Best time to visit New Mexico and Arizona?

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by hillrg, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. My wife and I are planning a three week vacation in NM/AZ this spring. I was thinking the last two weeks of April and first week of May. Any advice as to the best window in the spring would be most appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Rory,

    I just noticed your post...I've been to AZ several times and I would recommend going when the desert is in bloom if at all possible. You would be wise to ask Chris 101 for that specific information on the dates. I think the time frame that you plan to go is later than the blooming season though. Other than the desert in bloom...it isn't a secret that AZ gets hot in the summer with July and August being quite toasty. That is also the time of year for monsoon season. I have visited AZ during every season and it is all good. There really is not bad time. If you have other questions, send a PM and I'll do my best to help. Thankfully, there's plenty of others here to add to my offerings.
     
  3. Well Kiddies let me tell you about AZ. This upcoming spring DO NOT expect any wildflowers.. It has not rained in Phoenix area or anywhere since mid-October. very dry there... The prediction is for a very BAD wildflower season this year...

    If you want some more info I lived in AZ for 16 years you can PM me.

    I will possibly be in the Phoenix area in late March or early April.
     
  4. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Rain in Phoenix is a phenomenon all in itself. There is either no rain or the streets are flooded and cars are submerged...no in between!
     
  5. Not really Phoenix on average receives 7.11 inches of rain a year.. I lived there for 16 years and it would rain and not flood the streets...
    There are certain areas of town that are designed to be flood control channels and that is why the streets would flood or some of the parks turn into flood channels.. example is Indian bend Wash in Scottsdale it iturns into a flood control channel if there is heavy rains in the area...
     
  6. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I understand...but I have been there on a few occassions where the streets were flooded due to some huge downpours and cars were literally swamped...much like cars here when we get a foot of snow. My brother lives in Chandler and his stories about "snowbirds" are hysterical when he talks about how they drive. Always brings a smile when I think about those stories.
     
  7. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Up until 18 months ago, we had planned to retire in the Valley. I guess that I could buy into the philosophy that it is dry heat. But, I could not buy into the fact that I was napping in a very comfortable love seat while a scorpion was cruising through the great room at the same time. Twenty minutes later, I was in a motel!
     
  8. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Rory :

    What kind of shooting and/or sights are you looking for in NM ? I can give you much better information with that data - NM is my backyard, so to speak.


    John P.
     
  9. Thanks for the replies everyone. I thought this post had slipped under the radar:smile:

    We have booked from April 24 to May 16. My wife and I like to hike, although not too far - maybe up to 5 miles at a time. We will be traveling in our camper van.

    As to the photography, mainly scapes I imagine, although any wildlife would be great. To give you an idea, we were down in southern Utah a few years ago, and the photos I took are at http://www.pbase.com/roryhill/scapes_utah (taken with the lowly D100).

    I have the books "Photographing the Southwest" volumes 1+2 by Laurent Martres. I found them useful last time.

    Mainly, any gems you know about that we would not want to miss would be much appreciated.
     
  10. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Well Rory...it goes without saying that the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the Monument Valley headline Northern Arizona's most picturesque locations. I have been to the Canyon several times and I am itching to get back there now that I have switched to digital. The Canyon alone is worth a few days to explore. The drive from Flagstaff down through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona is a definate not-to-miss journey. I don't know much about Jerome and Prescott, but they are worth checking into via the internet. I've been to the Petrified Forest and the Meteor Crater...not worth the trouble to go there unless you are driving by on your way to another locale. The local folks like Desert Rat, Chris 101 and others are the best ones to help fine-tune the particulars.
     
  11. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Rory :

    Well, the dates you're looking out rule out one spot to visit, the Trinity Site, which is usually open the first Saturday in April. Fascinating spot, but for this trip, it seems.

