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Old 08-28-2016, 06:11 PM
 
62 posts, read 96,717 times
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Hi New Mexicans!

My wife and I will be driving through your lovely state in late December. We both prefer to take rural 2 lane roads to see the scenery and small towns of the southwest. We know that winter weather can cause issues in the northern part of the state, and as such have 2 plans: (a) take either I-10 or I-40 through the state if weather is bad or (b) if weather isn't too bad, take the scenic way through the state.

That's where we need your help. What are, in your opinions, the best scenic 2 lane roads going from AZ to TX in the state. We're not opposed to windy or off the beaten path, but we do need paved roads. We're also open to going through the north or the south. We love seeing the little towns that dot the US as well as the pretty desert of the Southwest.
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
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Icy conditions can exist in any part of the state. Some storms track south across the state, or affect the whole eastern plains. The twisty mountain roads in southwest NM going into and out of Silver City can be treacherous. It is true that I-10 usually does experience the least in the way of hazardous winter conditions. I-40 does close down on occasion.

If you can give your start and end points in AZ and TX it would be easier to suggest a route that would not take you too far afield.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:49 PM
 
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The majority US-180 meets all of your criteria, although it won't take you across the entire state. The scenery is amazing though, especially the portion that traverses the Black Range of the Gila National Forest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_180
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Range
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:01 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
24,159 posts, read 38,951,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transitory View Post
2 plans: (a) take either I-10 or I-40 through the state
I-40 is more scenic than I-10. I have driven I-10 from the east to the west coasts in the past. In my opinion, New Mexico's portion of I-10 leaves a lot to be desired.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
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There are a number of Route 66 guides, which tell you how to get between I-40 and the various old stretches of Route 66 that go through small towns and big cities alike.

Would recommend that first as a strategy for getting across.

Northern NM has more variety of scenery- taking US 64 for the entirety would rank second in my book to old 66. Maybe take one one way, the other the other.
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Sacramento Mtns of NM
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IMO...the route that affords the most scenic variety is a northern east-west trek that I would NOT advise planning for in the dead of winter.

Follow US-87 and US-64 across the entire state from Texline on the eastern state line to Teec Nos Pos on the western state line on the Navajo Reservation. There is a tremendous variation in topography along this route, from grassy plains to densely forested highlands to desert-like badlands. And only one "small city" the entire route - Farmington.

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Old 08-30-2016, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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This would be a drive where a good AWD vehicle with 4 snow tires (or new all season) would be a good idea. IMHO the major problem would be the long stretches of sparse traffic is you have a breakdown. I would suggest considering Rt 60 from AZ line to Socorro and Rt 380 from San Antonio east. That crosses the middle of NM and in MHO is very attractive.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Ruidoso, NM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63 View Post
The twisty mountain roads in southwest NM going into and out of Silver City can be treacherous.
??? The only twisty mountain roads are the ones that loop north through the Gila and Mimbre (not a through route) or over the pass to TorC (which isn't a normal route either). If you stick to the main roads going through, which are all lower elevation than Silver City and not twisty, it shouldn't be a problem.
...................

Dec isn't a great time for a NM tour unfortunately. I'd probably advise staying south and keep an eye out for storms. Carlsbad, Roswell, then take 246 west to Capitan, then 48 S through Ruidoso, 70 to Alamogordo and White Sands, Las Cruces, Deming, head north on 180, hang right on 61 to San Lorenzo. If the weather forecast is good (good for winding mountain roads), head up to the Cliff Dwellings, and come back to Silver City. Then continue either NW or SW from there to AZ.

If the weather is good you might also consider heading north from Las Cruces to TorC, and spending a night or two at a good hot tub resort. Then head west over Emory Pass to San Lorenzo.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:28 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transitory View Post
have 2 plans: (a) take either I-10 or I-40 through the state if weather is bad or (b) if weather isn't too bad, take the scenic way through the state.

Route 66 National Scenic Byway https://www.newmexico.org/route-66-sb/

You actually have a few choices in Route 66, it goes through the whole state of New Mexico. Take a look at the map...

They also have a video:


Last edited by Poncho_NM; 08-31-2016 at 12:34 PM..
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Sacramento Mtns of NM
4,159 posts, read 6,493,573 times
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I haven't taken the time to try it, but for someone serious about making the most of a trip anywhere in New Mexico it should be possible to link together a number of the official "Scenic Byways." Or simply pick out the one(s) that would be most accessible from your planned route.

New Mexico's Scenic Byways

Quote:
New Mexico is home to 25 magnificent scenic byways, totaling over 2,900 miles across a diverse landscape. In fact, eight of the 126 America's Byways are right here in our state. The America's Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and was established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the states. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes these designated roads based on one or more intrinsic qualities — archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, or scenic. You don’t have to take their word for it. We’ll let you be the judge. Come see each unique scenic byway for yourself. Click on the images to view a map and video.
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