Breaks every hour.Lunch: Lunch at the hotel from 12:15-1:15 PMAfternoon: Bus departs at 1:15 for the Sandia Aerial Tram (2:00 pm visit scheduled) where you'll ascend to the top of Sandia Peak and will be able to see for miles and miles.
Your view will show you the incredibly diverse variety of geology in the immediate area.
When you board the tram, you'll ascend 4,000 feet in about 15 minutes, gliding along the western face of the rugged granite-faced Sandia Mountains, eroded into spires, cliffs and pinnacles.
The hardy pines, fir and spruce growing there are home to many different birds and other animals. Tram riders may see an eagle, a mule deer or perhaps a black bear as they look out the glass walls of the cable car into the deep canyons.
From the top, you can see 11,000 square miles of the Land of Enchantment. To the west is a volcano field, to the north are other volcanic necks and plugs, to the northwest, Redondo Peak in the Jemez Mountains rises from a caldera known as Valle Grande, a volcanic crater reported to be the largest in the world. To the east lies the heavily wooded back side of the Sandias, and on the far horizon, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the capital city of Santa Fe. Farther to the south, the Estancia Valley and the Manzano Mountains frame the view.
The summit is 10,378 feet in elevation and will give you an overview of an incredible amount of geology.
Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant from 5:30-7:00 PMEvening: Free eveningLodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Petroglyph National Monument protects a variety of cultural and natural resources, including volcanos, archeological sites and an estimated 20,000 carved images. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses, others are more complex. These images are inseparable from the cultural landscape, the spirits of the people who created, and who appreciate them.
Afterwards, bus continues to Valley of Fires Recreation Area with a stop in Socorro, NM to pick up boxed lunches at El Camino Restaurant between 9:30 and 10:00 AM.
Valley of Fires Recreation Area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow.
Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles.
The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.
From a distance, Valley of Fires appears as barren rock, but when you walk through the nature trail there are many varieties of flowers, cactus, trees and bushes typical of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Animals living there include bats, roadrunners, quail, cottontails, mule deer, barberry sheep, and lizards.
It's also a virtual birdwatcher's paradise with great horned owls, burrowing owls, buzzards, hawks, and gnat catchers.
Lunch: Boxed lunches at Valley of FiresAfternoon: Bus travels from Valley of Fires to Alamogordo, New Mexico with several site visits in between. Bus will depart around 2:30 PM for Alamogordo. Check in at Best Western Desert Aire Hotel in Alamogordo.Dinner: Bus departs at 5:15 PM to take you to dinner at Memories Restaurant from 5:30-7:00 PMEvening: Optional video about White Sands National MonumentLodging: Best Western Desert Aire HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
At 9:15 AM, you'll arrive at White Sands National Monument to explore the area. Lying at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert is a mountain-ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is White Sands, one of the world's great natural wonders. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The brilliant white dunes are ever-changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by the moving dunes. Several types of small animals have evolved with a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand.Lunch: Boxed lunches at the monumentAfternoon: Board the bus at 12:30 PM and travel on to Carlsbad. The bus will make several stops, and your study guide will point out various geological features of the landscape. Check in at the Best Western Stevens Inn around 4:15 PM.Dinner: Dinner at at local restaurant, followed by a Geology lecture at the hotelLodging: Best Western Stevens InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The Caverns, as well as numerous other caves, exist within a Permian-age fossil reef. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures in the park, and today, the caverns, with their incredible formations of limestone, are highly accessible to tourists. Participants will walk through the Caverns with a Park Ranger.Lunch: Lunch in the Carlsbad Caverns cafeteriaAfternoon: Continue Caverns visit after lunch. Bus returns to the hotel at 3:30 PM.Dinner: Dinner at Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-QEvening: Free eveningLodging: Best Western Stevens InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Be prepared to have your luggage at the bus no later than 8:15 AM for an 8:30 AM departure.Morning: After breakfast and hotel check-out, bus departs for Albuquerque at 8:30 AM.
With several stops on the way, you'll travel through Roswell and visit the Roswell Museum and Art Center from 10:00 until 11:30 AM.
At 11:30, bus travels to lunch destination.Lunch: Lunch from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM at Roswell's Golden CorralAfternoon: Bus continues on to Albuquerque at 12:45 PM. Total travel time is approximately 4 hours.
There will be videos shown on the bus. Arrive at MCM Elegante Hotel at approximately 5:00 PM for check-in.Dinner: Dinner and program closing from 6:00-7:30 PM at the hotelLodging: MCM EleganteMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel provides free shuttle service to Albuquerque Sunport and Amtrak Station with advance reservations.Meals Included: Breakfast