New Mexico western routes

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by Royalwapiti, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Royalwapiti

    Royalwapiti McGillicuddy's pal

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    I am planning a trip on my KLR, I want to leave Denver and head west to Zion and other neat locations then head south to Grand Canyon to PHX.

    From PHX, after a few days rest, I want to hit some old stomping grounds, I worked a summer at the copper mine in Morenci, AZ, and I hunted elk over by Reserve, NM a few years later. So I want to revisit those areas and work my way north back to Denver.

    I am thinking a route from El Morro, east to State Road 50 north to Bluewater Lake, via Forest Road 548, up to Thoreau. This appears like it follows the continental divide, though that wasn't in my plans.

    Any suggestions on what else I see in north or western NM. And I am open to any routes you suggest to get me back to Denver. I won't have alot of time to do off-road all the way. But short routes connecting highways will be OK. Also trying to avoid the interstates.

    Thanks. All ideas welcome.
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  2. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Moved to the Rockies Forum.....
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  3. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

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    I rode through NW NM in the reverse, from Denver to Sierra Vista, AZ last September.

    Some suggestions:
    1. Look at the maps/GPS tracks for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride ("Continental Divide Ride"), and try to ride some of that route if it's dry. If it's been raining, those NM dirt roads can get pretty sloppy, especially between Grants and Cuba, NM!
    2. If you worked at the copper mine (damn, that place is big) you must know of 191 north from Clifton through Alpine, AZ :evil
    3. If you have the time, a stop by El Morro National Monument off of NM53 is a worthwhile diversion.
    4. Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway looked promising (and was recommended here on ADV), but happened to be big mud bog when I tried to go through. If it's dry, it should be a great ride.
    4. 319 through El Vado, NM and over the dam is a pretty ride. Easy dirt around the dam, and zero traffic.
    5. Heading over paved Cumbres Pass (CO17) is a beautiful ride back into Colorado.

    Have fun
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  4. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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    Not many roads in NM! The only paved head North East of I25 is 180. 191 in AZ from Clifton is a classic. I haven't done the road,159, from Glenwood East to 163 and 52 but that's possible. I'd stay West until further North depending on time of year/weather.
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  5. Royalwapiti

    Royalwapiti McGillicuddy's pal

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    Yea, I think it was called the 666 back when I was there in summer of 87. I never took it north to Alpine, every friday I got off work and raced to Phx. Went back to Clifton/Morenci late Sunday night.

    Alpine, AZ is in my plans this time.

    Some good ideas guys. I am trailering my bike to Denver from Iowa, riding across Nebraska is not in my plans.

    Anybody else?
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  6. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    It is not clear when you are going. But on a KLR there is lots of fun dirt road mountain riding in the Grants area both south and north of I-40. You can go to near the top of Mt. Taylor, but probably not until early June due to snow. Here is a gpx file with some tracks in the area from a ride we did a few years ago. We spent one day south of I-40 and one day north. There are a lot more roads than what we took, but this is what we had time for.
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  7. Colorado970

    Colorado970 Long timer

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    Hwy 191 north of Clifton is really fun. I think it was built with Model T's in mind, or right after that era - going slow and lots of switchbacks. I don't think we went over 45 mph until we got close to Alpine, I remember while riding being in 2nd and 3rd gear most of the time.

    Since it snows in June there, if you don't head east from Alpine due to snowy roads - you can head north up to Springerville and then east. There is a pretty good coffee shop with some real character locals in Springerville, called Java Blue's at 341 East Main, that was a welcome butt break.
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  8. cross-country

    cross-country .

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    Have not done it yet, but have heard good things about the Black Hills BLM Back Country Byway from Safford to Morenci. - Mostly Dirt I think?

    191 north of Morenci is a blast - Paved

    Blue River Valley Rd. (that is what I call, it don't know the actual name) from@Hannigan Meadows (Hwy 191) to Hwy 180 (approx 12mi south of Reserve). - Dirt, well maintained on AZ side, sketchy on NM side if wet.

    Good luck, I hope this helps
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  9. anomad

    anomad in storage

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  10. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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  11. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    We rode that Black Hills byway between Morenci and Safford last spring and it was a very nice alternative to the hiway. Good dirt road. There is a bridge across the Gila River so you don't have to worry about a water crossing. We also did 191 and dirt roads thru the forest from Alpine and Pie Town and NM 117 along the Maplpais just west of Grants. This was in late April and last year we only hit a little snow on dirt roads above ~9200 ft. It was a great ride. Of course that doesn't mean squat for this year. (Actually we rode this backwards on a trip from Abq to Phoenix.) On the way back we took picked up dirt roads north along the NM boarder a few miles west of Springerville and made our way east thru scenic desert ranchland over to the road between Pie Town and 117.
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  12. barko1

    barko1 barko1

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    FYI The Gila (Mtns) have 250% of average snowfall this year:lol3
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  13. cross-country

    cross-country .

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    some interesting stuff in there, got tracks?:ear
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  14. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Yes as a matter of fact. This also includes some good riding in central AZ. We did the Mogollon Rim coming back and it was pretty spectacular.
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