RoadTrip America Arizona & New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips

RoadTrip America Arizona & New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips

RoadTrip America Arizona & New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips

RoadTrip America Arizona & New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips


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Enjoy all the Southwest has to offer instead of zipping on by. In a few hours or a day, each one of these 25 scenic alternative routes makes it easy to discover the enchanting history, jaw-dropping natural wonders, unique roadside attractions, and best-kept local secrets that lie just off the Interstates. Stunning photography, detailed maps, and easy-to-follow narrative guide the way through breathtaking landscapes and iconic western towns. Each route begins and ends at an Interstate, making it easy to add a few hours of scenic moseying to a cross-country run or to enjoy a picturesque day trip from Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, or Santa Fe. Check out a real, ready-for action spaceport Shop for unique treasure at century old Wild West trading posts Meet the treat-seeking burros of Oatman on old Route 66 Rest at an ancient healing sanctuary on the high road to Taos Explore the ancestral home of the Hopituh Shi-nu-mu in Arizona's north country Experience the rush of ten thousand cranes and snow geese as they rise above Bosque del Apache Look for extraterrestrials in Roswell Take a selfie while "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona" Visit "The Wickedest Town in the West" Drive to the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781945501050
Publisher: Imbrifex Books
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Series: Scenic Side Trips , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 494,066
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Rick Quinn was born and raised in Arizona, earned a degree in anthropology, then hit the road, indulging an admittedly peculiar whim by hitch-hiking to Tierra del Fuego. In one way or another, he's been on the road ever since, living in a dozen diverse locales, from Paris to Peru, San Francisco to Washington D.C., working as a photographer, a coffee farmer, a magazine writer, a postman, a novelist, and, until his recent retirement, a financial systems expert with the Postal Service. Rick is a veteran road tripper who has driven both the Alaska Highway and the Pan American. Currently, he's a travel blogger, a landscape photographer, and a contributing writer for

Read an Excerpt

Las Cruces to Lordsburg via Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and Silver City
251 miles, 7 hours 11 minutes

From the ancient past to outer space and back, on the Trail of the Mountain Spirits

This scenic detour will add 130 miles and most of a day to your journey between Las Cruces and Lordsburg. What would have been a rather monotonous 2 hours on a flat, straight freeway becomes an expedition over magnificent mountain highways and a fascinating journey through time, with some very hot chiles thrown in.


Leave Interstate 10 at Exit 140 in Las Cruces, on the Avenida de Mesilla. While you're in town, check out Las Cruces' Museum of Nature and Science. Among other exhibits, it has fossilized footprints of animals that predate the dinosaurs taken from nearby Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which is possibly the world's richest source for this type of Permian Age fossil. Contact the BLM in Las Cruces if you'd like to tag along on a guided hike to the fossil beds, which contain tracks left by lizard-like critters, giant bugs, and sea creatures anywhere from 250 to 300 million years ago.

Otherwise, head north on Valley Drive, NM 185, which will lead you through the agricultural area north of town. The highway runs through the valley of the Rio Grande, the same Rio Grande that marks the 1,200-mile border between Texas and Mexico. At Radium Springs, pull off the road for the Fort Selden State Historic Site, the crumbling adobe remains of a 19th-century Army outpost, a relic of the days when marauding bands of Apaches preyed on pretty much everyone who came near their territory. After the last of the renegade Apache warriors were disarmed and herded onto reservations, small garrisons like Fort Selden were no longer needed; this post was decommissioned and abandoned in 1891.

Chile pepper lovers will have something to celebrate when they reach the little town of Hatch, the official Chile Capital of New Mexico and site of the annual Hatch Chile Festival. The spicy food and music extravaganza is held each year over Labor Day weekend, and draws as many as 30,000 visitors. There's no question that the farms in this area produce some of the finest, hottest peppers you would ever dare to eat, and local shops do a brisk business. You can get the chiles fresh when they're in season, from August through mid-September; the rest of the year they're available dried, frozen, and pickled, along with every conceivable chile-related food product and curio. Favorite souvenirs include beautiful decorative wreaths made entirely of dried chile peppers, and traditional ristras: strings of dried chiles, as much a staple of Southwestern décor as they are of Southwestern cooking.

