ABQ to the Petrified Forest
We stopped in ABQ (Albuquerque) for only a few days, it started to feel too big and empty (weirdly...maybe because most folks were inside/inside their cars and not outside) for our taste. The city is backed up against the Sandia Mountains... Spanish for Watermelon, referring to the pinkish color the mountains take on during sunsets, wowzas! The mountains are extremely close to town offering a quick and easy escape from city life. Want to immerse yourself? You can hike (full list here) or take the Sandia Peak Tramway for a 15 minute ride through the mountains or both actually. Our goal was to hike up the Pino Trail (9mi) to the Crest Trail (2mi) and take the Tram back down near the parking lot. However, we did not pick the best day for the trek and ended up hiking into a rain storm and turned around halfway. Let us know if you make the whole trek! We also heard great things about the La Luz Trail (14mi) ... this one also makes it easy for you to hike up and take the Tram down.
We explored the area mostly by bike which is one thing we really enjoyed about this city. There are over 400 miles of designated bike routes and they are very well marked (digital map). Even if you don't feel comfortable biking on the roads or prefer to walk/run, the Paseo del Bosque Trail is a must do. The 16 mile (consecutive... no traffic lights) multi use trail runs right along the Rio Grande. There are several spots for access along the trail but only a few offer parking, we recommend access at Marquez St. Make sure to detour to Nob Hill (where most of the nightlife/shopping takes place) and the historic Old Town.
Also worth a visit is the Petroglyph National Monument is on the Northwest side of town. We decided to spend an afternoon hiking two of their maybe five trails. Rinconada Trail has up to 300 petroglyphs visible and Piedras Marcadas Canyon trail has up to 400 petroglyphs for exploration.
And onto the breweries... a few years back, ABQ was named "one of the most unexpected brewery cities in the U.S." Our favorites:
- Marble Brewery - make sure to try the Double White and Red Ale... Visit their tap room on the West Side on Tuesdays and order from Ironwood Kitchen for $1 Tacos AND/OR visit them on Sunday for "Poses & Pints"... an hour yoga session followed by a discounted brew.
- La Cumbre Brewing Co. - get a flight and enjoy their Angry Belgian, Elevated IPA, Red Ryeot, Project Dank and Citrus Pale. You can also get your Sunday Yoga zen on here and namaste for a pint (starts at 10:45am).
- Green Jeans Farmery - community of repurposed shipping containers, opened in Feb 2016 and full of delicious local juice, food, beer and cocktail options.
One final (and very unexpected) stop was to The Stage (casino). Every Thursday night they host comedians for $10/person. Of course we grabbed a coupon in the local paper for a two for one offer... we couldn't pass up a $10 comedy night. PS: don't go hungry... food is not that good, expensive and super small portions. Comedians were decent and the venue was better than we expected.
ABQ wasn't our favorite city but others have 50 reasons to make the stop.
On our way to Flagstaff, AZ we decided to make a pit stop at the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert... stayed two nights at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop for FREE (yes)! No hookups but it is located right outside the south end of the National Park. Highly recommended for RV campers exploring the park. List of hiking trails here, you can probably tackle all of them in a day if you are really feeling it. Stop at the visitors center to see dinosaur fossils and more!