After spending a day at Mesa Verde, we plan on driving to Santa Fe. I see a couple of driving routes of about 4.5 hours on Google Maps, with both initially heading east from Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center to Durango but then they diverge.
Option 1: East on US-160 before heading south on US-84 E.
Option 2: On US-550 S before turning east on Interstate 25
Which option is easier? I'm not as concerned with scenery. Is there one which is less windy or twisty or better maintained or has better road lighting or has fewer animals that wander on the road?
I'm guessing it's option 2 as it joins I-25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe but I'm not sure. Thanks.