From Hatch, drive 30 miles north on NM 187 to the intersection of NM 152, near Caballo Lake, a large reservoir on the Rio Grande that offers all the usual boating, fishing, camping, and picnicking opportunities. The route heads west from here, but you might consider an optional side trip: 15 miles north is the town of Truth or Consequences, the official gateway to Spaceport America, the world's first "purpose-built, FAA-certified commercial spaceport." It's not an amusement park, and it's not a movie set. It's an actual spaceport, owned and operated by the State of New Mexico, with a 12,000-foot runway, launch pads for rockets, hangars for spacecraft, and a passenger terminal that boosters compare to the Sydney Opera House. When trips into outer space become available to paying passengers, this is where they'll fly from.

There's not a lot going on out at the Spaceport just yet, but if you'd like to take a look at the staging area for what could well become the Next Big Thing, you can take a tour, the "Spaceport America Experience"; it lasts about 4 hours, counting travel time. All tours leave from, and return to, the Spaceport America Visitors Center in downtown Truth or Consequences, and advance reservations are required. If you stay overnight in the area, take advantage of the natural hot springs for which Truth or Consequences has long been famous. Several of the local hotels, including Riverbend Hot Springs and La Paloma Hot Springs, have private thermal pools right on their properties.


Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science
411 N. Main St., Las Cruces, NM 88001
(575) 522-3120

Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
BLM Las Cruces District Office
1800 Marquess St., Las Cruces, NM 88005
(575) 525-4300

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction xiii

Part 1 Scenic Alternatives to Interstate 10 21

1 Van Horn, Texas, to Las Cruces, New Mexico 23

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Roswell UFO Museum

Lincoln Historic Site

Billy the Kid Scenic Byway

Sierra Blanca Mountains

White Sands National Monument

White Sands Missile Range Museum

2 Las Cruces to Lordsburg 37

Las Cruces Museum of Nature and Science

Hatch (Chile Capital of the World)

Spaceport America

Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

Gila Hot Springs

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Pinos Altos

Historic Silver City

City of Rocks State Park

Chino Copper Mine

3 Lordsburg to Willcox, Arizona 50

Silver City

Catwalk National Recreation Trail

Mogollon Ghost Town

White Mountains of Eastern Arizona

Coronado Trail Scenic Byway

Blue Range Primitive Area

Morenci Mine

Clifton Townsite Historic District

Rex Allen Museum

4 Lordsburg to Phoenix 63


Safford and Mount Graham


Superior and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Phoenix Mountain Parks

Arizona State Capitol Museum

Heard Museum

Desert Botanical Garden

Pueblo Grande

5 Wiilcox to Benson 75

Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Chiricahua National Monument

