New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado

Road Scholar 22591

At a Glance
The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Taos Pueblo, Carlsbad Caverns and Chaco Canyon — these are the places of legends. On an epic journey through the best of Arizona and New Mexico, join local experts to explore five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, four National Parks, three National Monuments, two State Parks, centuries of Native American and Spanish history and Santa Fe, “The City Different.” From the iconic red-sandstone buttes of Monument Valley to the 1,000-year-old adobe complex of Taos Pueblo, find an astounding concentration of natural phenomenon and cultural landmarks.

Keep the Pace: Hiking up to three miles daily. Elevations of 3,000-7,500 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...
* Explore the winding corridors, monumental chambers and stunning rock formations of Carlsbad Caverns.
* Learn about Native American history in Taos Pueblo — the only Native American community honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
* Bask in the glorious vistas of the Grand Canyon and discover archaeological sites at Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.

Day 1, ~Apr 10 – Albuquerque / Registration / Welcome Dinner
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

(D) Program Registration 3:00-5:00 p.m.: After checking into the hotel and getting your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff. Orientation at 5:00 p.m.: The Group Leader will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes.

In the hotel meeting room, enjoy a buffet. Hotel: Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Day 2 – Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge / Roswell
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling 250 miles (4 hours) over the course of the day; walking up to a mile along well-maintained paths with some elevation gains and some stairs.

(BLD) We'll check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and travel 100 miles south to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Our expert study leader will discuss the history of New Mexico. Established in 1939 to provide a resting stop for migrating waterfowl, the refuge is well known for the thousands of Sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl that winter here each year. Situated between mountain ranges to the east and west, the 60,000 acre refuge includes a wild stretch of the Rio Grande, a 'bosque' of cottonwood and willow trees which provide for the diversity of wildlife. It is this diversity that would have drawn humans to this area for over 10,000 years when Paleo-Indians migrated along the river, sometimes settling to hunt, fish and farm. Artifacts and stone tools found nearby tell us that these nomadic hunters and gatherers also pursued herds of mammoth and bison in the valley. Following our visit to the Bosque, we will continue to San Antonio, NM, for lunch.

At a popular café in San Antonio, enjoy a plated meal from a select menu featuring local cuisine. Following lunch, we will depart for Roswell, traveling through lava fields and Lincoln National Forest along the way. We will arrive in Roswell for hotel check-in and dinner.

At a local favorite in Roswell, enjoy a plated meal. Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Roswell

Day 3 – UFO Museum / Roswell Museum of Art / Living Desert State Park / Carlsbad
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 75 miles; walking up a mile on varied terrain; standing at museums

(BLD) After breakfast, we'll check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach and head for the International UFO Museum and Research Center. Best know as the home for information about the 1947 Roswell Incident and other UFO phenomena, the museum works to fulfill the mission of educating the general public on all aspects of the UFO phenomena. The museum asserts its position as representing the serious side of the UFO phenomena. After the UFO Museum, we will continue our exploration of Roswell at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. The Roswell Museum and Art Center was founded in 1935 through an agreement between the City of Roswell, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Federal Art Project (FAP), Chaves County Archaeological and Historical Society, and the Roswell Friends of Art. The Museum opened in 1937, with its initial support coming from the WPA as part of a Depression era project to promote public art with centers across the country. Today, the Roswell Museum and Art Center is among the handful of these Federal Art Centers that remain in operation. The Roswell Museum and Art Center is home to the largest public collection of works by Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth, painters who lived in the nearby Hondo Valley and made famous the landscape and culture of southeastern New Mexico.

At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated meal. We'll depart Roswell after lunch and travel to Carlsbad for a visit to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. This park showcases and interprets the Chihuahuan Desert. Living Desert State Park is an indoor/outdoor living museum which displays more than 40 native animal species and hundreds of succulents from around the world. We'll take the 1.3-mile walk around the grounds where we will discover sand dunes and mountainous areas, where pinon and juniper trees contrast with the desert floor below. Following our visit, we will depart for a late afternoon check-in at our hotel. There will be some time at leisure before dinner.

At restaurant in Carlsbad, enjoy a plated meal. Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Carlsbad (2 nights)

Day 4 – Carlsbad Caverns
Activity note: Walking up to three miles over uneven and rocky terrain, elevation gains of 1,000 feet.

(BLD) After breakfast we will depart for a full day visit to Carlsbad Caverns. Carlsbad Caverns is one of the oldest and most famous cave systems in the world. The caverns include several vast underground chambers, up to 250 feet high, filled with amazing formations of many colors and shapes, all formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes. We will have time this morning to explore the Visitor's Center and watch the film: "Hidden Worlds - Carlsbad Caverns National Park." The movie features high definition photography of the cave natural wonders, bats in flight, cave tours, and a fly-over of the cave's Natural Entrance. To prevent the spread of a disease that is fatal to bats, please do not wear shoes, clothing, or bring any gear into any cave at Carlsbad Caverns National Park that have previously been in another cave.

