Driving From Albuquerque to Denver

Next month I’ll be flying to Albuquerque, driving up to Denver (actually it’s Golden, but still Denver metro), then flying home to DC. We’d like to take a whole day for the drive up to Golden, stop at little towns, scenic spots, sightsee, look for crazy roadside oddities (“the world’s largest Q-tip!”), that sort of thing.

Does anyone have any suggestions for things to do or see along that Route 25 area from New Mexico to the Denver area?

I’ve done that drive,
I-25 is kinda dull to denver as I recall. I’ve only done it once, and you don’t get to see much of the mountains.

If you have time, take a more mountainous route, maybe through like Abiquiu, NM. Or Taos, I think you should look to veer off I-25 after Santa Fe somewhere.
Eat at “The Range” restaurant in Bernalillo NM (about 1/2 hour north of Albuq. along I-25) for breakfast, or whatever meal you can. MMMMMMM! save room for dessert.

In Santa Fe, I recommend “Tomasita’s” I also just recommend Santa Fe for touristy stuff if you’ve never been there.

Taos is also very nice.

For a quick Burger stop anywhere in NM, like if you’re driving through a little town and getting lunch, there’s a local franchise called “Blake’s Lottaburger” Have a lotaburger with green chile and cheese

Well the Royal Gorge is not far off I-25 ner Pueblo.

Pikes Peak is close to Colorado Springs.

But after you get into Colorado, the scenery is still nice, just not all the little spots like in NM. I’d linger a little longer in the Santa Fe/Taos area and then haul it thru Colorado.

Which brings on another neat problem. The traffic on I-25 north of Raton is touch and go. All the RVs or something. You can be cruising along at 70 and the traffic just stops. Out in the middle of nowhere. For no apparent reason. I realize this is not unique to Colorado, but there is nothing out there!

And Denver…they were working on the T-Rex (major interchange construction project) last time I was there. Major traffic snarls.

Which points out a great alternative route if you are in no hurry…

Get off I-25 at Pueblo, go up through Canon City, see the Royal Gorge, then continue up to Leadville, Frisco, Dillon, Golden. Nice scenery right on the Great Divide, and you approach Denver from the West…missing the mess.

Just sayin’

Er…Continental Divide :smack:

Don’t take the left turn, unless you want to go to Pismo Beach.

Actually I think if you’ve never been out there it’s a grand drive. I remember when I first saw mountains like that…Drove across country with my best friend when I got out of highschool. We put our feet in the Pacific and drove home…

I-25 is not that bad greck kind of boring at times but nice all the same. LOTS O WIDE OPEN SPACE.

As for places to see…There’s Bandelier National Monument west of Santa Fe. And if you have time check out this link. It has a lot of really fun scenic by-ways…

Thanks to everyone for the tips, these are great. I’m actually pretty familiar with some of the NM sights and we’re spending 5 days there before we drive up to Golden. We’ve done Bandelier, Santa Fe, Taos, etc. and will probably do them again. I’m very interested in taking those scenic byways more than anything, I think.

The road through Abiquiu is indeed very picturesque, but winding and slow. Still, I second the recommendation.

Have huevos rancheros at “the frontier” in Albuq. across from UNM, preferably on a sunday morning -great people watching, I think if you stay there long enough, the whole city eventually comes through that place.
Also have “carne adovada” burritos from there or a golden pride franchise (same thing). Warning: addictive, you will crave them always and will need to return to the duke city periodically for a fix.

Eat a dessert and coffee at the Flying star cafe - there’s one on Central (just up the street from UNM and The frontier in Nob Hill)

Saggio’s has good pizza -also located right by the frontier.

Other great new mexican food places:

Garduno’s -good if a bit touristy
Sadie’s -hot chile, really big portions, really good food
Los Cuates -my personal favorite

And you definitely have to eat at The Range in Bernalillo (there’s one in albuq., but it’s not as good).

I know I’m missing some, I’ll get back to you.

Don’t forget Garden of The Gods as you pass through Colorado Springs.

Fort Union and the Sante Fe Trail - You can actually stand in the ruts left by the wagons as they followed the trail. Very neat.

And also - find a small “New Mexican” cuisine restaurant. (I wish you were going to Las Cruces, I’d send you to Napolito’s.) Order some Stacked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas with “the works”. You get wonderful layers of tortilla, green chile sauce, and grilled chicken topped with lettuce and tomatoes and crowned with a fried egg. Trust me on this. It’s perfect. You can usually ask for any stacked enchilada to be topped with a fried egg but this flavor combination can’t be beat.

Oh and when you pass Wagon Mound, NM - wave east at my Mother-in-law.

I second the idea of going to the Royal Gorge then head up north to go gambling in the fun town of Cripple Creek which really helped Colorado Springs become the city it is today. It’s the reason behind “Pikes Peak or Bust.”

Then head towards Colorado Springs. But stop by Manitou Springs which is like a small Boulder with unique shops, fun dining (The Loop, Mission Bell Inn (both excellent Mexican food, the MBI is family owned,) and other yummy places. They also have the “Penny Arcade” which has old games like skee ball and horse racing to pinball to 80s video games to today’s video games. It’s really a fun experience. Manitou is a great town.

Garden of the Gods is always worth the trip. It’s free too! The trip up Pikes Peak is an excellent adventure but with limited time in your day, it’s one you may want to come to Colorado to visit for a longer stay. It’s fun to make a day out of it.

Other things to see in the C Springs area is Seven Falls, the zoo, etc… information at: www.pikes-peak.com.

Hmm, that’s all my hungry brain can come up with right now.

I forgot to add:

You can avoid a lot of the T-Rex traffic buy taking C-470 west towards the foothills. I-25 to I-70 sucks as it is. The sign will say “Grand Junction.” once you get out of Castle Rock and hit the Metro area, start getting in the right hand lands but DON’T mistake it for C-470 east…it can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with Denver. They are two separate exits and if I remember correctly (I haven’t driven up in the Denver area since last year) C-470 E is the first exit. Also it does have a tollroad sign up, that’s not the way to go.

If you haven’t done it in your previous visits to Santa Fe and Taos, you need to stop by Chimayo, which is along the high road, and at least check out El Santuario de Chimayo.