Frommer's American Southwest


You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go—they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color ...
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You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go—they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!

Meticulously researched, with every recommendation based on personal experience, Frommer’s American Southwest is the only guide you’ll need to experience all the adventure and natural wonders of this amazing corner of the country. In this detailed and completely up-to-date guide, you’ll find geat places to stay in every price range: luxury resorts, historic B&Bs, family-friendly motels, ranches, rustic cabins, and more.

We’ll show you all the sights, from dinosaur fossils and ancient cliff dwellings to Wild West saloons and Native American pueblos. You’ll rely on our complete coverage of the national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Canyon de Chelly. Whether you’re looking for family fun or daredevil thrills, Frommer’s American Southwest will help you design the adventure that’s right for you.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764539312
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/7/2003
  • Series: Frommer's Complete Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesley S. King (New Mexico coverage, plus chapters 2, 3, 5, and appendix) grew up on a ranch in northern New Mexico, where she still returns on weekends to help work cattle. A freelance writer and photographer, she’s a contributor to New Mexico Magazine and an avid kayaker and skier. She has written for the New York Times, United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine, American Cowboy, and Audubon. She is writer and host of Written on the Wind, a television documentary series. She is also the author of Frommer’s Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque and Frommer’s New Mexico.

Karl Samson (Arizona coverage) finds that the sunny winter skies of the Arizona desert are the perfect antidote to the dreary winters of his Pacific Northwest home. Each winter, he flees the rain to explore Arizona’s deserts, mountains, cities, and small towns. It is the state’s unique regional style, Native American cultures, abundance of contemporary art, and, of course, boundless landscapes that keep him fascinated by Arizona. Summer finds him researching his other books, including Frommer’s Washington, Frommer’s Oregon, and Frommer’s Seattle & Portland.

Residents of northern New Mexico for more than 30 years, Don and Barbara Laine (Colorado and Utah coverage) have traveled extensively throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest. They are the authors of Frommer’s Colorado, Frommer’s Utah, Frommer’s Rocky Mountain National Park, and Frommer’s Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks; are the lead authors of Frommer’s National Parks of the American West; and have contributed to Frommer’s Texas and Frommer’s USA. The Laines have also written Little-Known Southwest and New Mexico & Arizona State Parks (both for The Mountaineers Books).

