top of page
  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Denver to New Mexico 28.9.-16.10.22

The first short leg takes us from Denver to Manitou Springs where we take a walk through the Garden of Gods with its impressive red rock formations.

In the evening we visit the historic town and have a cheese fondue at the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant (which unfortunately does not have the sophistication of Thomas' herb fondue).

Early the next morning, we set off on the beautiful hour-long drive up the 4300-high Pikes Peak. Since 1891, a cog railroad has also been leading up the mountain, which was only recently brought back into operation thanks to Swiss engineers.

Afterwards we drive through a winding mountain landscape with beautiful fall colors towards Gunnison. There we visit the Black Gunnison NP with a spectacular narrow gorge.

The route from Gunnison to Durango is one of the most scenic in a long time, passing freshly snow-covered mountain peaks through a bright yellow autumn landscape.

Durango is a pretty Wild West town where a cowboy gathering is taking place right now and of course we are there, especially in the saloon of our classic hotel with honky tonk.

Several steam locomotive-powered trains depart daily with loud hissing and honking on the beautiful route to Silverton.

For us it goes on to the Mesa Verde NP with the settlements of the natives built in caves. A fairly large part of the park is closed and to certain buildings you need an extra ticket, which we have missed to buy. Nevertheless, we can photograph some of the ruins.

On the way to Monument Valley we do a short hike in the 'Canyons of the Ancients National Monument', take a picture of the 'Mexican Hat' and drive through the red desert-like landscape.... the famous Monument Valley.

For the next day we booked a guided sunrise tour in Monument Valley, where you also get to places that you do not get to see on the tourist route. Conclusion: it's only worth it because the tour takes you into the park early in the morning before the tourists, but it's not necessarily worth it because of the route. For the ultimate experience you would have to be here with the horse on the road and spend the night at the campfire, but that is now less our thing.

Now it goes for 3 days to Page where we admire the Lake Powell at low water level from above, rent a speedboat for 4 hours and roar to the Navajo Canyon. Of course, a swim in the pleasantly warm water may not be missing.

We marvel at the overwhelming Horseshoe Bend, which is located very close to Page.

There are eight different entrances into the narrow, water washed, sandstone canyon of Antelope Canyon. We can still get a ticket for the Lower Canyon. An hour-long tour leads us through the shapes and colors of the canyon, where you can't get out of taking pictures.

On the way to Kanab we make a worthwhile detour to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This less known side is at least as impressive as the South Rim because already the approach is beautiful and there are many trees, including the yellow birch trees.

In Kanab we still hope to get a ticket to visit the 'Wave', an impressive wave made of sandstone. There are only 20 tickets given away every day and we are not lucky. Alternatively, we do a hike in the same area from the Wire Pass trailhead into a narrow, deep gorge to the impressive estuary courtyard, which reminds a bit of Petra in Jordan. To the left and right we continue for a few 100 meters, then the flooded gorge stops us.

The next stop is Holbrook, where we visit the Petrified Forest NP with the colored desert and the petrified tree trunks. A monument of the famous Route 66 which passed through here on the 4'000 km route from Chicago to Santa Monica can also be found.

The last stage takes us to New Mexico, where we spend two days in the capital Santa Fe. The buildings in the city center, built in pueblo style, are very well preserved and give a coherent picture. It also has about 200 galleries and a lot of excellent restaurants. A nice change to the many national parks with rather modest infrastructure.

The second last stop before Mexico is Carlsbad, an oil and railroad town, where tourists only come to visit the Carlsbad Caverns NP. The largest of the more than 100 limestone caves is a huge up to 500 m deep cave system with a spectacular maw through which one steeply tackles the 5 km long tour. Fortunately, at the end a lift leads 250 m up to the surface. We have seen more beautiful cave formations, but Carlsbad Cave is overwhelming in size.

The last stop is Alamogordo with the White Sands NP. Although it is almost 30 degrees hot, it feels as if you are immersed in a snowy landscape. The roads are white, the parking lots are groomed, and kids slide down the dunes with plastic plates while others picnic under umbrellas. Incredibly impressive.

Now we are going to Mexico for almost 3 months. We are looking forward to a country that is unknown to us and you will probably not hear from us again until the end of the year.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page