    At that point in time, most of the southern locations in NM are getting quite warm, but not unduly hot. I'm going to assume you're coming in from the west. That means that you have locations like City of Rocks, Silver City, Las Cruces in the "bottom" of the state. The spring migration of hummingbirds may well be running, and that could mean certain locations in SE AZ or SW NM I could suggest if your interested.

    Silver City's a rather neat little town, and located within a short distance of many attractions. It's a good base for the southwest end of the state, and excellent to to use as a staging point for the area. There's a New York Times article available from Friday on it - Silver City Link. Actually, the NYT has a lot of good articles over the last year on NM, available at NYT Articles. You have to register for the site, but in my experience, the NYT doesn't sell or market people's addresses.

    You've obviously heard about the Bosque del Apache. Your timing is late for the best viewing, but even "out of season", it's worth a visit. Also in the area to the west of Socorro is the Very Large Array (VLA), as well as a number of fascinating cattle drive towns, a small but lovely lake (Quemado), and several "ghost towns".

    A bit to the north, you'll find the Salt Missions, including Gran Quivera, very photographic locations, and historic. To the east of Socorro, you can proceed over to White Sands, which is close to another set of mountains, with many great trails, as well as an air and space museum in Alamogordo, and a rather fun solar observatory up in the mountains. There are also a number of other national park areas with varied topgraphy, quite different in feeling after White Sands, such as Valley of Fires, which is a volcanic eruption area (not active now).

    Albuquerque is a large city (by NM standards), but has a number of charming attractions, including Old Town, the Rio Grande Zoo, a number of museums, and of course, shopping. You cna proceed up from ABQ to Santa Fe on NM14, the Turquoise Trail, which is a historical road with many small towns, views, walks.

    Santa Fe is a historic city, with a lot of art, history, museums, great views, excellent food, and perhaps (if he's home) a member of the Cafe. :biggrin:

    Proceeding north of Santa Fe, you can see Taos and all of the incredible locations around it. Great shooting opportunities (Taos Shots and Rio Grande Gorge Shots) You can also proceed across from there and north along the Colorado border. Alternately, going north from SF, you can proceed up through "Georgia O'Keefe Country", and see the rich colours of Abiqui and Ghost Ranch.

    The northwest corner of the state is rich in amazing locations, including the Bistii Badlands near Farmington, Shiprock, and is a gateway to southeastern Utah, another amazing drive. You can then duck back into Arizona.

    There's much, much more than all of the above. Cultural locations such as the pueblos, the Navajo Nation, or the Hopi Mesa, astounding natural formations like Cochiti Tentrocks, art, jewelry, and other artisans to watch or talk with.

    The weather should be relatively balmy for the period you're discussing, although any visits to high altitude could be cold. Snow at altitude is still very possible, but any falls below mountain levels are usually transitory in that interval, at most meaning waiting out a day for it to clear (or sublime). Spring can bring winds and dust, but these are usually tolerable even at their worst.

    Drop me a PM when you form up your plans, and we can get more specific as you might need.


    John P.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  12. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Silver City has an interesting solar system scale model:
    map.
     
  13. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    In Arizona, there are a lot of 'off the beaten path' journeys you can take. If you do Sedona and the Grand Canyon, you'll get lots of pictures of tourists, so instead, try going through Wickenburg and drink from the Hassyampa River (there's a drinking fountain) - it has legendary magical powers. Then head Northwest - check out Yarnell - cut back Northeast, go through the vertical hippy town of Jerome and proceed to Prescott, the original state capital. Be sure to visit Wiskey Row - it's not re-created, it just never changed! Then you can go East to Palo Solari's Arcosanti or North to Ashfork and Williams. These towns have not grown (or changed much) since I-40 replaced Route 66, which goes right through both towns. If you stay in Williams - which I recommend - you can stay in a B&B that is a refurbished bordello - one with a ghost! It's right across from the train station where you can board the "Grand Canyon Express". Or drive to the GC yourself by going North for about an hour and a half.

