Road Scholar : Home
New Mexico’s National Parks and Monuments: Epic Discoveries and a Journey to Remember

Program Number: 21398RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/2/2014 - 9/16/2014;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Price starting at: $2,449.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks
Meals: 40; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

An 11,000-foot elevation change between New Mexico’s highest and lowest points creates an incredible array of natural environments across six major ecological regions. Experience this remarkable diversity with a landscape photographer, geologist, botanist, biologist and other experts as you pass through deserts, grasslands and woodlands — from national parks to national monuments — to learn about the variety of life that has adapted to these distinct environments.


• In the pueblos of Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area, explore the history and lives of ancestral Native Americans.
• Journey to the Very Large Array to learn how scientists study the universe using 27 280-ton radio antennas.
• Make fun and informative stops at off-beat New Mexico destinations like the UFO Museum in Roswell, the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House, and many more.

Activity Particulars

Walking five miles daily over varied terrain. Optional hike of nine miles. Full days of walking, standing. Elevations up to 7,500 feet.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Albuquerque, 2 nights; coach to Farmington, 2 nights; coach to Santa Fe, 2 nights; coach to Taos, 1 night; Las Vegas, 1 night; coach to Ruidoso, 1 night; coach to Artesia, 2 nights; coach to Silver City, 2 nights; coach to Albuquerque, 1 night; departure.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


New Mexico's vast history, diversity, creativity, cuisine, beauty and art unite in this vibrant city, founded as a Spanish colonial outpost in 1706 and built in a traditional Spanish village configuration in which civic buildings surround a central plaza. “Old Town” is just one of New Mexico’s largest city’s many gems.

Comfortable, centrally located hotels, many with pools.
Meals and Lodgings
   MCM Elegante Hotel
  Albuquerque 2 nights
   Hampton Inn & Suites Farmington
  Farmington, New Mexico 2 nights
   The Lodge at Santa Fe
  Santa Fe, New Mexico 2 nights
   Sagebrush Inn & Suites
  Taos, N.M. 1 night
   The Plaza Hotel
  Las Vegas, NM 1 night
   Comfort Inn Midtown
  Ruidoso 1 night
   Best Western Pecos Inn
  Artesia, New Mexico 2 nights
   Holiday Inn Express Hotel
  Silver City, New Mexico 2 nights
   MCM Elegante Hotel
  Albuquerque 1 night
 MCM Elegante Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Large hotel with mid-town location and free parking.
  Contact info: 2020 Menaul NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107 USA
phone: 505-884-2511
  Room amenities: Data ports, irons, ironing boards, hairdryers, refrigerators upon request.
  Facility amenities: Heated pool, spa and exercise room, restaurant and lounge on premises.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: best seasonal rate Arrange for pre and post hotel nights directly with hotel at (505) 884-2511.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 Hampton Inn & Suites Farmington
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located in the center of Farmington, the hotel offers easy access to most major area attractions such as Anasazi Heritage Center, Aztec Ruins National Monument. Hotel has a saltwater swimming pool.
  Contact info: 1500 Bloomfield Boulevard
Farmington, NM 87401 USA
phone: 505-564-1300
  Room amenities: iPod docking stations, LCD televisions, pillowtop beds, cotton sheets and down comforters, free wired and wireless Internet access, 32-inch HD TVs with digital programming. Bathrooms have showers and hair dryers.
  Facility amenities: 24-hour business center and front desk, Braille or raised signage, business services, complimentary newspapers in lobby, computer station, dry cleaning/laundry service, elevator/lift, fitness facilities, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, luggage storage, safe deposit box at front desk, smoke-free property, spa tub, indoor swimming pool,
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Lodge at Santa Fe
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: This full-service hotel is one and one-quarter mile from the historic downtown Plaza and within an easy walk of a large mall with drugstore and grocery store. There is a shuttle that travels back and forth to the downtown area from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. The hotel sits on a hill overlooking Santa Fe with great views and many amenities and it is a non-smoking facility. It features Santa Fe-style decor and furnishings, and the staff is friendly and very accommodating.
  Contact info: 750 N. St. Francis Drive
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA
phone: 888-740-3291
  Room amenities: Rooms are furnished and decorated with comfortable Southwest-style. Amenities include premium television channels, climate control, air conditioning, voice mail, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer, iron/ironing board, daily housekeeping, clock radios and more.
  Facility amenities: Non-smoking hotel, elevator, chapel/shrine, business center, fitness center/spa, outdoor seasonal swimming pool and hot tub, restaurant on premises, bar, garden, massage services, free Internet, 24-hour front desk, free parking.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sagebrush Inn & Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located just on the outskirts of downtown Taos, the historic Plaza is just a few miles away. Associated with the Sagebrush Inn and Conference Center, the facility has pretty grounds and landscaping around it and lots of areas to explore.
  Contact info: 1500 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
Taos, NM 87571 USA
phone: 575-751-1555
  Room amenities: Irons and ironing boards, cable/satellite TV, free high-speed Internet, free local calls, in-room air conditioning, in-room coffee maker, microwave, refrigerators
  Facility amenities: Hotel offers banquet and meeting rooms, a convention center, use of the copy machine, interior corridors, outdoor heated pool, outdoor whirlpool/hot tub, free newspapers Monday-Friday, outdoor parking, a restaurant, and wireless Internet service. The hotel is 100% smoke-free.
  Smoking allowed: No