Mary Herczog (Las Vegas coverage) lives in Los Angeles and works in the film industry. She is the author of Frommer’s New Orleans and Las Vegas For Dummies, and has contributed to Frommer’s Los Angeles. She still isn’t sure when to hit and when to hold when playing blackjack.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps viii
1 The Best of the Southwest 1
1 The Best of the Natural Southwest 1
2 The Best Outdoor Activities 4
3 The Best Scenic Drives 5
4 The Best Native American Sights 6
5 The Best Family Experiences 8
6 The Best Luxury Hotels & Resorts 9
7 The Best B&Bs 10
8 The Best Restaurants 11
2 Planning Your Trip to the Southwest 13
1 The Regions in Brief 13
2 Visitor Information 15
3 Money 15
What Things Cost in Santa Fe 16
What Things Cost in Phoenix 17
4 When to Go 17
Calendar of Events 18
5 Travel Insurance 25
6 Health & Safety 25
7 Specialized Travel Resources 27
8 Planning Your Trip Online 30 The Complete Travel Resource 31
9 Getting There 32
10 Packages for the Independent Traveler 35
11 Getting Around 36
Life on the Open Road: Planning an RV or Tenting Vacation 38
12 Tips on Accommodations 39
13 Suggested Itineraries 41
14 Recommended Books & Films 42
Fast Facts: The American Southwest 43
3 For International Visitors 46
1 Preparing for Your Trip 46
2 Getting to the U.S. 51
3 Getting Around the U.S. 52
Fast Facts: For the International Traveler 53
4 The Active Vacation Planner 58
1 Bicycling 58
2 Bird-Watching 59
3 Fishing 60
4 Golf 61
5 Hiking 62
6 Horseback Riding 64
7 Hot-Air Ballooning 65
8 Houseboating 65
9 Llama and Mountain Goat Trekking 66
10 Rockhounding 66
11 Skiing & Snowboarding 66
12 Tennis 67
13 Watersports 67
14 Special-Interest Vacations 68
5 The Four Corners Area 70
1 Cortez: Colorado's Four Corners Gateway 70
2 Mesa Verde National Park 76
3 A Base Camp in Bluff: Utah's Four Corners Gateway 77
4 Farmington & Aztec: New Mexico's Four Corners Gateways 87
5 Winslow: Arizona's Four Corners Gateway 94
6 Santa Fe 108
1 Orientation 108
2 Getting Around 110
3 Where to Stay 112
4 Where to Dine 126
5 What to See & Do 135
Santa Fe Spas 140
6 Organized Tours 144
7 Getting Outside 145
8 Shopping 148
9 Santa Fe After Dark 155
The Major Concert & Performance Halls 158
10 Touring Some Pueblos Around Santa Fe 160
11 A Side Trip to Pecos National Monument 165
12 Los Alamos & the Ancient Cliff Dwellings of Bandelier National Monument 165
13 Taking the High Road to Taos 168
Georgia O'Keeffe & New Mexico: A Desert Romance 173
7 Taos 175
1 Orientation 176
2 Getting Around 177
3 Where to Stay 178
4 Where to Dine 187
5 What to See & Do 191
6 Skiing Taos 197
7 Getting Outside 200
8 Shopping 203
9 Taos After Dark 207
The Major Concert & Performance Halls 208
10 A Scenic Drive Around the Enchanted Circle 209
8 Albuquerque 214
1 Orientation 214
2 Getting Around 216
3 Where to Stay 217
4 Where to Dine 221
5 What to See & Do 224
6 Especially for Kids 227
7 Getting Outside 229
8 Spectator Sports 230
9 Shopping 231
10 Albuquerque After Dark 234
The Major Concert & Performance Halls 235
11 Touring the Pueblos Around Albuquerque 236
Pueblo Etiquette: Do's & Don'ts 238
Sampling Nature's Nectars 243
12 Also Worth a Look: Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument 243
13 En Route to Santa Fe: Along the Turquoise Trail 244
9 Pueblos, Reservations & the Best of Northern New Mexico 246
1 Getting Outside in Northern New Mexico 248
2 Acoma & Laguna Pueblos 250
3 El Malpais & El Morro National Monuments 254
4 Gallup: Gateway to Indian Country 256
5 Zuni Pueblo 261
6 The Jicarilla Apache Reservation 262
7 Chama: Home of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad 263
8 Las Vegas & Environs 267
9 Cimarron & Raton: Historic Towns on the Santa Fe Trail 272
10 Capulin Volcano National Monument 276
11 The I-40 Corridor 277
Route 66 Revisited: Rediscovering New Mexico's Stretch of the Mother Road 279
10 UFOs & Carlsbad Caverns: Southern New Mexico from Top to Bottom 281
1 Getting Outside in Southern New Mexico 281
2 Alamogordo 285
3 White Sands National Monument 289
4 Ruidoso & the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation 290
5 A Scenic Drive around the Lincoln Loop 297
6 Roswell 299
The Incident at Roswell 300
7 Also Worth a Look: Fort Sumner & Environs 302
8 Carlsbad & Environs 303
9 Carlsbad Caverns National Park 308
10 Socorro: Gateway to Bosque del Apache & the VLA 310
11 Oasis in the Desert: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge 314
12 Truth or Consequences 315
13 Las Cruces 318
14 Deming & Lordsburg 325
15 Silver City: Gateway to the Gila Cliff Dwellings 329
16 Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument 333
17 Other Adventures in Gila National Forest 334
11 Tucson 336
1 Orientation 336
2 Getting Around 338
3 Where to Stay 340
4 Where to Dine 352
Cowboy Steakhouses 363
5 Seeing the Sights 364
Architectural Highlights 376
6 Organized Tours 376
7 Getting Outside 377
8 Spectator Sports 382
9 Day Spas 382
10 Shopping 383
11 Tucson After Dark 389
Performing-Arts Centers & Concert Halls 392
12 Phoenix, Scottsdale & the Valley of the Sun 394
1 Orientation 394
2 Getting Around 397
3 Where to Stay 398
4 Where to Dine 416
Cowboy Steakhouses 424
Dining with a View 431
5 Seeing the Sights 432
Architectural Highlights 439
Wild West Theme Towns 440
6 Organized Tours & Excursions 442
7 Getting Outside 442
8 Spectator Sports 447
A Day at the Spa 450
9 Shopping 450
10 Phoenix After Dark 455
Major Performing-Arts Centers 460
11 A Side Trip from Phoenix: The Apache Trail 462
En Route to Tucson 463
13 The Plains & Highlands of Southern & Eastern Arizona 465
1 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 465
2 Tubac & Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge 466
Starry, Starry Nights 472
3 Nogales 473
4 Patagonia & Sonoita 474
5 Sierra Vista & the San Pedro Valley 477
6 Tombstone 481
7 Bisbee 483
8 Exploring the Rest of Cochise County 486
9 Payson & the Mogollon Rim Country 490
10 Pinetop-Lakeside 492
11 Greer & Sunrise Park 495
12 Springerville & Eagar 497
The Coronado Trail 500
14 Sedona & the Colorado River: The Best of Central & Western Arizona 501
1 Wickenburg 501
2 Prescott 505
3 Jerome 511
4 The Verde Valley 513
5 Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon 516
6 Kingman 531
Ghost Towns 534
Get Your Kicks on Route 66 535
7 Lake Mead National Recreation Area 536
Gambling in the Desert 538
8 Lake Havasu & the London Bridge 539
15 The Grand Canyon & Northern Arizona 544
1 Flagstaff 544
2 Williams 553
3 The Grand Canyon South Rim 556
4 A South Rim Alternative: Havasu Canyon 575
Flying through the Canyon: Grand Canyon West 576
5 The Grand Canyon North Rim 578
16 Las Vegas 583
1 Essentials 583
2 Where to Stay 586
3 Where to Dine 593
4 What to See & Do 595
5 Las Vegas After Dark 598
Appendix The Southwest in Depth 600
1 More than Desert and Saguaro Cactus 600
2 How the Southwest Was Won--And Lost 601
3 The Southwest Today--From Flamenco to Craps 607
4 Art & Architecture 608
Index 611
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First Chapter