Douglas and Agua Prieta

Bisbee and the Copper Queen Mine


O.K. Corral and Boot Hill

St. David


6 Benson to Tucson 89

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Coronado National Memorial

Montezuma Pass

Parker Canyon Lake




Tumacacori National ITistorical Park

Tubac Presidio

Titan Missile Museum

7 A Tucson Circuit 101

Sabino Canyon

Mount Lemmon

Saguaro National Park East

AMARG Boneyard

Pima Air & Space Museum

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Old Tucson

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Saguaro National Park West

Gates Pass

8 Tucson to Phoenix 117

Biosphere 2

Pinal Pioneer Parkway

Tom Mix Memorial

Historic Florence

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

LDS Mesa Temple

Tempe Town Lake

Old Town Scottsdale

Western Spirit Museum

Part 2 Scenic Alternatives to Interstate 17 129

9 Phoenix to Flagstaff, West Route 131


Yarneil Hill

Prescott and Whiskey Row

Mingus Mountain and Jerome

Tuzigoot National Monument and the Verde Valley

Sedona and the Red Rocks

Oak Creek Canyon


10 Phoenix to Flagstaff, East Route 143

Taliesin West

Fountain Hills

Payson and the Zane Gray Cabin

Mogollon Rim

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Pine and Strawberry

Montezuma Castle National Monument


Schnebly Hill


Oak Creek Canyon

11 Phoenix to Holbrook 157

Superstition Wilderness

Apache Trail Historic Road

Salt River Lakes (Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt)

Tonto National Monument


Salt River Canyon

Show Low

Petrified Forest National Park

Painted Desert


Part 3 Scenic Alternatives to Interstate 40 171

12 Kingman to Flagstaff 173

Historic Route 66


Peach Springs and the Hualapai Reservation

Diamond Creek Road

The Colorado River

Grand Canyon Caverns



Grand Canyon Railroad


13 St. George, Utah, to Flagstaff 189

Zion National Park

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Lee's Ferry

Lake Powell

Antelope Canyon

Horseshoe Bend


14 Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon Loop 207

Cameron Trading Post

Grand Canyon National Park

Red Mountain Crater

Hart Prairie Preserve

Snowbowl (San Francisco Peaks)

Museum of Northern Arizona


15 Flagstaff to Holbrook 221

Walnut Canyon National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments

Coal Mine Canyon

Hopi Mesas

Little Painted Desert



16 Holbrook to Gallup, New Mexico 233

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Monument Valley

Navajo Route 13 and tbe Lukachukai Mountains



17 Gallup to Grants 249


Bisti Badlands

Aztec Ruins National Monument (Farmington)

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

18 Gallup to Albuquerque 261

Gallup Historic District

Zunr Pueblo

El Morro National Monument

Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano

El Malpais National Monument

The Sky City of Acoma

Laguna Pueblo

Los Lunas

Rio Grande


19 Grants to Socorro 275


El Malpais National Monument

Pie Town


Plains of San Agustin

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Part 4 Scenic Alternatives to Interstate 25 287

20 Socorro to Albuquerque 289

Historic Socorro

Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument (Abo, Gran Quivira, and Quarai)

Salt Mission Trail Scenic Byway

Sandia Peak Tramway

21 Albuquerque Loop 301

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Petroglyph National Monument


Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Turquoise Trail

Tinkertown Museum

Sandia Crest

22 Albuquerque to Santa Fe 313

Coronado Historic Site

Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway

Jemez Historic Site

Valles Caldera National Preserve

Fenton Lake State Park


Bandelier National Monument

Los Alamos

Bradbury Science Museum

Santa Fe

23 Santa Fe/Taos Loop, Part A 327

Santa Fe

Low Road to Taos

Old Spanish Trail

Puye Cliff Dwellings

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

San Francisco de Asis Church


Taos Pueblo

24 Santa Fe/Taos Loop, Part B 339


Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

Taos Ski Valley

Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway

Red River

Eagle Nest Lake

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

Angel Fire

High Road to Taos Scenic Byway

Las Trampas


El Santuario de Chimayo

Santa Fe

25 Santa Fe to Raton 355

Santa Fe

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum


Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio

Ghost Ranch

Echo Amphitheater

Brazos Cliffs

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge


Cimarron Canyon State Park



Acknowledgements 371

Index 372

What People are Saying About This

Rick Quinn

"Rick Quinn reveals the absolute best of Arizona and New Mexico, including hidden gems and overlooked treasures. This gorgeous guidebook helps you plan the ultimate road trip!” —James Kaiser, author of Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide."