 The Plaza Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Plaza Hotel, in Las Vegas, NM, was built in 1882, and presided regally over the Old Town Plaza. Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders held their first reunion at the hotel in 1899. In 1882, it had 54 rooms, but in 1982, when it was renovated, the number of rooms was reduced to 37 to add private baths and generous dressing rooms. After the railroad first reached Las Vegas in 1879, merchants rich from the Santa Fe Trail trade pooled $1,000 each to build this hotel. Because of its hospitality and beauty, the hotel today is just as ready to serve you a good meal or let you sleep in a comfortable bed as it was in 1882. The best thing about the hotel is its resident ghost, that of Byron T. Mills!
  Contact info: 230 Plaza
Las Vegas, NM 87701 USA
phone: 505-425-3591 xor18003281882
  Room amenities: in-room coffee and tea, cable TV including HBO, ESPN and MTV, free local calls
  Facility amenities: Restaurant on premises, Western-style saloon, wireless internet, meeting facility, free off-street parking
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Comfort Inn Midtown
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel is located just a few miles from the Eagle Creek Sports Complex, the Ruidoso Convention Center, Ski Apache, Ruidoso Downs Race track and Billy the Kid Casino. Hotel is located in the heart of Ruidoso's midtown shopping district. Guests can walk to shops, restaurants and galleries. Free newspaper Monday-Friday
  Contact info: 2709 Sudderth Drive
Ruidoso, NM 88345 USA
phone: 575-257-2770
  Room amenities: Cable/satellite TV/flat screen/plasma TV, free local calls, free newspaper Monday - Friday, Free wireless high speed Internet access, hair dryer, in-room coffee maker, in-room desk, in-room safe, individual AC and Heat; iron and ironing board, microwave, pay-per-view movies, refrigerator, wake-up service
  Facility amenities: Business center, exercise room, fitness center, free Hi-Speed Internet, Guest-use copy machine, Guest-use fax machine, guest laundry, indoor heated pool, indoor whirlpool/hot tub, interior corridors, spa
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Pecos Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel offers convenient access to many outdoor activities and is near Navajo Refinery, the National Law Enforcement Training Center, the Artesia Historical Museum and Heritage Plaza
  Contact info: 2209 W. Main Street
Artesia, NM 88210 USA
phone: 575-748-3324
  Room amenities: Cable satellite television with HBO, Am/FM alarm clock, coffee/tea maker, refrigerator, iron and ironing board, dataports, free local calls, free long distance access, toiletries and shampoo, bottled water, room service, mini-bar/wetbar.
  Facility amenities: Hotel has an indoor heated pool, a hot tub and Jacuzzi, steam room sauna, laundry facility for guests, cocktail lounge, photocopy and fax service, free high-speed Internet in rooms
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: 100% smoke-free interior, near Arts and culture District, Gila Regional Medical Center, Western New Mexico University
  Contact info: 1103 Superior Street
Silver City, NM 88061 USA
phone: 575-538-2525
  Room amenities: Complimentary high-speed and wireless Internet, cable HD TV, coffee maker, hairdryer, individually controlled air conditioning, iron/ironing board, two phones with voice mail, work desk and ergonomic chair, refrigerators available upon request - may be extra charge
  Facility amenities: Complimentary high-speed and wireless Internet access throughout hotel, coffee service in lobby 24 hours, fax and copy service, business center, fitness center, indoor spa/whirlpool.
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in anytime after 3:00 PM; registration with group leader from 4:00 - 5:30 PM You will be staying at MCM Elegante Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
after breakfast final day - check out time is no later than 12:00 PM You will be staying at MCM Elegante Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Please bring your Golden Eagle/Golden Age National Park pass if you have one! Thank you.
  Parking availability:
No charge for parking at the hotel in Albuquerque. You may leave your car here during the program, but it will be at your own risk, as hotel cannot assume responsibility for it.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Albuquerque
  Nearest highway: I-25 and I-40
  Nearest airport:  Albuquerque International Sunport
  From End of Program
  Location: Albuquerque
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511


Per Person/One Way:


hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




5 miles


After picking up your luggage, call the hotel at 884-2511 from the courtesy phones in the baggage claim area.




To Airport




Hotel Shuttle
MCM Elegante Hotel Shuttle
phone: 505-884-2511


Per Person/One Way:


hotel shuttle is free
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




5 miles


It is a good idea to let the hotel's front desk staff know the evening before your departure that you'll need a shuttle to the airport. They can let you know what time the shuttle will depart in order for you to catch your flight.

Driving Directions
  From Interstate 25 Interstate 25 runs north and south through the middle of Albuquerque, where it crosses Interstate 40. From the north, take Exit 227 (Comanche, Candelaria, Menaul). Drive south along the frontage road until you reach Menaul (the third major intersection). Turn left on Menaul. Just after the first major intersection, with University Blvd., you'll see the hotel on the right. From the south, take Exit 225 (Lomas). Continue driving north along the frontage road until you reach Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and, just after the first major intersection (University), you'll see the hotel on the right.
  From Interstate 40 Interstate 40 runs east and west through the middle of Albuquerque. Near the center of town, it crosses Interstate 25. From the east, take Exit 159-D (University Blvd.) to the first light, which is Menaul. Turn right on Menaul and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection. From the west, take Exit 159-A (University Blvd.). Continue east along the frontage road until you reach University; turn left on University. Take a right at the second light, on Menaul, and you'll see the hotel on the right, just past the intersection.
Elevation Note: Elevations on this trip range from 3,000 ft to 8,000 feet above sea level

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Hotel Check-In; Orientation; Introductions
(Tuesday, September 2)
 Afternoon: Check in at hotel anytime after 3:00 PM. Register with Road Scholar group leader at designated location between 4:00 and 5:30 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining area from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening: Gather in hotel meeting room at 7:00 PM for program orientation with your group leader and introductions
Accommodations: MCM Elegante Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Field Trips to: Petroglyphs National Monument and Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
(Wednesday, September 3)

Note: Walking up to four miles over the course of the day over paved and uneven packed dirt trails; some elevation increases

 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area from 7:00 - 8:00 AM - served buffet-style with many choices
 Morning: From 8:00 - 8:30 AM, you'll have a class giving you some information about the sites you'll visit today.

At 8:30 AM, bus will depart for visit at Petroglyph National Monument. You'll have information presented both on the bus and at the Petroglyphs.