Lunch will be on our own at the Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company. Options include a cold sandwich or salad, or have a hot sandwich or meal made to order at the hot/cold food line. Then continue our independent explorations of Carlsbad with a 1.25-mile hike which follows the traditional explorer’s route, entering the cavern through the large natural entrance. The Natural Entrance route descends more than 750 feet into the earth following steep and narrow trails through a tall and spacious trunk passage called the Main Corridor.

At a local barbecue restaurant enjoy a plated meal.

Day 5 – White Sands National Monument / Socorro
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 280 miles for 5 hours over the course of the day; walking several hundred feet at White Sands.

(BLD) We'll check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach and head for Alamogordo. We have a plated meal at a local Alamogordo restaurant.

After lunch, our coach will drive us to White Sands National Monument. We'll stop first at the Visitor's Center to explore the museum and enjoy an orientation video. Then we will take a Ranger-guided drive through the dunes. This 8-mile scenic drive will lead us into the heart of the dunes, while our expert guide will provide information about the natural history of the park. From White Sands, we will continue on to Socorro for hotel check-in.

At a brew pub in Socorro, we will enjoy a plated meal. Hotel: Holiday Inn Express, Socorro

Day 6 – Zuni Pueblo / Gallup
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 200 miles for 3 1/2 hours over the course of the day; walking up to a mile over varied terrain at Zuni Pueblo.

(BLD) We'll check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach and head 190 miles west to Zuni Pueblo. We will have lunch at the home of Eva Hanawakee at Zuni Pueblo. She will prepare a Pueblo Feast Day meal which may include stews, tamales, fresh bread baked in the outdoor ovens and other traditional foods.

After lunch we will enjoy a walking exploration of the middle village at Zuni with a tribal member. Zuni Pueblo is the largest of the nineteen pueblos in New Mexico with more than 1 million acres and a population of over 10,000. Zuni is considered one of the most traditional of all the New Mexico Pueblos, with a unique language, culture, and history was the result of their geographic isolation. Well over 50% of the residents of Zuni are involved in creating art. Traditional Zuni art forms includes inlay silverwork, stone “fetish” carving, pottery, and carving of wooden sculptures or Katsina dolls. Then we'll head to Gallup for hotel check-in.

At Earl's, a local favorite, we will order off the menu and taste some of the best down-home cooking Gallup has to offer. Hotel: Comfort Suites, Gallup

Day 7 – Window Rock & Navajo Nation Museum / Hopi Reservation / Cameron AZ
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; travel 180 miles for 2 1/2 hours over the course of the day; walk up to a mile over varied terrain.

(BLD) We will board our motorcoach and head 35 miles west to Window Rock. This unique rock formation is a 200-foot-high sandstone hill called Tségháhoodzání (The Perforated Rock) by the Navajo. It is important in the Water Way Ceremony (Tóhee). It was one of the four places where Navajo medicine men go with their woven water bottles to get water for the ceremony that is held for abundant rain. Window Rock is also the capital of the Navajo Nation and home to the Navajo Nation Museum. We will have the opportunity to visit the museum and experience the fascinating interactive exhibits which detail the history and culture of the Navajo people. Then we'll head to the Hopi Reservation where we'll have lunch and visit the Hopi Mesas.

Lunch will be a plated meal at the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant. After lunch, we will travel to Third Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and visit a local artist's home and studio. We will learn about the different Hopi art forms and how they reflect the Hopi culture. From there, we will continue on to Cameron for a late-afternoon hotel check-in.

Dinner will be a plated meal from a specially selected menu at the Cameron Trading Post restaurant. Hotel: Cameron Trading Post & Motel (2 nights)

Day 8 – Grand Canyon
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 165 miles over the course of the day; walking up to 5 miles on well-maintained paved and gravel paths.

(BLD) The motorcoach will depart after breakfast for the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. Approximately five million people each year visit the Park. The Canyon itself is 1 mile deep, 277 river-miles long, and up to 18 miles wide in some spots. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate this spectacular canyon. The Grand Canyon is truly an overwhelming sight. The motorcoach will let us out in the Grand Canyon Village for a day of independent exploration of the South Rim. Grand Canyon Village is the center of activity and the transportation hub for the South Rim of the park. From the Visitor Center, the easiest and fastest way to get out and see Grand Canyon is to take the scenic Kaibab Rim Shuttle Bus (orange route). This bus provides the only access to the South Kaibab Trailhead, and Yaki Point. The Scenic Hermit Road Shuttle Route stops at 9 canyon overlooks along the scenic 7-mile Hermit Road. (West of the village). These buses are free of charge and run continuously.

