- Silver City
- Santa Fe
Admire the cacti-studded scenery of southern Arizona, exploring Saguaro National Park.
Enjoy scenic drives through forests, deserts and mountains.
Learn all about the Ancestral Puebloan tribes with visits to their ancient cliff dwellings.
Discover the region's Spanish heritage in Santa Fe and visit old mining towns.
What our specialists say...
This self-drive itinerary takes you on a lesser-explored route through Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, taking in a variety of landscapes, from dusty, cactus-strewn desert to green forests and craggy mountains. Along the way, you have time to discover the fascinating culture of the region’s Ancestral Puebloan tribes, whose ancient cliff dwellings can still be seen today. A stay in the 16th-century Spanish town of Santa Fe provides a glimpse into the area’s colonial past, while visits to former mining towns long-abandoned are a reminder of the industry that has come and gone.
We recommend this trip for:
- Silver City
- Santa Fe
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Day 1 Scottsdale
International outbound flight , Phoenix , Scottsdale
Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Phoenix. On arrival in Phoenix, collect your hire car and make your way to your accommodation in nearby Scottsdale. The remainder of the day is free to relax after your flight or, depending on your time of arrival, begin exploring the town's shops and restaurants.
Day 2 Scottsdale
Enjoy a full day in Scottsdale. You may wish to go walking in the surrounding mountains, browse downtown Scottsdale, or simply relax around the swimming pool. The Phoenix Art Museum in Scottsdale contains an excellent collection of exhibits from the USA and further afield, or you could head to the nearby Desert Botanical Gardens to admire a variety of trees and plants native to deserts around the world.
Day 3 Tucson
Scottsdale , Tucson
Drive south to Tucson, a journey of just over two hours. Along the way you pass Saguaro National Park, which is well worth visiting to see its many large Saguaro cacti. Tucson itself was once a colonial outpost for both the Spanish and Mexicans, as well as having a rich Native American history. On arrival, take in the city's turn-of-the-century architecture and perhaps pay a visit to one of its museums to learn about its varied history. You may also wish to see pre-Columbian and other art at the Tucson Art Museum.
Day 4 Tucson
You have a whole day to explore the Tucson area. You could visit the 18th-century San Xavier del Bac Mission, visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum or drive 112 km (70 miles) to We recommend driving to the atmospheric Wild West town of Tombstone, where there's a daily re-enactment of an 1881 gun fight.
Day 5 Silver City
Tucson , Silver City
Travel east from Tucson and cross into New Mexico. You then travel through the Gila National Forest to the historic mining town of Silver City. The total journey time is around three and a half hours. Once in Silver City, explore the old streets lined with buildings from the late 19th-century mining period.
Day 6 Silver City
Spend a full day exploring Silver City, following in the legendary footsteps of Kit Carson and Billy the Kid. From Silver City you can take a scenic drive to explore the fascinating Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, set in a dramatic location overlooking the Gila River Canyon. On the way up don't miss a stop at historic Pinos Altos to visit the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House.
Day 7 Albuquerque
Silver City , Albuquerque
We recommend you take the longer, scenic route on your drive today from Silver City to Albuquerque. This four and a half hour drive takes you over impressive mountain ranges and through the Apache National Forest. Don't miss a visit to the ghost town of Kelly en route. This evening, Albuquerque's many restaurants and live music venues beckon.
Day 8 Santa Fe
After discovering Albuquerque's Route 66 heritage, drive two hours north to Santa Fe. You may wish to explore one of New Mexico's fascinating Ancestral Puebloan villages on the way. Santa Fe itself is one of the USA's oldest cities, founded by Spanish missionaries in the early 17th century. Once you arrive, we suggest exploring the city on foot, taking in the adobe houses and baroque churches and paying a visit to the modern museums and art galleries.
Day 9 Santa Fe
The day is yours to continue exploring Santa Fe. Don't miss the Palace of the Governors, the old Central Plaza, the San Miguel Mission and the Barrio de Analco (historic district) where you can see one of the oldest houses in the country.
Day 10 Taos
Santa Fe , Taos
Travel two and a half hours north past the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Taos, which lies close to some of the USA's most impressive Ancestral Puebloan dwelling sites, which you may wish to stop at along the way. You could also stop by the mountain village of Chimayo to see the Spanish colonial church of Santuario de Chimayo, built in 1816.
- The Taos Inn
Day 11 Taos
Enjoy a day to immerse yourself in the native American communities of Taos. Adobe buildings here have been in continual use as residences by native Americans for over 1,000 years and many of today's residents have made few concessions to the modern world, making this a fascinating place to visit.
- The Taos Inn
Day 12 Alamosa
Day 13 International return flight
Alamosa , International return flight
Take the four-hour drive from Alamosa to Denver. At the airport, drop off your hire car before boarding your onward flight.
Day 14 International return flight
International return flight
Arrive home today to complete your journey.
Contact a specialist
The specialist who designs your trip to the USA will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.Watch our tailor-made process ›
When to go
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