Archaeological sites, ancient volcanoes and around 24,000 rock engravings are the highlights of this Monument, occupying several locations on the volcanic mesa northwest of Albuquerque. the main site is Rinconada Canyon, where a 2.2 mile loop trail passes several hundred petroglyphs; other significant locations are a few miles north at Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas Canyon.

Bus will depart around 10:30 AM for Salinas Missions, arriving there about 12:30 PM.

 Lunch: Eat your boxed lunches, either on the bus or at a selected area at Salinas Missions.
 Afternoon: From 12:30 - 3:30 PM, we'll explore Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The little-visited Salinas Missions preserves the ruins of three 17th century Spanish missions in the grasslands of central new Mexico, near the small town of Mountainair. Gran Quivira is the most remote but also the best known, containing the remains of two churches and a sizable, partly reconstructed Indian pueblo. The other two sites (Abo and Quarai) are both centered on a large church built of red sandstone, plus other buildings and unexcavated pueblo ruins.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening: Optional video or evening at your leisure
Accommodations: MCM Elegante Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: El Malpais National Monument; El Morro National Monument; Shiprock
(Thursday, September 4)

Note: Walking over rocky unpaved footpaths and trails up to three miles over course of the day; limited access to lava fields (walking into them requires sure-footedness!)

 Breakfast: Breakfast and hotel check-out between 7:00 - 8:00 AM
 Morning: Have luggage to bus by 8:00 AM and be ready to depart by 8:15 AM. We'll drive 90 miles to El Malpais, arriving at approximately 9:45 AM and will stop at the Visitors' Center first.

El Malpais has the most extensive lava fields in New Mexico. Located in the northwest part of the state, the fields cover an area of 60 by 35 miles. The best views are from NM 117, which follows the edge of the lava flow, passing a few named overlooks and trailheads, plus La Ventana Natural Arch, the largest such feature in New Mexico. The monument is quiet and relatively undeveloped; there are no paved footpaths and only limited access to the lava fields.

At 10:30 AM, bus will depart for El Morro National Monument.

During this part of the program, you'll find yourself in the Great Basin Grassland ecoregion.

 Lunch: Eat boxed lunches at El Morro from 11:30 - 12:30 PM.
 Afternoon: At approximately 1:00 PM, bus will depart for Gallup, NM. Gallup is in the Pinon-Juniper Woodlands Ecoregion, but you'll soon be into the Great Basin Desert ecoregion up around Shiprock. After a quick stop in Gallup, you'll travel on to Shiprock.

Shiprock (Navajo "rock with wings" or "winged rock" is a monadnock rising nearly 1,583 feet above the high-desert plain on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico. It has a peak elevation of 7,177 feet above sea level. It lies about 10.75 miles southwest of the town of Shiprock, which is named for the peak. Governed by the Navajo Nation, the formation is in the Four Corners region and plays a significant role in Navajo religion, mythology and tradition. It is located in the center of the Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloan civilization, a prehistoric Native American culture of the Southwest United States often referred to as the Anasazi. Shiprock is a point of interest for rock climbers and photographers and has been featured in several film productions and novels. It is the most prominent landmark in northwestern New Mexico.

You'll have a photo op while at Shiprock. At 4:30 PM, bus will continue on to Farmington, where you'll check into the hotel about 5:00 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner at selected location from 6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening: Evening at your leisure
Accommodations: Hampton Inn & Suites Farmington
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Bisti Badlands; Aztec Ruins National Monument; Salmon Ruins
(Friday, September 5)

Note: Walking up to three miles over course of the day over sandy, packed dirt and/or rocky terrain

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM
 Morning: Bus departs for 40-mile trip to Bisti Badlands. Your study guide will provide some lecture time on the bus to prepare you for what you'll see during the day.

The badlands are marked by erosion, few plants and beautifully formed hills. Water constantly erodes the soft rock formations and winter moisture freezing during the night splits open vertical cracks and speeds erosion even more. Few plants, other than some lichen and moss, can survive here.

Ten thousand years ago, the climate was much cooler and there was more moisture. In those days, the land was covered with conifers and other trees, and the tall grasses that grew there attracted mammoths, horses, camels, ground sloths, giant armadillos, saber-toothed cats and bears. All disappeared as the climate warmed and dried out.

You'll see a vast expanse of low mountains and rock formations where short trails lead out to get a closer look at hoodoos, balanced rocks, and small canyons carved by wind and water. The area has no facilities, so we won't stay too long.

At approximately 10:00 AM, we'll depart for Aztec, arriving about 11:30 AM.

 Lunch: We'll have lunch in Aztec between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM at a selected restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll depart for Aztec Ruins National Monument.

Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar.

Anasazi settlements in North America started during the middle 9th century and ran until around 1300. The Anasazi are believed to have moved to the Aztec site from Chaco Canyon, beginning around 1060-1080 and culminating by 1110-1120, the last period of construction at Aztec. The 1060-1080 period was spent at a site we now call Salmon Ruins, located on the San Juan River. The big San Juan solved most of the water problems experienced at Chaco, often too much so. It overflowed its banks often, ruining the lush farmlands where the Anasazi grew their crops, forcing them to look again for a new home, hence the move to Aztec, which lies on the much smaller Animas River. They left Aztec, bound for Mesa Verde's cliffs around 1130, and from 1150-1220, build the great cliff houses that occupy many of the alcoves in the Mesa Verde region. By 1300 the Anasazi have left Mesa Verde, exploding south, east and west to form the basis of the pueblo system as we know it today.

These relocations occurred due to drought or loss of nearby fertile land. Abandoned, their settlements slowly were covered by sand and remained untouched until the mid-1800s. These ruins would not receive official protection until 1923 when the national monument was established.

If time allows, we'll travel a few miles to see the Salmon Ruins. This site is an ancient Chacoan and Pueblo village. Salmon was constructed by migrants from Chaco Canyon around 1090 CE, with 275 to 300 original rooms spread across three stories, an elevated tower kiva in its central portion, and a great kiva in its plaza.

