How much time doyouwant to take?
Along the freeway, the answer is “no.”
But you can set off at Cochiti and see the dam, lake and tent rocks.
Or take the longer Turquiose Trail with stops at Sandia Peak and Madrid or vía Jemez , Valle de las calderas and Maybe Bandelier.
The little town of Madrid along the way is probably the most common (but not only) stop that people make. Galleries, shops, eateries. http://www.visitmadridnm.com/ I've been told that the Mineshaft Tavern is THE place to eat and personally will be checking it out in August.
As you come towards the end of the Turquoise Trail, you could make a lovely detour up to Sandia Crest via the Sandia Crest Scenic Byway. https://scenicbyways.info/byway/2086.html http://www.sandiacresthouse.com/ You'll just need $3 (cash) for parking at the top. Almost identical views as when you take the Tramway from the west side of Sandia Peak...and a lot cheaper!
On the way up is the unique little museum called Tinkertown. tinkertown.com/
As you continue back down and then get on your way again to ABQ you'll come to the little town of Cedar Crest. Here you'll find Burger Boy. They make an excellent green chile cheeseburger.
The Turquoise Trail was always my favorite when I lived in NM. The highway is boring driving compared to that.
thanks so much, i will look into doing these options!!
To drive down from ABQ to SF the attractions mentioned by Kthsch are in reverse. You catch the Trail by driving east on the I-40 out of ABQ, the exit is at Tijeras and is also called the #14. From there you will be driving along the east side of the Sandia Mountains and up and through some rather hilly country before you arrive at Madrid. After that the road flattens out as you get closer to SF. If you stay on the Turquoise Trail, it turns into Cerrillos Road...the main entrance to SF. There are a lot of hotels and cafes along that road. It eventually leads you right to the Railyard/Guadalupe and Plaza area when you follow the big signs.
Madrid and Cerrillos are the farthest north along that road and closest to SF. Cerrillos is where the original Turquoise Mine was located. The town has gotten better in the last couple of years and is quite interesting.. It has a funky but interesting Rock Shop and lately a very nice Village Center called the Cerrillos Station. That addition to town really surprised us. The Gallery inside was to us, more interesting than some of the shops in Madrid. Excellent art gallery/gift shop and natural food store.
Madrid & Cerrillos have also used as a set for a lot of movies. If you are fans of Longmire, the Mine Shaft Tavern was used in the pilot and later became the model for the Red Pony Bar and Grill. http://www.cerrillosnewmexico.com/movies
Scroll down the web page after you read about Madrid and there are links to the other attractions on the Turquoise Trail. turquoisetrail.org/stops/…
The freeway is quicker and is actually quite pretty if you have never seen New Mexico countryside before...you eventually pass over a hill and Santa Fe appears nestled up against the mountains in the valley below.
If you are hikers of course the Tent Rocks/Kasha Katuwe area is a geologic wonder which has the huge tents and a small slot canyon. Nearby is the Cochiti Lake with its nice picnic areas and suprisingly, just beyond that a really nice Championship Golf Course...which also has a pretty good cafe in the club house area. http://www.cochitigolfclub.com
DIRECTIONS TO TENT ROCKS
From Albuquerque, head north on I-25 and take the exit for Santo Domingo/Cochiti Lake Recreation Area (Exit 259) off I-25 onto NM 22. Follow the signs on NM 22 to Cochiti Pueblo and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
From Santa Fe, head south on I-25 and take the Cochiti Pueblo Exit 264 off I-25 onto NM 16. Turn right off NM 16 onto NM 22, and follow the signs to Cochiti Pueblo and the National Monument.
***Note, following the GPS coordinates may take you through tribal lands that are not accessible. Please follow the directions above and access the Monument from I-25.
If returning via the freeway after your SF visit, stop at the Santo Domingo Pueblo gas stations just off the freeway exit 259. It has always had the least expensive gas in the entire area by quite a lot. Its nice if you need to fill up your rental car tank and want to save some $$.Edited: 14 June 2018, 00:16
Whoops! Thanks for catching that Mary Ellen! I read the original post wrong. Mea culpa.
I would check with the Cibola National Forest with regards to closures due to fire danger. It could be that the Crest highway might close. Call 505-346-3900 for information.
Yes the Sandia Crest road will be closed about 1/2 mile up from Tinkertown. You can still visit Tinkertown which will be open!!
thanks for all those updates - good to know - I understand that state park trails are closed but national are open. is that correct?
Only 3 state parks have closed (Hyde Memorial near Santa Fe, Cimarron Canyon SP, due to forest fire in area and Fenton Lake SP) Manzano Mountains SP is scheduled to close Friday June 15.
National Parks and Monuments are all open with the backcountry areas of Pecos NHP, Bandelier NM and Valles Caldera Preserve closed.
National Forests that are closed now are Santa Fe NF and on Friday June 15 portions of Cibola NF including Mountainair, Sandia, and Mount Taylor Ranger Districts. The drive to the top of Sandia Crest will be closed about 1/2 mile up from Tinkertown, which is open.