    Drive east on 40 and you'll come right into Flagstaff, home of the fighting Lumberjacks, AND the telescope that discovered Pluto and the expansion of the universe. Lots to do around Flag. - there are many forrested parks, I recommend the Lake Mary recrerational area. Drive East and you'll go through Holbrook to tthe Four Corners area, which is surrounded by the Navajo Nation - Southeast gets you to Farmington New Mexico (where I used to work) and it's just a short jump from there to Bolder Colorado.

    Ok, back to Arizona, check out Canyon de Chelly (say deshay) and you'll get to Showlow and the White Mountains. The surrounding forrest is especially beautiful, and you'll find many places to spend a night in a cabin in the woods. Or, if you prefer, the Apache tribe runs the state's largest casino right in the niddle of the forrest.

    Drive south and you'll find the Salt River Canyon - it looks remarkably like a miniture Grand Canyon - but you can drive down into it! Then there are the 'lakes'. Really reservoirs along the Salt and Verde Rivers. Drive through the real 'Tortilla Flats' to Canyon lake for some of the best sunset views anywhere. You can swim there too!

    Don't go into Phoenix from Apache Junction, but rather head East to Miami, Globe and Superior. Working and abandoned copper mines tell the story of Arizona's early communities. Globe has a copper mine right in town, and parts of the town have been restored to their pre-statehood condition.

    Drive south to Oracle, home to the Biosphere. If you can get a tour, it's amazing, but they have a limit on how many people they allow in, so plan this if you want to do it. To the South are the Catalina Mountains, and Mount Lemon. At 9800 feet, and a city at the very top, you'll get some excellent scenery, as well as some apline air. Back down, into Tucson, there are about a million things to do. The Saguaro National Park, on the west side of town is denser than the part of the park on the east side. However on the east side there is the states most interesting zoo, the Sonora Desert Museum.

    Head south to visit Arizona's wine country in Sonoita, Elgin (best winery) and Patagonia. Continue east to see the wind sculpted rocks of Dragoon, the Chiracaua Mountains, and into southern New Mexico where it's just an hour to Silver City (*see above.)

    Or you can drive half an hour South from Patagonia and see Nogales, Mexico. Sure, it's a border town, but visit the east side of the tracks. Fine dining and a less touristic pushiness. Buy souvieners.

    Head North west from there and you'll come to Baboquivari and Kitt Peak. The mountains are sacred, and the telescope state of the art. Try for a tour there.

    Whew! There's more, but that's all for now!
     
  14. Stef

    Stef

    Nov 1, 2005
    Peoria, AZ
    Holy cow Chris. I live out here and had no idea about half the stuff on your list. Do you do tours? :tongue:

    I may just have to hit you up for ideas one of these days. We work ALOT, so we don't get out as much as I would like. But soon hopefully that will change.
     
  15. Wow - thanks very much Chris, John and Frank. I will now take a close look at my maps and books to figure out what you just told me.

    One more question - if you were to pick a three week period to visit in the spring when would you choose?
     
  16. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Rory, late February til mid to late April. Summer starts some time in May. :Dizzy:

    Stef, I should huh. :wink: Driving around AZ in a Jeep was my hobby until gas got too expensive - oh, and the jeep broke.
     
  17. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Rory :

    Chris has addressed AZ, but NM's good through the summer in the northern half of the state. The timeframe you've outlined is easily enjoyed in all of NM.

    We don't do that Arizona thing of "It's a dry heat" in northern NM, because our nights actually cool down...


    John P.
     
  18. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Think 'convection oven' when you say that.

    Yes, I should say that Summer only begins in May in the low desert: Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, La Paz and Yuma counties.
     
  19. You guys are a wealth of info. I may have to visit a few times to figure it all out ;^)

    Thanks!
     
  20. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Rory :

    No problem - we love for paying tourists to visit and boost our economy ! :wink:


    John P.
     
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