Lunch is on our own at one of the many restaurants and cafés in the Village and around the South Rim. Continue our exploration of the South Rim. The bus will depart for Cameron in the late afternoon. Dinner is at the Cameron Trading Post restaurant.

Day 9 – Navajo National Monument / Monument Valley / to Mesa Verde / Cortez
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 200 miles for up to 5 hours over the course of the day; hike of up to a mile with some elevation gain.

(BLD) After breakfast and hotel checkout, we will board our motor coach and head to Navajo National Monument. Navajo National Monument was established to preserve three cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan People: Keet Seel (Kits'iil), Betatakin (Bitát'ahkin), and Inscription House (Ts'ah Bii' Kin). The monument is located high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system. While here we will explore the visitor center and museum, and take a short hike along the Sandal Trail. This 1-mile round-trip trail ends at an overlook of the Betatakin ruins across the 560-foot-deep Betatakin Canyon. that provides views of the spectacular Canyonlands and rugged topography near the visitor center. We'll then depart for Kayenta, AZ.

Lunch is at the Burger King in Kayenta. While at Burger King we'll have the opportunity to enjoy a display of memorabilia from World War II, including a display devoted to the Navajo Code Talkers. The Code Talkers were instrumental in contributing to the Allied victory in the Pacific Theatre. The former owner of this fast-food restaurant fought in the war; his son now owns the restaurant and has accorded the collection a place of honor. We'll continue on toward Mesa Verde, driving through Monument Valley. If the landscape looks familiar, it's because hundreds of movies beginning with the westerns of John Ford westerns were filmed in this spectacular place. We will have an opportunity to stop and take photographs as we drive through. We'll arrive at the Far View lodge in Mesa Verde in late afternoon.

Dinner is a plated meal at the Metate Room at Far View Lodge. Hotel: Far View Lodge (2 nights)

Day 10 – Full-Day Exploration Mesa Verde (very limited activity for me)
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; hikes of 1-3 miles over varied terrain with some elevation gains.

(BLD) At the Far View Terrace, breakfast served buffet-style. Today, we'll go on a full-day field trip to Mesa Verde National Park. Visit various sites which may include the Chapin Museum, and overlooks to Square Tower House, Sun Point, and Sun Temple. Mesa Verde, Spanish for “green table,” has a rich past going back at least 13.000 years. By 775 CE, Mesa Verdeans lived in small villages on the mesa top. By the mid-to-late 1100s, they had moved into stone masonry houses situated in alcoves on the canyon walls, commonly known as “cliff dwellings.” In the late 1200s, within the span of one or two generations, they left their homes and moved away. The archaeological sites found in Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States, offering visitors a look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde.

At Mesa Verde’s Spruce Tree Terrace Café, enjoy cafeteria-style dining. Our exploration of Mesa Verde continues. We’ll then return to the lodge with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

In the Metate Room at the Lodge, enjoy a plated meal.

Day 11 – Anasazi Heritage Center / Hovenweep National Monument / Farmington
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 180 miles for almost 4 hours over the course of the day; walking up to a mile over varied terrain.

(BLD) At the Far View Terrace, enjoy breakfast served buffet-style. After checking out of the Lodge, we'll depart for a full-day field trip to the Anasazi Heritage Center and Hovenweep National Monument. The Anasazi Heritage Center, southwest Colorado’s leading archaeological museum, preserves and displays artifacts from Ancestral Puebloans of the Four Corners area. Outstanding permanent exhibits focus on archaeology, local history, and Native American cultures. There are two 12th-century archaeological sites, a research library of archaeology and anthropology resources, and a collection of more than three million artifacts and records. We’ll enjoy a self-led exploration of the museum before continuing on to Hovenweep National Monument.

At Hovenweep, we’ll have boxed lunches. With our Study Leader, we will visit select sites within the National Monument. Located on Cajon Mesa about 40 miles west of Mesa Verde, Hovenweep National Monument is one of the most intriguing pre-historic settlements in the Southwest. Most of the tower-kiva complexes and D-shaped structures we will see were built between 1235 and 1240 and used for only 70 years. By 1281, Hovenweep was abandoned. Known for its six major villages, archaeologists have found more than 300 additional sites within the National Monument. Square Tower Unit, located at the Visitors Center, covers more than 400 acres alone. The other five villages are Cajon, Holly, Horseshoe, Hackberry, and Cutthroat. We’ll then depart for Farmington and hotel check-in.