 Dinner: Bus will return to Farmington for the night; you'll have time to relax a bit before our 6:00 PM dinner.
 Evening: From 7:00 -8:00 PM, there will be a lecture about Chaco Canyon in a hotel meeting room.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn & Suites Farmington
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Chaco Culture National Historic Park
(Saturday, September 6)

Note: Walking four to nine miles and climbing up some fairly steep inclines over rocks and packed dirt terrain (if desired) during course of the day. (If time allows, you may do most of the nine-mile loop in Chaco.)

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Hotel check-out; board bus by 7:30 AM.
 Morning: Bus departs for Chaco Canyon (2-hour drive time) at 7:30 AM. Your study guide will provide some lecture time on the bus to prepare you for the day.

Please note that coaches cannot drive into Chaco due to the dirt roads, so a school bus will meet us in Nageezi to transport us. On arrival, see the Chaco Visitor Center.

Chaco is the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the largest collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States' most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes which remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring vast astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.

Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.

The Chacoans built their complexes along a 9 mile canyon floor, with walls being aligned cardinally or with the 18.6-year cycle of moonrise and moonset. There are nine Great Houses positioned along the north side; other Great Houses are found on mesa tops or in washes and drainage areas. Located along the central portion of the canyon are the largest complexes, including Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo del Arroyo, Casa Rinconada, Kin Kletso and Pueblo Alto.

Chaco Canyon is also located in the Great Basin Desert ecoregion.

 Lunch: Eat boxed lunches around noon at Chaco Canyon.
 Afternoon: Continue visit at Chaco Canyon until 3:30 PM. Bus departs at 3:30 PM to travel to Santa Fe for the night.
 Dinner: We'll stop for dinner in Cuba, NM, about two hours outside Santa Fe. El Bruno's Restaurante.

Cuba has a rich, multi-cultural history. It was the home of Anasazi and Gallina Indian cultures. There is today a large Navajo population living to the west, Apaches to the north, and Zia and Jemez Pueblo Indians to the south. The history of Cuba is closely tied to the land. Sheep, goats and cattle are raised here. Gold, silver, copper, coal and fertilizer have been mined in the area. Wheat, hay, fruits and pinon are harvested. Cuba was and is today a source of goods, services, school and health care for the surrounding communities. The restaurant, in business since 1975, is a charming place with great regional cuisine. We have always been grateful it was in Cuba, as it's a good place for a break in the long drive from Chaco to Santa Fe, and it's an excellent restaurant, too.

 Evening: We'll arrive in Santa Fe at approximately 8:30 PM and check in at the hotel for the night.
Accommodations: The Lodge at Santa Fe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks; Free Afternoon; Dinner on Your Own in Santa Fe
(Sunday, September 7)

Note: Hiking up packed sand and some paved trails at Tent Rocks, approximate two mile trek round trip; moderate elevation increase. Additional walking if desired over uneven paved terrain during time on your own

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: From 8:00 - 9:00 AM, there will be a class about the geology of the area and the ecoregion, the Pinon/Juniper Woodlands.

Pick up boxed lunches and depart for Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

The cone-shaped "tent rock" formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet. As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the cliff face.

Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles. The complex landscape and spectacular geologic scenery of the national monument has been a focal point for visitors for centuries.

The national monument includes a national recreational trail. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation and plant identification.The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long, rated as easy. The more difficult Canyon Trail is a 1.5-mile, one-way trek into a narrow canyon with a steep (630-ft) climb to the mesa top for excellent views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.

 Lunch: We'll have a box lunch while at Tent Rocks.
 Afternoon: After lunch, bus will return to the hotel in Santa Fe, arriving at about 1:30 PM. Your afternoon and evening are at your leisure to enjoy Santa Fe or rest at the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight. If you'd like some restaurant suggestions, your group leader can provide you with some favorites.
Accommodations: The Lodge at Santa Fe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Bandelier National Monument; Chimayó; Taos
(Monday, September 8)

Note: Walking, hiking, climbing ladders and some fairly steep inclines up to two miles over course of the day. Some paved, some unpaved and irregular trails.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM
 Morning: Check out of hotel no later than 8:00 AM; have luggage at bus and be ready to depart by 8:15 AM. Bus arrives at Bandelier National Monument at approximately 9:15 AM. You'll go to the Visitor Center, then begin your exploration of the site. Most visitors begin their exploration of Bandelier with a walk on the Main Loop Trail. This short 1.2 mile loop trail starts from the Visitor Center and leads through excavated archaeological sites on the floor of Frijoles Canyon. Other trails in this area include the 3-mile round-trip Falls Trail to the beautiful Upper Falls and various trails of different lengths and difficulty leading up to the mesa tops.

The Tsankawi section of Bandelier National Monument is 12 miles from the main section of the park. At Tsankawi, you can take a 1.5 mile walk along a mesa, viewing cavates, petroglyphs and the Ancestral Pueblo village of Tsankawi. Climbing ladders is a required activity at this site.

Bus departs at about noon for the village of Chimayó.

 Lunch: Lunch at the charming and very popular restaurant, Rancho de Chimayó
 Afternoon: After lunch, you'll have about an hour to see some of the little town of Chimayó, including a weaving center and the 'Lourdes of North America," El Santuario de Chimayó, famed for the reputed powers of the "healing earth" found inside.

Bus will depart for Taos via the High Road at 3:00 PM. You'll pass through the little town of Truchas, where much of the movie, "The Milagro Beanfield War" was filmed. There will be some stops for photos - it's a beautiful drive through Pinon-Juniper Ecoregion. You'll arrive in Taos and check in at the hotel around 4:30 PM.

 Dinner: Dinner in selected restaurant in Taos from 6:00 - 7:30 PM. Return to the hotel after dinner to relax and rest a bit.
Accommodations: Sagebrush Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Taos Pueblo; Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway; Lunch at St. James Hotel in Cimarron; Las Vegas, NM
(Tuesday, September 9)

Note: Walking over packed dirt terrain, level ground today; this is a fairly relaxed day with walking distances approximately two miles during day

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM. Check out of hotel and board bus by 8:30 AM.
 Morning: Bus departs at 8:30 AM for a visit to Taos Pueblo (if it's open - it closes abruptly from time to time for funerals, religious ceremonies, etc.). You'll have a guided visit with one of the Pueblo's residents.

