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Cyndi

Arizona, New Mexico

Warm outdoor getaway in the Southwest

I am looking for a brief (~4-day) getaway in the next few months to get away from the Minnesota cold.  Rather than going for palm trees, I want to go somewhere where I can hike this year.  Thinking Arizona or New Mexico...as long as it's not snowing and above 50 and I can do some challenging hikes in beautiful scenery I'll be happy.  Ideas?  Since it won't be too long of a trip, needs to be a reasonable distance from a major airport.  Would love to hear specific recommendations about hikes and where to eat, etc, too.  Thanks!

I found a hotel deal in Prescott but not sure about the hiking around there - looks like a lot more options around Sedona.  And I have wanted to visit New Mexico for a long time, but I think if I wanted to fly into Albequerque and then incorporate Santa Fe and Taos that would be too much driving for four days?  Also not sure of the elevations of any hiking options are around there and risk of any snow...


4 Answers

answered by
Emilio from San Antonio, Texas

Up in the Northwest there’s the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, plenty of good day hikes there, at least a three hour drive from Albuquerque. It’s an arid and beautiful place with Native American sites scattered through the canyons, including the very well-known Chaco Canyon site. The area is wide open with mostly brush and few trees.  To the southwest of Albuqurque there’s the Gila National Forest, a beautiful forest with some warm and hot springs inside the park. I went for a spring break, where we backpacked in and camped in the shade of a valley, so it was quite cold at night just above freezing, and crossed around 17 nearly ice cold streams each way, quite an experience. There’s also some hikes in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness next to Albuquerque and the Santa Fe National Forest.  I would say to be prepared for the large temperature changes in the desert if you’ve never been, it can get very cold when you’re out in the open.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Chaco Culture National Historical Park (attraction)
  2. Gila National Forest (attraction)
  3. Sandia Mountain Wilderness (attraction)
  4. Santa Fe National Forest (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Ernst from Long Island (New York)

In Arizona, there is Saguaro National Park near Tucson.

You could also consider arriving in Las Vegas and making day trips to Valley of Fire State Park and Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center

From Vegas, you could also drive (about 2 hrs one-way) to Death Valley National Park and do some hiking there.  One nice hike is the Gower GulchLoop that goes between Golden Canyon and Zabriski Point.  If you get there at the right time, you may also see wildflowers in Death Valley - depending on rainfall. That would most likely be between Feb and early March.  There are some accommodation possibilities in Death Valley.

Depending on which month you go (Feb-March has average highs from low 50's to low 60's), Moab is an awesome place for hiking and outdoor activities.  Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park are easy day trips.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Saguaro National Park (attraction)
  2. Tucson (city)
  3. Las Vegas (city)
  4. Valley of Fire State Park (amusement park)
  5. Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center (attraction)
  6. Death Valley National Park (park)
  7. Gower Gulch (attraction)
  8. Moab (city)
  9. Arches National Park (park)
  10. Canyonlands National Park (park)
  11. Dead Horse Point State Park (attraction)
1 thanks


answered first by
Joanna from Oakland

Hi Cyndi, 

I just did a road trip in the Southwest. There are definitely beautiful outdoors in both Arizona and New Mexico.

For Arizona, there's the Grand Canyon National Park, where the nearest airport would be Phoenix. Tons of hiking options there.

Other places in Arizona- Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon in PageHorseshoe Bend is also there, which is stunning. Stunning nature, but not known for good hikes, per se. 

Finally, Petrified Forest National Park is in Arizona, on I-40 about 1 hour east of Flagstaff. It's a national park that makes up 28 miles of driving, and there's lots of little hikes and places to explore along the way. 

Also, check the weather forecast. We went in late December and it was below freezing and snowing. Hear that's a rarity in that area though! 


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Grand Canyon National Park (park)
  2. Phoenix (city)
  3. Upper Antelope Canyon (attraction)
  4. Page (city)
  5. Horseshoe Bend (attraction)
  6. Petrified Forest National Park (park)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Justin from Phoenix

If you fly into Phoenix, you're not far from the Superstition Mountains. This is epic, challenging scenery that is cram-packed with legends. This is the remains of a 25 million-year-old caldera from a supervolcano. The Flatiron is one of its signature trails. Some of the others will take you into the interior, but these are not trails to take lightly.

I'd stay somewhere on the east side of the Phoenix area. You'll have access to all sorts of hiking.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Superstition Mountains (attraction)




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