At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated meal. Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites, Farmington

Day 12 – Chaco Culture National Historical Park / Taos
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 250 miles for 5 hours over the course of the day; walking up to 2 miles over varied terrain with elevation gains

(BLD) After breakfast and hotel checkout, we’ll ride to Chaco Culture National Historical Park via Nageezi. Arriving in Nageezi, we’ll transfer to a school bus (motorcoaches are advised not to travel the rough, unpaved road into Chaco.) A bit bumpy, but it's the only way to get there. Upon our arrival in the canyon, we will explore some of the ancient ruins with our Study Leader and marvel at the intact stacked-stone masonry. Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of North America's most significant and fascinating cultural and historic areas. Chaco was a major center of Ancestral Puebloan culture between 850 and 1150 CE. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area. It is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings. To construct the buildings, along with the associated Chacoan roads, ramps, dams and mounds required a great deal of well-organized and skillful planning, designing, resource gathering and construction. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture, one that amazes us a thousand years later.

In the park, we’ll have boxed lunches. After lunch, we will ride the school bus back out of the canyon to our motorcoach and continue on our journey to Taos. This drive takes us through some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Northern New Mexico as we drive through the San Juan and Southern Rocky mountains, the dramatic Jicarilla Apache Reservation, the Chama River Valley and Brazos Cliffs. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

At the hotel, enjoy a meal featuring a soup, salad, entrée, and dessert. Hotel: El Pueblo Lodge (2 nights)

Day 13 – Taos Pueblo / Rio Grande Gorge Bridge / Earthship Biotecture
Activity note: Walk up to a mile over varied terrain

(BLD) After breakfast we'll go to Taos Pueblo (if the Pueblo is open; it sometimes closes with little to no advance notice for private Pueblo events.) This picturesque Pueblo at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. The multiple-storied adobe dwellings reflect an ancient culture. Approximately 100 Pueblo residents still live much as their ancestors did 1,000 years ago, without electricity or running water. Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

We'll then depart for the Rio Grande Gorge, which we'll cross via the "High Bridge." The bridge spans the Rio Grande Gorge 565 feet above the river, affording breathtaking views, and has served as a location for a number of motion pictures, including "Wild Hogs" and "Terminator Salvation." After stopping for photographs, we'll continue on to the Earthship Biotecture Community. Earthship Biotecture is a sustainable building style with a minimal carbon footprint that uses recycled materials, such as old tires, bottles, and aluminum cans, in a variety of fascinating — and sometimes funky — shapes and sizes.

Lunch on our own. Then we have free time for independent explorations of the Taos Plaza area on your own. There are a number of colorful galleries and shops in the area. Museums within walking distance of the Plaza include the E.L. Blumenschein Home & Museum, the Harwood Museum, home to the Agnes Martin Gallery, the Kit Carson Home & Museum and the Taos Art Museum at the Fechin House. The Group Leader can offer suggestions and directions. Rendezvous with the motorcoach at a designated time and location for return to the hotel.

Dinner is a plated meal at a popular restaurant.

Day 14 – Santa Fe / To Albuquerque
Activity note: Getting on/off coach; traveling 120 miles over the course of the day; walking up to a mile over paved but uneven sidewalks.

(BLD) Breakfast is a buffet. After breakfast and hotel checkout, the motorcoach will depart for Santa Fe; our Study Leader will discuss some of the area's history enroute. Established by the Spanish in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in North America and is home to the oldest public building still in use in the United States, the Palace of the Governors. When we arrive, we'll head out on foot for the Santa Fe Plaza, where we'll see historical sites such as the Palace of the Governors and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. We will discuss the historic significance of each building as we explore the downtown.

Lunch is on our own. Then we have free time for independent explorations. After meeting at a designated location we'll depart for Albuquerque in the late afternoon for hotel check-in.

Dinner is in the hotel meeting room. Then we have a program closing meeting. Hotel: Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Day 15 – Closing / Departures
(B) Hotel checkout: 12:00 Noon. If you are departing from the hotel, please check out no later than 12:00 p.m.

Day 1AlbuquerqueBest Western Plus Rio Grande Inn
Day 2RoswellHampton Inn & Suites, Roswell
Day 3-4CarlsbadHampton Inn & Suites, Carlsbad
Day 5SocorroHoliday Inn Express, Socorro
Day 6GallupComfort Suites, Gallup
Day 7-8CameronCameron Trading Post & Motel
Day 9-10Mesa VerdeFar View Lodge
Day 11FarmingtonHampton Inn & Suites, Farmington
Day 12-13TaosEl Pueblo Lodge
Day 14AlbuquerqueBest Western Plus Rio Grande Inn