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Old 05-31-2020, 03:10 PM   #1
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Grants to Silver City, New Mexico

If everything doesn't get shut down again, we'll finally make our long overdue trip to New Mexico for the month of October. Plan to spend a few nights in Grants to go to El Malpais and explore that area then head down to Silver City. Prefer scenic over fast, unless the scenic is WAY slower. Thanks.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:23 PM   #2
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Have you been to Alamogordo, White Sands? We stopped around Datil at the VLRA(Very Large Radio Array, found very interesting).


We did mostly back roads in NM a few years ago, very lightly used.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:23 PM   #3
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Those are among the other places we intend to go. Plan to cover as much of the state as we can, even if some spots are brief. We like to get a taste then come back again for longer stays in areas we want to explore in more depth.


Anything you'd like to share would be welcome.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:29 PM   #4
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We stayed at the KOA in Grants last fall. Then visited El Malpais the next day. Wear your hiking shoes when going to El Malpais. That KOA is quite nice. They take orders for diner and bring it to your coach.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:57 PM   #5
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October would be great for this trip!

El Morro Nat'l Monument on 53 near Grants has a very nice campground.

Then to Silver City you could take 53 west to 191 south to Alpine, AZ then pick up 180 to Silver City. A nice scenic drive. For Silver City we've stayed at City of Rocks State Park - very unique.
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Old 05-31-2020, 05:12 PM   #6
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In my opinion, no question. Head south from Grants on 117 to 36 to Quemado and then 60 to Datil for some pie and east to the VLA. Then backtrack to Datil and take 12 to Apache Springs then to Reserve and 180 to Silver City.

Not lots of fuel stops in the area, but enough, just try to drive on the top half of your tank.

While in Grants go and see the El Malpais ice caves.

The VLA is a great stop. There are some FS campground in the area.

Stop in Datil, west of the VLA at the Eagle Guest Ranch restaurant. Great steaks and best home made pies. It's a third generation restaurant. One of the family members works at the gift shop at the VLA.

You'll see a wide variety of places on this route and the area is rather sparse even to New Mexico standards. Nearest neighbors maybe 10 to 20 miles apart.

About 61 miles before Silver City is Glenwood Springs, a small town. But the 1.1-mile Catwalk National Recreation Trail just east of town is a very nice hike. Google it for some pics. Nearby are the Glenwood Hot Springs, undeveloped.

Of course north of Silver City is the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Landmark and various hot springs in the area, both natural and commercial.

If you are going east from Silver City, stop by the City of Rocks NM State Park, very unique.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. Our plan, if everything is open, is to go the the open houses at the Trinity site and the VLA the first Saturday in October. Then head to northern NM to do stuff up there before the weather turns. We'll head over to the Bisti and Chaco before dropping down to Malpais. After Silver City area we'll spend a little time in Las Cruces. White Sands, and a full moon hike will either be the very first, or the very last thing we do. September & October are the busiest months for hurricanes here in the Florida Panhandle so we always try to wait, when possible, to decide when to head out.

B Bob, the KOA is where I hope to get reservations just as soon as I finalize that part of our schedule.

twogypsies, I had checked out the El Morro campground. At 31 feet we're too long. It says 27 feet max. When we thought we'd get to make this trip a couple of years ago, I had managed to book a site at City of Rocks. Doubt I'll be as lucky this time.

rarebear.nm, thank you for the clarification on the route. I was confused on what we "discussed" in our private messages and I hated to bug you again with more questions. And you've given me a great sounding place to eat. We love trying local food when we travel.
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floridafran View Post

twogypsies, I had checked out the El Morro campground. At 31 feet we're too long. It says 27 feet max. When we thought we'd get to make this trip a couple of years ago, I had managed to book a site at City of Rocks. Doubt I'll be as lucky this time.
We were there in our 40' MH in site #9. Site 4 would have worked, also. You're a bit shorter so you'd have more options.

Having volunteered in national parks I can say that their site size recommendations are usually way off.

It is a pretty campground. Give it a try & if it doesn't work then scoot over to the KOA. It's not far.

I don't know your whole route but if you're near Santa Fe, Cochiti Corp of Engineer park is a winner. It's a short drive to Kasha-Katuwe Nat'l Monument - very unique. We also toured Santa Fe from Cochiti and used the public transportation - a very easy way to tour that city as parking isn't great.

Also in the area is Bandelier Nat'l Monument.
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Old 07-12-2020, 04:19 PM   #9
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twogypsies,
Thank you for your last post. I apologize for being so long getting back to say that. Life interfered - fortunately nothing serious - just time consuming. Still hoping we get to make this trip in October.
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Old 07-13-2020, 08:18 AM   #10
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@FloridaFran, you have received some great advice.

Just in case, here are two roads around Silver City to NOT go on with your full rig, but of course would be great for seeing the sights:

NM State Route 15 North of Silver to Pinos Altos and beyond. Gila cliff dwellings and some cool lakes (Lake Roberts) to explore, but not in a Motor Home once past Pinos Altos.

NM State Hwy 152 between I-25 and Silver. Looks good on paper, but the area near the pass West of Hillsboro is just a bit too curvy for a big rig (IMO, but it can be done). Again, a scenic drive, and fine in a passenger vehicle if you aren't prone to car sickness. Regardless, it is not the short cut it appears to be.
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Old 07-13-2020, 08:43 AM   #11
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+1 for the catwalks.
Near white sands is Oliver Lee State Park that has a very spread out camp ground

Three rivers Petroglyph state park is a good hike.

Gran Quivera is in the area.

Valley of fire state park and campground has a nice hike and is good staging for Trinity site.
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Old 07-13-2020, 08:48 AM   #12
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As for scenic options, Jack is right on. A few more ideas:

1. NM15 north from Silver City to Gila Cliff Dwellings, and/or right on NM35 to Lake Roberts and east to NM152 to Hillsboro. The drive over Emory Pass is very pretty and typically high enough to be much cooler than other areas. A very pretty drive. You also go south on NM 61 to the Faywood Hot springs is of interest and back around to Silver City on US 180.

2.From Silver City north on US 180 to Alma then east on 159 to Mogollon. A old mining ghost town that has come back to life mostly as an art center. You can continue east to Snow Lake in the heart of the Gila country. This drive provides examples of mature ponderosa pine forest. Chance to see lots of elk along this route. If desired 159 can take back to I-25 and/or US 180 by several options. Be aware this is a long all day drive and take lots of fuel. Very few places to refuel anywhere along this route.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:33 PM   #13
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Jack Klompus, Ndrorder, and rarebear.nm,

Thank you for your posts. We're still hoping we'll get to do this trip, but if not this October, then next year. I'm keeping everyone's advice and suggestions in a work doc so I can easily find it, whenever we get to go.
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