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Coos Bay, Oregon

Marisa from Coos Bay, Oregon asked

Sites to see along the way on road trip from Vegas to New Mexico

We'll be flying into Las Vegas, NV, for a couple of days then renting a car and driving to Carlsbad Caverns. We'll be going thru either Flagstaff or Phoenix depending on what there is to see. We know that Gila, NM, is a must for cliff dwellings - Does anyone know of other cliff dwellings or sites like this to see along the way? Caves? Caverns? Picturglyphs, Pectroglyphs? etc.... Thank you in advance for your help.

Las Vegas   Carlsbad Caverns National Park   Carlsbad (New Mexico)   Flagstaff   Phoenix

2 Answers
answered by
Joe from Odessa (Texas)

Depending upon the direction you plan on is a list of things to see or do... The Cat Walk (hiking "trail") in Gila Wilderness area.  Salt River drive in the Fort Apache Res. ... A must stop is Mesilla, NM located outside (west) of Las Cruces along the I20 (best restaurant is Double Eagle - although it has been a year since I was last there).  LOT of history in that small village. Other than Carlsbad Caverns National Park... no other "official" cave openings to visit.   The Carlsbad Caverns are HUGE and large expansive spaces to tour.  However...To get the best taste of caving, you need to sign up for Spider Cave or similar tours offered by the National Park service at the Carlsbad Caverns... but, YOU CAN NOT BE CLAUSTROPHOBIC or afraid of very small spaces to squeeze through.  Fear of getting stuck is NOT an option for these sort of tours.  You will get very dirty... and some are are wet and others are dry.   

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gila Wilderness (attraction)
  2. Fort Apache (attraction)
  3. Mesilla (city)
  4. Las Cruces (city)
  5. Double Eagle (restaurant)
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (park)
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answered first by
JR from Manhattan Beach

It depends on how aggressive you want to get driving. Here's an idea: Take the time to go a little further north to see the Grand Canyon National Park. If you keep going north you can see Mesa Verde National Park(the grand dame of cliff dwellings)  

Also, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is nearby (one of the most under rated parks/views IMHO) Then on your way back down, hitI'd say hit Taos Santa Fe on your way down to Carlsbad Caverns National Park

I've never been to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument but if they are similar to Mesa Verde, it's worth it. 

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