Taos Pueblo today stands as the largest surviving multi-storied Pueblo structure in the United States. The crystal clear waters of the Rio Pueblo, which originate high in the mountains at sacred Blue Lake, still serves as the primary source for drinking and irrigation.

The artists of Taos Pueblo produce beautiful handcrafted wares using techniques passed down through generations.

In 1960, Taos Pueblo was designated a National Historic Landmark; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. In 1992, the Pueblo was admitted by the United Nations to the “World Heritage List,” due to its uniqueness and universal value to the heritage of all mankind.

At 10:00 AM, the bus departs for Cimarron, NM, via the beautiful Enchanted Circle.

This Scenic Byway has a taste of everything that's New Mexico and links the oldest continuously occupied residence in New Mexico, Taos Pueblo, with Angel Fire, which was incorporated in 1986.

This winding route takes you through some of the most beautiful areas of Northern New Mexico. View alpine valleys, wild flowers, clear blue lakes, evergreen forests, and historic western communities. The route circles the state's highest mountain, Wheeler Peak.

We'll have some stops for photo ops, stretching and just enjoying the glorious vistas.

 Lunch: Lunch at the historic St. James Hotel in Cimarron
 Afternoon: After lunch, we will depart for Las Vegas, NM, with a brief stop at Fort Union National Monument, which houses the ruins of a fort built in 1851. (The Monument closes at 4:00 PM, and we'll stay as long as we can; with luck, we'll have about an hour to visit there.)

When New Mexico became a United States territory after the Mexican-American War, the army established garrisons in towns scattered along the Rio Grande to protect the area's inhabitants and travel routes. This arrangement proved unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, and in April 1851, Lt. Col. Edwin V. Sumner, commanding Military Department No. 9 (which included New Mexico Territory), was ordered "to revise the whole system of defense" for the entire territory. Among his first acts was to break up the scattered garrisons and relocate them in posts closer to the Indians. He also moved his headquarters and supply depot from Santa Fe, "that sink of vice and extravagance," to a site near the Mountain and Cimarron branches of the Santa Fe Trail, where he established Fort Union.

Bus departs for Las Vegas, NM about 4:30 PM, arriving around 5:15 PM for hotel check-in at the historic Las Vegas Plaza Hotel.

 Dinner: Dinner from 6:00 - 7:00 PM at the Plaza Hotel
 Evening: From 7:00 - 8:30 PM, there will be a lecture in a hotel classroom about the fascinating history of Las Vegas. You'll learn about some of the very unusual things that happened here over the years.
Accommodations: The Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Pecos National Historical Park; Scenic Drive from Pecos to Ruidoso
(Wednesday, September 10)

Note: Walking 1.25 miles on paved trail at Pecos National Historic Park, some walking over uneven, unpaved and rocky terrain, walking up to one half mile over paved terrain in Ruidoso

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Hotel check out - board bus by 8:30 AM for trip to Pecos National Historical Park.

The first Pecos pueblo was one of two dozen rock-and-mud villages built in the valley around AD 1100 in the prehistoric Pueblo II Era. Within 350 years, the Pueblo IV Era Pecos village had grown to house more than 2,000 people in its five-storied complex. This sizable Pueblo community on the edge of the Plains was occupied for over 400 years. It was important in the history of the Spanish arrival in New Mexico, and the Spanish built and occupied a mission at the site for about 200 of those years.

Pecos was visited by expeditionaries with Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540. The Spanish mission church, Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos, was built there in 1619. A traditional kiva was built in front of the church during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 as a rejection of the Christian religion brought by Spanish colonists. However, when the Spanish returned in 1692, the Pecos community stayed on friendly terms with them. The site was abandoned in 1838, after the Pecos population suffered from marauding Comanches. The surviving remnant of the Pecos population moved to the Jemez Pueblo.

Another part of the park is the Forked Lightning Ranch, complete with a beautiful home designed by John Gaw Meem for Tex Austin and later occupied by Greer Garson and her husband, Buddy Fogelson. Ms. Garson took particular interest in the area, and, after the Visitors' Center was built, could be found pulling weeds in front of the entry area. She and Mr. Fogelson turned the land and ruins area over to the U.S. Government in an effort to preserve this very important part of New Mexico's history. The Pecos Pueblo site was declared a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960.

A 1.25-mile self-guiding trail begins at the nearby visitor center and winds through the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and the mission church.

 Lunch: Bus will travel from Pecos to Moriarty between 11:00 and 11:45 AM, and lunch will be at selected restaurant in Moriarty from 11:45 AM-12:45 PM.
 Afternoon: After lunch, bus will depart for Ruidoso. We'll be traveling through some really beautiful areas with interesting geological formations. We'll go from Pinon-Juniper Woodlands to Great Plains Grassland and into some Montane Forest ecoregions. There will be opportunities to stop and take in all the scenic beauty as well as some great photo ops on the way.

Time should permit, unless we decide to spend extra time walking around and looking at things on the way to Ruidoso, for you to have about an hour to spend upon arrival in Ruidoso walking about the charming downtown area. There are lots of delightful arts and crafts shops, some little sidewalk cafes where you can enjoy a coffee and some very nice art galleries. Most close at 5:00 PM, so after we see how this part of the afternoon goes, we'll board the bus and travel to the hotel for check-in.

 Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in Ruidoso from 6:30 - 8:00 PM
 Evening: Bus will return to the hotel about 8:00 PM and you can have a little time to relax after dinner.
Accommodations: Comfort Inn Midtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lincoln Historic Site; Lincoln National Forest; Roswell and its UFO Museum; Bottomless Lake State Park; Artesia
(Thursday, September 11)

Note: Walking up to three miles over the course of the day over uneven paved and unpaved (packed dirt) terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Comfort Inn Midtown from 7:00 - 8:00 AM
 Morning: At 8:30 AM, bus will depart for Lincoln, NM. Once one of the wildest of all western towns, Lincoln is considered by many historians to be the most authentic old west town remaining in the United States. The single road through town was once described as "the most dangerous street in America". Among the many Lincoln landmarks is the Murphy-Dolan store which became the Lincoln courthouse and jail. It became famous when Billy the Kid escaped in 1881, killing two deputies in the process. Legend has it that one of the bullet holes from Billy's gun still decorates the courthouse wall.

After spending some time in Lincoln, you'll get back on the bus and travel through some of the Lincoln National Forest. It covers 1,103,897 acres. It was named in honor of Abraham Lincoln and is the birthplace of Smokey Bear, the living symbol of the campaign to prevent forest fires. Forest headquarters are in Alamogordo, New Mexico. There are local ranger district offices in Carlsbad, Cloudcroft, and Ruidoso. The Lincoln National Forest borders the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation.

The bus will continue on to Roswell. Its population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. The town is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also the home of New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), founded in 1891. Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located a few miles northeast of the city on the Pecos River.

 Lunch: We'll have lunch in Roswell at a selected restaurant from about 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM.
 Afternoon: After lunch, bus will travel the short distance to Roswell's UFO Museum.

Roswell is most popularly known for having its name attached to what is now called the 1947 Roswell UFO incident, even though the crash site of the alleged UFO was some 75 miles from Roswell and closer to Corona. The investigation and debris recovery was handled by the local Roswell Army Air Field. The Museum will give you some interesting 'facts' about the event and you'll see some rather unusual things while we're there! The owners are delightful and love having people visit the Museum. There are some fun little souvenirs you might wish to take home to prove you really went to this interesting place!

At 2:30 or so, we'll depart for Artesia, visiting Bottomless Lakes State Park on the way. The park is located twelve miles east of Roswell on US 380.

The lakes are not fed by streams, and the evaporation rate of the lakes in the hot desert climate exceeds the rate at which rainwater refills them. The lakes are fed by underground water percolating through the rocks and into the lakes. The high evaporation rate produces brackish water. Seven of the lakes are protected, although in recent years the lakes have been contaminated by trash that has been thrown into the lakes by careless visitors. The ninth and southernmost lake, Dimmitt Lake, is not a part of the state park and is owned by the Fin and Feather Club, a local hunting and fishing club.

Four endangered species can be found in the park. The Pecos pupfish and the Rainwater Killifish are both endangered species of fish, and the Cricket Frog and the Eastern Barking Frog also live in the park.

We'll continue on to Artesia, arriving between 4:30 and 5:30 PM and checking into the hotel.

 Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in Artesia
Accommodations: Best Western Pecos Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Carlsbad Caverns National Park
(Friday, September 12)

Note: Walking up to four miles during course of the day over narrow, damp paved trails as you go through the Caverns without opportunities to sit for as much as an hour or so at a time.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Bus will depart at time TBA for Carlsbad Caverns, about 30 miles from Artesia. The Caverns are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

250 million years ago, the area surrounding Carlsbad Caverns served as the coastline for an inland sea. Present in the sea was a plethora of marine life, whose remains decomposed into a reef growth. Unlike modern reef growths, the Permian reef contained bryozoans, sponges, and other microorganisms. After the Permian period, most of the water evaporated exposing the reef to salts and sediment that encapsulated the reef. Tectonic movement occurred during the late Tertiary period, uplifting the reef above ground. Susceptible to erosion, water sculpted the Guadalupe Mountain region into its present-day state.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park sits in a bed of limestone above a layer of groundwater; below the groundwater are petroleum reserves (part of the Mid-Continent Oil Field). At a time near the end of the Tertiary period, hydrogen sulfide began to seep upwards from the petroleum into the water table. The combination of hydrogen sulfide and oxygen from the water formed sulfuric acid, which then continued upward, aggressively dissolving the limestone deposits to form caverns.

Erosion processes occurring above ground created the natural entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns within the last million years. Growths from the roof downward formed through this process are known as stalactites. Additionally, water on the floor of the caverns can contain carbonic acid and generate mineral deposits by evaporation. Growths from the floor upward through this process are known as stalagmites. You will see stunning formations and will, we think, be amazed that such underground beauty exists.

 Lunch: Lunch at the Carlsbad Caverns cafeteria
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
Accommodations: Best Western Pecos Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: White Sands National Monument; City of Rocks State Park; Santa Rita Open Pit Copper Mine; Silver City
(Saturday, September 13)

Note: Walking up to three miles over course of the day in sand, over uneven rocky/packed dirt terrain

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel and check-out
 Morning: Bus departs for White Sands National Monument. The White Sands National Monument is located about 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County at 4,235 feet in altitude. The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. The first exploration was led by a party of US Army officers in 1849. The Mescalero Apache were already living in the area at the time.

On January 18, 1933, President Herbert Hoover created the White Sands National Monument. It is completely surrounded by military installations (White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base) and has always had an uneasy relationship with the military.

Gypsum is rarely found in the form of sand because it is water-soluble. Normally, rain would dissolve the gypsum and carry it to the sea. The Tularosa Basin is enclosed, meaning that it has no outlet to the sea and that rain that dissolves gypsum from the surrounding San Andres and Sacramento Mountains is trapped within the basin. Thus water either sinks into the ground or forms shallow pools which subsequently dry out and leave gypsum in a crystalline form, called selenite, on the surface. Some species of plants, however, can grow fast enough to avoid being buried by the dunes.

Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not readily convert the sun's energy into heat and thus can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months. Because the park lies completely within the White Sands Missile Range, both the park and U.S. Route 70 between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Alamogordo are subject to closure for safety reasons when tests are conducted on the missile range. On average, tests occur about twice a week, for a duration of one to two hours.

