A local perspective

HF Holidays’ new Preview brochure  is filled with exciting walks in exotic locations and also all our new Worldwide Journeys for 2016.

Here’s a tale from a HF Holidays’ member who hails from New Mexico and is very impressed with the new itinerary.

new mexico

“As a New Mexico “native” I have spent my life exploring New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment” and the 4 corners area – New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado – the only place in the USA where 4 states share a border.

When I saw HFH was offering a walking holiday to my home turf I was both thrilled…and curious.

Would they be offering something that really showcased this exceptional part of the USA?

The answer, from my point of view, is a resounding “Yes!”.

The trip starts in my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  For those interested, this is Breaking Bad country.  The town itself is 1 mile above sea level and the Sandia Mountains (watermelon in Spanish – a sunset will reveal all) to the east rise another mile into the sky.

This is a high desert environment and the southern part of the Rocky Mountain range. Albuquerque was settled by the Spanish along the Rio Grande River and a visit to the Old Town is an option should you find the time.

There is much to do in Albuquerque if time permits: a ride up the Sandia Tram, a visit to The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, (New Mexico was where the first atomic bomb was tested and has become known as ‘The Place the Sun Rose Twice’). Do be careful though as you may find you need to adjust to the altitude.

A visit to Acoma Pueblo is a highlight but you will find the Petroglyph National Monument (ancient history buffs) and Tent Rocks (for the geologists) just as interesting.  Indeed you may have these last two sites to yourself! They are “hidden treasures” of the state.

Santa Fe, strap-lined ‘The City Different’ a few years ago (it didn’t catch on), is one of the oldest settlements in the USA. It has been sympathetically preserved. It is a town like no other and the seat of government for the state of New Mexico.

Do be warned…there are great shopping opportunities.

If you are free visit the La Fonda foyer for a taste of visiting New Mexico in the roaring 20s – and have a beverage on the rooftop terrace at sunset! Magic!

E3KNP1 A wooden ladder leads to a cliff dwelling in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA.. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.

A wooden ladder leads to a cliff dwelling in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, USA..

Bandelier National Monument is located close to “The Hill”, Los Alamos, where the “gadget” was developed during the Manhattan Project.

It remains one of the hot spots for scientific research in the USA. The monument itself features ancient pueblo (Anasazi) cliff dwellings.

This is not a heavily visited monument, tourists vying for more popular places, but with fewer visitors you can really get a sense of the place and imagine what it was all like when it was a bustling culture in 1150 CE. Dwellings are carved from volcanic cliffs and trails take you around and into many of these.

On the way to Georgia O’Keeffe and D H Lawrence country – Taos – you will be visiting Chimayo.  Catholicism is embedded in New Mexico because of the Spanish settlers (Conquistadores) and each Easter hundreds of pilgrims visit this sacred church, many walking the length of the state. For this the freeways (motorways) are sectioned off for walkers.

This is genuine New Mexico!

Taos, even higher in elevation than Santa Fe or Albuquerque at 1.5 miles above sea level, has long been a community of artists. The town, with its typical plaza, is packed full of shops – all with cultural flair and original features.

If you are a D H Lawrence devotee you may want to visit his “Forbidden Art” at La Fonda Hotel. Do remember that forbidden then was pretty tame.

The Taos Pueblo is beyond interesting. I will say no more. If you have a weakness for casinos – and I do admit to playing the 5 cent slots (3p) on occasion – gambling is legal on Indian reservations, of which Taos Pueblo is one.

Good luck!

The trip from Taos to Mesa Verde will introduce you to even more of the diverse countryside of the Southwest USA. Altitude changes mean vegetation changes due to increased rainfall.

BMBM09 Mesa Verde, New Mexico, USA

Mesa Verde, New Mexico, USA

Mesa Verde is the most famous cliff dwelling remains of the Anasazi Indians. Though at first it may appear crowded you can escape the hustle and bustle when you leave the car parks and head out on a trail. Do be warned there are ladders involved! This is a “culturally sensitive” area and leaving a trail is not an option.

Durango, Colorado was settled by miners in the Victorian era. The narrow gauge steam train will take you to places that cars cannot reach.

If you have some free time in Durango, visit Diamond Belles Saloon in the Strater Hotel. Or, spend a few minutes just sitting in the foyer which will give you a taste of what times were like here in the Wild West.

Enough is enough…you can explore the rest of Colorado on your own.

ACCOMMODATION: some of the places are right where the action is:

On this HFH holiday you’ll spend 2 nights at the Inn of the Governors in Santa Fe, located in downtown Santa Fe whereas many other tours stay down the Cerrillos Road which is miles from the action.

For 1 night, in Taos, you’ll stay at El Monte Sagrado resort. Natural surroundings meet total luxury at this Native American Indian inspired oasis – it doesn’t get any better than this!

Far View Lodge, Mesa Verde – INSIDE!!! the park. Say no more!

I’m unable to review Colorado hotels as I have not been there.

The food of the Southwest is unique and has been copied in countries around the world. Chilli features: you can select green or red … or a mix of both called Christmas. Ask the wait staff which is the hottest and make your choice.”

Thank you Nancy for your local insight into one of HF Holidays’ new 2016 Worldwide Journeys. We’re delighted that once again HFH have put together a worthy itinerary.


For more information about HF Holidays’ New Mexico & Colorado holiday call 0345 470 8558, visit the HF Holidays website or email their travel experts.

Book and pay in full for your 2016 Worldwide Journey by 11 September 2015 to receive 5% off your holiday price.


About hfholidays

We're the experts of outdoor holidays world. We've over 100 years’ experience and have been recognised by Which? the consumer champion as one of their recommended holiday providers for three years running.
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