“Rick Quinn jumps off the interstate to guide travelers on 25 brilliantly conceived road trips. Stunning images of southwestern landscapes and landmarks nicely mix with his insights about historic attractions and roadside treasures along the way.” —Doug Kirby,

“The book itself is absolutely beautiful. Stunning photographs are featured on every page. The photos, combined with detailed maps and highlights about each stop along the route, one could easily content themselves with being an armchair traveler."— Sheri Hoyte

"Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips delights with more than 300 vibrant images and location tidbits that will keep the pages and your wheels turning."—Nancy Wiechec, Arizona Daily Sun

"Is a handy guide through the incredibly scenic side trips through Arizona and New Mexico.” —Rob Kinnan, Mustang Monthly

"The photographs draw you in, capturing the color and flavor of the American Southwest. And you’ll appreciate the detail and accuracy of the maps as you discover what is around the next bend in the road."—Craig and Suzanne Sheumaker, authors of America’s Living History – The Early Years

"For the road warrior, the weekend traveler, or the arm-chair voyager, Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips provides so much interesting, fun facts and photos it becomes the ultimate guidebook for the ultimate roadtrip to the road less traveled."—Janet Walker,

"Full-scale adventures through some of the Southwest’s most spectacular and historic places. For travelers who want their journey to be the adventure, this is a great guide to these two states."—Cindy Carlsson, Exploration

"Colorfully illustrated, this guide book by well-seasoned traveler Rick Quinn covers Arizona and New Mexico quite well. Enough detail is given about locations and drives to pique the interest and yet not spoil the surprise. As a bonus, the maps are concise but detailed enough to get you to the destination… Overall, I would highly recommend this book by Rick Quinn.”—Jim Hinckley, author of Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town

"This book is amazing, packed with so much information on so many towns and attractions. The directions are clear, the maps are helpful, the descriptions are concise yet engaging, and the photography consistently stunning."—Brian Butko, author of Greetings from the Lincoln Highway and Roadside Attractions

"For those who may be passing through Arizona or New Mexico on the way someplace else, it’s an inspirational guide to transforming what would otherwise be a simple A-to-B journey into something special – a road trip that takes you into the heart of the Desert Southwest”—Peter Thody,

“Iconic only-in-America tourist destinations come alive in Rick Quinn’s guide to famed Arizona and New Mexico road trips. From Burma-Shave roadside signs, vortex sites, tree trunk sculptures, and the world’s smallest museum, to architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home, artist Georgia O’Keefe’s studio, and Biosphere 2, you’ll be amazed at the seductive pull these diverse, sometimes quirky attractions will have on your western itinerary.”—Jeff Blumenfeld, editor,

"It’s not a mirage, this wonderful book brings these legendary, mythical desert regions to life in the best of ways, with compelling stories, gorgeous images and useful information.”—Chris Epting, author of James Dean Died Here and Roadside Baseball

"Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is a stunningly beautiful book with hundreds of color photos, easy-to-read route maps, and insider tips that only a well-traveled tour guide would know."—Carol White, author of Live Your Road Trip Dream.

"If there was ever a model for publishing the perfect road trip book, Quinn's book is the closest thing I've seen. It's a must-have companion if you are driving through the state and have a little extra time or sense of adventure."—Michael Dougherty, author of The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia

“Rick Quinn’s Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is pure joy for those who prefer the road less traveled. With more than two dozen maps, stunning photographs and practical advice, this is the indispensable guide to traveling the desert – and mountain – southwest.” —Aaron Reed, author of The Local Angler Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas

“Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips is a must-have for travelers exploring the Southwest. Over 300 full-color photos capture the true beauty of these two states.”—Ellen Robson, author of Haunted Highway: The Spirit of Route 66

“As an experienced roadtripper, Quinn has gone beyond the usual in this travel guide, providing important information before you head out, such as when the road turns to dirt or when taking an RV is not advised. Reading this has shown me how many more fascinating and beautiful places I have yet to see. I can’t recommend this too highly. Now my only quandary—which roadtrip to do first! —Jaimie Bruzenak,

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