 Lunch: Eat boxed lunches at White Sands National Monument
 Afternoon: At 12:30 PM, bus departs for City of Rocks State Park. The Park was established in1952 and encompasses a one- square- mile area in the scenic Chihuahuan desert region of southeastern New Mexico at the elevation of 5,200 feet. The “city” is a truly geologic monument formed by large sculptured rock columns, or pinnacles, rising as high as 40 feet and separated by paths or lanes resembling city streets. These rocks were formed about 34.9 million years ago when a very large volcano erupted. Then, erosion over millions of years slowly formed the sculptured columns seen here today.

The bus will depart for Santa Rita, NM and its open-pit copper mine. The Chino Mine is an open-pit copper mine located 15 miles east of Silver City.

The mine was started as the Chino Copper Company in 1909 and is currently owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold subsidiaries.

The area where the mine is located is at an average elevation of 5,699 feet. The huge open-pit mine was once the largest in the world, but has been surpassed by Chuquicamata, and is perhaps the oldest mining site still being used in the American southwest. The present-day open-pit mining operation was begun in 1910. It is the third oldest open pit copper mine in the world.

About 3:30 PM, bus will depart for Silver City, with a drive-thru at Fort Bayard. Fort Bayard played an integral role in protecting settlers and miners in the Los Pinos and Silver City mining districts.

Soldiers from the fort battled many of the most famous Apache war leaders, including Geronimo. The first all-African-American regular army units made up of enlisted personnel, referred to as Buffalo soldiers, were organized in 1866 in the close of the Civil War. Fort Bayard was home to hundreds of African American soldiers, who fought Apaches with distinction and who participated in the chase for Geronimo. In 1899 the post of Fort Bayard was transferred to the Army Medical Department.

Check into hotel upon arrival in Silver City.

 Dinner: Dinner at selected restaurant in Silver City
 Evening: Short lecture in hotel meeting room about the Mogollon Indians, Gila Cliff Dwellers and Mimbres Indians who lived in southwestern New Mexico. Most people don't know much about these Native Americans, but they left behind them some fascinating remnants of their lives.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Gila Cliff Dwellings; Western New Mexico University Museum (Mimbres Indian Pottery); Siver City Excursion; Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House
(Sunday, September 14)

Note: Walking over uneven terrain and bridges at Gila Cliff Dwellings; Standing at the Museum; Walking a few blocks in downtown Silver City

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM.
 Morning: Bus departs at 8:30 AM for the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, located in the Gila Wilderness within the Gila National Forest. Within a few miles of the Cliff Dwellings, elevations range from around 5,700 to 7,300 feet above sea level. In the immediate vicinity of the Cliff Dwellings, elevations range from 5,700 to about 6,000 feet. The terrain is rugged, with steep-sided canyons cut by shallow rivers and forested with ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon pine, and alligator juniper.

The monument is on a location of 553 acres. The cliff itself was created by volcanic activity and contains the ruins of interlinked cave dwellings built in five cliff alcoves by the Mogollon peoples.

People of the Mogollon culture lived in these cliff dwellings from between 1275 and 1300 AD (Pueblo III Era), which is the only location that contains Mogollon sites. Archaeologists have identified 46 rooms in the five caves, and believed they were occupied by 10 to 15 families. It is not known why the dwellings were abandoned. Hopi oral tradition does say migrations occurred due to cycles of beliefs, and in response to changing climate. People also lived in Javalina House, about 1/3 mile above the main ruin, West Fork Ruin. Three Mile Ruin and the 11-room Cosgrove Ruin.

The dwellings were a perfect place for human living. The caves provided adequate shelter, while the wooded area concealed the homes. Impressively, the wood found in these shelters has proven to be original. Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) determined that the wood used in the dwellings was cut down sometime between 1276 to 1287. The nearby area also provided for growing and finding food.

Visiting the Dwellings up close requires hiking a well-traveled, one mile trail loop with several foot bridges over a stream. The entire walk takes about an hour. The hike begins at an elevation of 5,695 feet and ends at 5,875 feet. Bus returns to Silver City at 12:30 PM.

 Lunch: Depending on timing for this field trip, we'll either take sack lunches along for a picnic, or return to Silver City for lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch from approximately 2:00 - 3:30 PM, we'll take you to the Western New Mexico University Museum. Exhibitions feature the largest, most comprehensive permanent exhibition of prehistoric Mimbres Mogollon pottery and artifacts in the world, and include separate displays of basketry, footwear, cordage, stone tools, and stone and shell jewelry. Prehistoric pottery and artifacts of the Upland Mogollon, Casas Grandes, Salado, and Anasazi are also exhibited.

After the Museum visit, we'll do a short driving exploration of Silver City. Situated in the foothills of the spectacular Pinos Altos Mountains, Silver City lies just east of the Continental Divide, in southwestern New Mexico. Norman Ford, in his recent book, "50 Healthiest Places to Live and Retire," gave the historic community a high rating, primarily due to climate, elevation, terrain and "lack of urban stress."

Silver City lies at the center of an outdoor recreation paradise. It is a gateway to the three-million-three-hundred-thousand-acre Gila National Forest. The forest includes the Gila Wilderness, the first land in the world to be set aside specifically as a wilderness area and, today, the largest wilderness in the Southwest.

Silver City’s quiet, tree-lined streets, with their mellow adobe and stately Victorian homes from a bygone age, are but a short walk away from the busy downtown center with its modern shopping. Mining, ranching, tourism and the one-hundred-and-seven- year-old Western New Mexico University are the major contributors to a thriving economy.

We will give you a little time to walk a few blocks in the downtown area - there are art galleries, charming shops, and some fascinating old buildings to photograph; we think you'll like this charming little city. Bus will take you back to the hotel around 5:00 PM to relax for a bit and get ready for dinner.

 Dinner: Bus will depart at 6:30 PM for dinner at the historic Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House in Pinos Altos, NM.

