never did find it. White Sands is fascinating--take a ranger guided tour.

Definitely go this route instead of Flagstaff in January--it snows in Flagstaff!

Much to see an do in and around Tucson, you could spend an entire week there and barely begin to see it all.

5. Re: Albuquerque to Tuscon/Phoenix, sights & avoiding mtn driving

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