Frommer's American Southwest

By Karl Samson Shane Christensen Don Laine Barbara Laine

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-3931-0

Chapter One

The Best of the Southwest

Planning a trip to a region as large and diverse as the American Southwest involves a lot of decision making, so in this chapter we've tried to give you some direction. Below we've chosen what we feel is the very best the region has to offer-the places and experiences you won't want to miss. Although sights and activities listed here are written up in more detail elsewhere in this book, this chapter should give you an overview of the highlights and get you started planning your trip.

1 The Best of the Natural Southwest

Monument Valley Buttes at Sunset (UT & AZ): These stark sentinels of the desert are impressive at any time, but they take on a particularly dignified aura when the setting sun casts its deep colors over them, etching their profiles against a darkening sky. Although the park generally closes before sunset, you can arrange a sunset tour-it's well worth the cost. See p. 82.

Rio Grande Gorge (NM): A hike into this dramatic gorge is unforgettable. You'll first see it as you come over a rise heading toward Taos. It's a colossal slice in the earth formed during the late Cretaceous period, 130 million years ago, and the early Tertiary period, about 70 million years ago. Drive about 35 miles north of Taos, near the village of Cerro, to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Fromthe lip of the canyon you descend through millions of years of geologic history and land inhabited by Indians since 16,000 B.C. If you're visiting during spring and early summer and like an adrenaline rush, be sure to find a professional guide and raft the Taos Box, a 17-mile stretch of Class IV white water. See "Getting Outside" in chapter 7.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM): One of the world's largest and most complex cave systems is located in the southeastern region of New Mexico. The 80 known caves have spectacular stalagmite and stalactite formations. Explore the Big Room in a 1-mile, self-guided tour and then catch the massive bat flight from the cave entrance at sunset. See "Carlsbad Caverns National Park" in chapter 10.

White Sands National Monument (NM): Located 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, White Sands National Monument preserves the best part of the world's largest gypsum dune field. For a truly unforgettable experience, camp over-night so that you can watch the sun rise on the smooth, endless dunes. See "White Sands National Monument" in chapter 10.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (AZ): The name is misleading-this is actually more a zoo and botanical garden than a museum. Naturalistic settings house dozens of species of desert animals, including a number of critters you wouldn't want to meet in the wild (rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, black widows, and Gila monsters). See p. 364.

Saguaro National Park (AZ): Lying both east and west of Tucson, this park preserves "forests" of saguaro cacti and is the very essence of the desert as so many people imagine it. You can hike it, bike it, or drive it. See p. 368.