The Buckhorn Saloon has long been known for its warm atmosphere and diverse clientele. The bar on the mountain sits at 7000’ feet. Since it first opened in the 1860’s the Buckhorn has been a gathering place for great food, music and camaraderie. Whether it’s strangers sharing tables, standing on the front porch to watch the sunset, or basking in the warmth of the fire in the winter, locals, world travelers and people from all walks of life feel at home in this historic bar.

The Opera House steps back into the charm of a different era. Musicians from all over love to play here because of our great audiences and intimate venue.

The Buckhorn Saloon started the first open mic evenings in the area and it has become a community staple. Traveling musicians as well as our beloved locals come to play & share their music on one of our most popular nights! If you have something to share, you couldn’t ask for a more appreciate crowd! The Buckhorn Saloon has music 4 nights a week, sometimes more if they get a traveling musician that needs a place to showcase his talents.

After a year-long renovation, the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House reopened under new proprietorship in May 2010.The Buckhorn continues to serve delicious steakhouse-style meals, and Chef Thomas Bock has added some great new "house specialties" to the menu.

The Buckhorn has three dining areas to choose from and radiates a warm, elegant, and very comfortable old world charm.

The bus will return to the hotel after dinner.

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Very Large Array; Albuquerque
(Monday, September 15)

Note: Walking up to one mile over the course of the day over packed dirt terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel from 7:00 - 8:00 AM. Hotel check-out no later than 8:15 AM.
 Morning: Bus will depart Silver City at approximately 8:15 AM via the very scenic route through the Gila National Forest, including the little towns of Cliff, Reserve, and swinging into Arizona just briefly, going through the lovely town of Alpine and along a national scenic byway in the Apache National Forest. We'll come back into New Mexico on Highway 60, and as soon as we get there, we'll stop in Pie Town for a treat.
 Lunch: We want this day to be a pleasant, relaxing one with some stops to observe the great scenic beauty, photo ops, and leg stretching. We'll have a couple of places in mind for a lunch stop, and we'll do that at a selected restaurant.
 Afternoon: We'll continue on into the Cibola National Forest, travel briefly through the Plains of San Augustin to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (The Very Large Array) where we'll stop and have a brief tour of this absolutely fascinating facility.

After this stop, we'll continue on through Magdalena, some more of the Cibola National Forest, and enter onto I-25 at the town of Socorro.

The bus will travel the last 70 miles or so into Albuquerque, arriving at approximately 5:30 PM. We'll check into the hotel and give you a little time to rest before dinner.

 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:30 - 7:30 PM
 Evening: Program closing at 7:30 PM in hotel meeting room. We hope you'll share some of your favorite experiences with the rest of the group.
Accommodations: MCM Elegante Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Breakfast and Departure
(Tuesday, September 16)
 Depart From: Depart from Albuquerque; hotel check-out is no later than 12:00 PM.
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining area between 7:00 - 9:00 AM
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Anasazi: Ancient People of the Rock

Author: Muench, David and Pike, Donald G.

Archeoastronomy in the Americas

Author: Williamson, Ray A.

Bless Me, Ultima

Author: Anaya, Rudolfo

Chaco Canyon: Archeology and Archeologists

Author: Lister, Robert and Lister, Florence

Heaven's Window: A Journey Through Northern New Mexico

Author: Wallis, Michael & Parsons, Jack

Description: Photographer Jack Parson's stunning images reveal the magical qualities of the upper Rio Grande region. this compelling spot in the Southwest, which includes Santa Fe, Taos and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, has long been a magnetic crossroads. travel with parsons to bustling Indian marketplaces, charming historic churches, ancient petroglyphs, lively fiestas, and haunting old ranchos. Award-winning storyteller, Michael Wallis explores the rich history of this remarkable region. Peeling back the layers of time, Wallis gets at the enchantment, turbulence, and mystery of this very special place and the people - native American, Hispanic, Anglo and others - who inhabit it.

Native Americans of the Southwest: A Journey of Discovery

Author: Tito Naranjo

People of Chaco

Author: Frazier, Kendrick

Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest

Author: Malville, J. McKim, and Putnam, Claudia

Description: A good introduction to Southwest Archeoastronomy

Pueblos of the Rio Grande: A Visitor's Guide

Author: Daniel Gibson

Description: One of the best and most definitive books on the Pueblos along the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Information about pueblo events including feast days and special dances included, as well as a page or two of information about the origination and history of each pueblo. An excellent book for anyone interested in New Mexico's pueblos and the people who keep the traditions alive.

Roadside Geology of New Mexico

Author: Halka Chronic

Santa Fe and Taos: The Writer's Era 1916-1941

Author: Weigle, Marta & Fior, Kyle

Santa Fe, Its 400th Year: Exploring the Past, Defining the Future

Author: Dean, Rob

Description: This fresh presentation, 400 years after the Spanish founded Santa Fe in 1610, presents the full art of Santa Fe's story that sifts through its long, complex, thrilling history. It illuminates Santa Fe's enduring promise to cling to roots that are bottomless and to leap into a future that is boundless. Many illustrations, timelines, index, and detailed biographies.

Tent Rocks National Monument: Trail Map and Geology

Author: Kirt Kempter and Dick Huelster

The Book of the Navajo

Author: Locke, Raymond Friday

The Geology of Northern New Mexico's Parks, Monuments and Public Lands

Author: L. Greer Price, Editor

The Geology of Southern New Mexico

Author: Mack, Greg H.

The Magic of Bandelier

Author: David E. Stuart

Description: Guidebook featuring the archeology and anthropology of Bandelier National Monument

The Man to Send Rain Clouds: Contemporary Stories by American Indians

Author: Silko, Leslie Marmon

The Mountains of New Mexico

Author: Robert Julyan

The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook

Author: Susan D. Curtis

Description: Contains some of the very best recipes from Santa Fe School of Cooking and features glorious photography.

Winter of Taos

Author: Luhan, Mabel Dodge

Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today

Author: Silko. Leslie Marmon

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