We are leaving the south rim and driving to Santa Fe. Can any locals out there recommend the best route? Thanks in advance!
Leave from the east gate toward US 89 and Cameron, head south to around the mall, and take the right exit to continue on US 89 and go south to I-40. Turn left on I-40 east toward Albuquerque. Follow I-40 to I-25 north, then take US 285/St Francis in.
There's really not a very good scenic route. Lots of stuff you could do on the way in though: Petrified Forest, Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Acoma Pueblo.
I would only add you may also want to take the side trip from US89 below Cameron through Wapatki & Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuements.
That is a long, day's drive...if you stop to see some of the sites such as Meteor Crater; or Petrified Forest National Park & Painted Desert; or the "Sky City" of ancient Acoma Pueblo, perched atop a high mesa west of Albuquerque.
It might be easier to take a day and a half. Stay overnight in Albuquerque, and pay a visit to our historic, Old Town area, just off I-40 on Rio Grande Blvd. in the morning. Enjoy your visit to the Southwest!
If you want a different experience, from South Rim GC, go out the east entrance, then north to Tuba City. From there take Hwy 264 to the Hopi Mesas. www.hopiculturalcenter.com . After a visit there go to Ganado, see Hubbell Trading Post http://www.nps.gov/hutr/index.htm
From Ganado to Window Rock, capital of the Navajo nation, and on to Gallup where you can pick up I40 into Abq.
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