Desert Botanical Garden (AZ): There's no better place in the state to learn about the plants of Arizona's Sonoran Desert and the many other deserts of the world. Displays at this Phoenix botanical garden explain plant adaptations and how indigenous tribes once used many of this region's wild plants. See p. 432.

2 The Best Outdoor Activities

Hiking (throughout the region): What's unique about hiking in the southwest is the variety of terrain, from desert to alpine forest to badlands to canyons. In Utah, you can hike right past all three stone formations at Natural Bridges National Monument (see "A Base Camp in Bluff: Utah's Four Corners Gateway" in chapter 5). Some of our favorite places for a hike in New Mexico are the El Malpais badlands (see "El Malpais & El Morro National Monuments" in chapter 9), the hauntingly sculpted rock formations at Abiquiu that artist Georgia O'Keeffe made famous in her paintings (see "On the Road: What to See & Do on U.S. 84 South" under "Chama: Home of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad," in chapter 9), and White Sands National Monument (see "White Sands National Monument" in chapter 10).

In Arizona, a hike down into the Grand Canyon or Havasu Canyon is not for the unfit or the faint of heart, but will take you on a journey through millions of years set in stone. This trip takes plenty of advance planning and requires some very strenuous hiking. See "The Grand Canyon South Rim" and "A South Rim Alternative: Havasu Canyon" in chapter 15.

Ballooning (NM & AZ): With the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque bringing more than 750 balloons to the area, Albuquerque has become the sport's world capital. Fortunately, visitors can let loose the tethers and float free, too. Most of the operators are located in Albuquerque; see "Getting Outside" in chapter 8 for recommendations. Ballooning is also popular in Arizona; see "Getting Outside" in chapters 11 and 12, and "Getting Outside" under "Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon" in chapter 14 for ballooning companies in Tucson, Phoenix, and Sedona.

Horseback riding (NM & AZ): New Mexico's history is stamped with the hoof, originating when the Spanish conquistadors brought horses to the New World. Riding in New Mexico still has that Old West feel, with trails that wind through wilderness, traversing passes and broad meadows. Some of the best rides are in the Pecos Wilderness and on Taos Pueblo land. See "Getting Outside" in chapters 6 and 7.

Cowboys still ride ranges all over Arizona, and so can you if you book a stay at one of the many guest ranches (formerly known as dude ranches). You might even get to drive some cattle down the trail. After a long or short day in the saddle, you can soak in a hot tub, go for a swim, or play a game of tennis before chowing down. See chapters 11, 13, and 14.

Mountain Biking (NM & AZ): Forget Moab-too many other hard-core mountain bikers. Almost anywhere you go within New Mexico you'll find trails. We've hooked onto some fun old mining roads in the Black Range down south and explored sage forest on the rim of the Taos Gorge in the north. See the "Biking" sections under "Getting Outside" in each New Mexico chapter, especially Taos (chapter 7).

In Arizona, among the red rocks of Sedona, you can pedal through awesome scenery on some of the most memorable single-track trails in the Southwest. There's even plenty of slickrock for that Canyonlands experience. See "Getting Outside" under "Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon" in chapter 14.

River Rafting (NM & AZ): Whether you go for 3 days or 2 weeks, no other active vacation in the region comes even remotely close to matching the excitement of a raft trip. In New Mexico, the wild Taos Box, a steep-sided canyon south of the Wild Rivers Recreation Area, offers a series of Class IV rapids that rarely lets up for some 17 miles, providing one of the most exciting 1-day whitewater tours in the West. See "Getting Outside" in chapter 7. In Arizona, nothing beats a Colorado River rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Sure, the river is crowded with groups in the summer, but the grandeur of the canyon is more than enough to make up for it. See "Other Ways of Seeing the Canyon" under "The Grand Canyon South Rim" in chapter 15.

3 The Best Scenic Drives

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (UT & AZ): This valley of sandstone buttes and mesas is one of the most photographed spots in America and is familiar to people all over the world from countless movies, TV shows, and commercials that have been shot here. A 17-mile dirt road winds through the park, giving visitors close-up views of such landmarks as Elephant Butte, the Mittens, and Totem Pole. See "Bluff: Utah's Four Corners Gateway" in chapter 5.

