Road trip from Austin, TX
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Apr 13, 2012 8:24 PM Last Post By: tilos
Apr 11, 2012 1:32 PM
15The only reason I wanted to sleep in Moab was to give me a head start on the next day trip. It's a 3-hour drive, that means 3 hours less to drive on the next day, which is already quite full.
Are you suggesting that I drive Santa Fe to Moab without stopping at Mesa Verde and then sleep a night somewhere between Moab and Zion?
Apr 11, 2012 3:35 PM
Apr 11, 2012 4:05 PM
17No, I'm suggesting that you not detour all the way north to Moab at all - keep the trip "as is" with Mesa Verde, but proceed more directly in the direction of Zion. You can go direct from Cortez westward through Canyon of the Ancients National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument, then jog south just a little to Bluff and continue down to the 261, which will take you (after a few more turns) to Hite, Hanksville and on to Capitol Reef NP - check out a map to see what I mean. This is a classic drive among classic drives, particulaly the section on 261 known as the Mokee Dugway. There is good camping near Bluff at Sand Island campground, and wonderful at-large camping in Valley of the Gods. This will be a little faster and much more interesting than detouring north through Moab.
Apr 11, 2012 4:37 PM
18oh, I see what you mean, but it doesn't change much in terms of distance. I would still have to leave Mesa Verde the night before to put a bit of driving behind and sleep in Bluff. And the ride from Bluff to Capitol Reef is 4 hours according to Google Maps, while from Moab is 3 hours. So I don't really see how this is faster. Unless the ride through Bluff is much prettier than the ride from Moab.
Apr 11, 2012 4:55 PM
Apr 11, 2012 8:17 PM
20Yeah, I was a little off about the drive time, I thought it might be a bit faster to take the scenic southerly route, turns out it is just a bit slower (about an hour), at least according to Google maps. if you take the faster road on 160 through Aneth and Montezuma Creek, the drive time to Capitol Reef is about the same as going through Moab. This isn't quite as pleasant as going through Hovenweep, but is about an hour faster - and this part of the drive isn't the main attraction anyway.
If you had time for stops at Arches or Canyonlands, I'd probably suggest the route through Moab - but since you don't, taking the Mokee Dugway on 261 west of Bluff is a no-brainer. This is truly awesome, and not to be missed. A quick stop at Goosenecks State Park is also a necessity - an especially memorable view in a place where memorable views around every corner.
Apr 12, 2012 6:11 AM
Apr 13, 2012 8:24 PM
22There is a lot to see in New Mexico, I would spend more days there. Lots of interesting landscapes in driving distance of ABQ and Santa Fe, and plenty of hiking.
Also, for future trip reference, while Big Bend is in Texas, it is in the middle of nowhere (8 hours of driving) and thus counts as a destination in and of itself. Plus you could combine it with Marfa and call it a proper vacation.
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