High Road to Taos (Santa Fe, NM): One of New Mexico's primo experiences, this road traverses through the mountains from Santa Fe to Taos, passing by chile and apple farms in old Hispanic villages. Stop in Chimayo to see unique wool weaving, in Cordova, to find lovely woodcarvings, and in renegade Truchas, where life remains much as it did a century ago. Most importantly, the route traverses the base of New Mexico's grandest peaks. See "Taking the High Road to Taos" in chapter 6.

Turquoise Trail (Albuquerque, NM): Meandering through the broad Galisteo basin, this is the scenic route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. The two-lane road traverses through piñon-studded hills and old mining towns such as Madrid and Cerrillos, where 2,000 years ago Native Americans hammered turquoise and silver from the hills. Today artists and craftspeople have revived the towns, with a few museums, restaurants, and inns adding to the charm. See "En Route to Santa Fe: Along the Turquoise Trail" in chapter 8.

Lincoln Loop (Ruidoso, NM): Elegant art, ancient petroglyphs, and Billy the Kid memorabilia draw road warriors to this 162-mile loop in southeastern New Mexico. It begins in the mountain resort town of Ruidoso and cruises to Lincoln, where travelers can "walk in the footsteps" of the notorious punk, Billy the Kid. Next it passes a vast lava field, imaginative petroglyphs, through the Mescalero Apache Reservation, and back to Ruidoso. See "A Scenic Drive around the Lincoln Loop" in chapter 10.

The Apache Trail (east of Phoenix, AZ): Much of this winding road, which passes just north of the Superstition Mountains, is unpaved and follows a rugged route once ridden by Apaches. This is some of the most remote country you'll find in the Phoenix area, with far-reaching desert vistas and lots to see and do along the way. See "A Side Trip from Phoenix: The Apache Trail" in chapter 12.

Oak Creek Canyon (Sedona, AZ): Slicing down from the pine country outside Flagstaff to the red rocks of Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon is a cool oasis. From the scenic overlook at the top of the canyon to the swimming holes and hiking trails at the bottom, this canyon road provides a rapid change in climate and landscape. See "Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon" in chapter 14.

Mount Lemmon (Tucson, AZ): Sure, the views of Tucson from the city's northern foothills are great, but the vistas from Mount Lemmon are even better. With a ski area at its summit, Mount Lemmon rises up from the desert like an island rising from the sea. Along the way, the road climbs from cactus country to cool pine forests. See "Getting Outside" in chapter 11.

4 The Best Native American Sights

Ute Mountain Tribal Park (CO): These ruins differ from others in Colorado because they're located on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation, and the only way to see it is on a guided tour conducted by members of the Ute tribe. You'll see ruins and petroglyphs similar to those in Mesa Verde, but with an informed personal guide and without the crowds. See p. 75.

Mesa Verde National Park (CO): Home to the most impressive prehistoric cliff dwellings in the Southwest, Mesa Verde (Spanish for "green table") overwhelms you with its size and complexity. The first national park set aside to preserve works created by humans, it covers some 52,000 acres just outside Cortez. Among the most compelling sites are Spruce Tree House, Square Tower House, and Cliff Palace, a four-story, apartment-style dwelling. See "Mesa Verde National Park" in chapter 5.

Hovenweep National Monument (UT): This deserted valley contains some of the most striking and most isolated archaeological sites in the Four Corners area-the remains of curious sandstone towers built more than 700 years ago by the Ancestral Puebloans (also known as Anasazi). These mysterious structures still keep archaeologists guessing. See p. 80.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (UT & AZ): For most of us, Monument Valley is the Old West. We've seen it dozens of times in movie theaters, on TV, and in magazine and billboard advertisements. The Old West may be gone, but many Navajos still call this home. A Navajo guide will give you the Navajo perspective on this majestic land and take you into areas not otherwise open to visitors. See p. 82.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (Albuquerque, NM): Owned and operated as a nonprofit organization by the 19 pueblos of New Mexico, this is a fine place to begin an exploration of Native American culture. The museum is modeled after Pueblo Bonito, a spectacular 9th-century ruin in Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and contains art and artifacts old and new. See p. 224.

Petroglyph National Monument (NM): This site has 25,000 petroglyphs (prehistoric rock carvings) and provides a variety of hiking trails in differing levels of difficulty right on the outskirts of Albuquerque. See p. 227.


Excerpted from Frommer's American Southwest by Karl Samson Shane Christensen Don Laine Barbara Laine Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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