Western Trips

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fun Travel in the Mountain West

The U.S Mountain West states offer some of the best and most diverse travel experiences in North America.

arizona travel
The mountain and desert geography gives every tourist abundant opportunities for great photos as well as terrific hiking adventures. In a lot of ways, the mountain west is all about the outdoors.

Yes, things have changes since the days of the Old West but most of the Old West towns, many you may already have heard of have survived and their history has survived with them as well. You'll still be able to taste the Old West lifestyle and add to it the great travel stops found in the big cities of Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake City and more.

Below you'll find the kind of fun travel sites to add to your next road trip out west. We've listed interesting travel stops in the states of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. These are just a small sampling of sites. You'll find many additional western U.S. travel stops on this website westerntrips.blogspot.com  and also on www.tripsintohistory.com

southwest travel sites
Arizona's old west includes towns such as Prescott, Yuma, Tucson, Tombstone, Benson and more. Arizona is the Grand Canyon state and in addition to the breathtaking views there you can enjoy a scenic train ride between Williams and the Grand Canyon South Rim on the famous Grand Canyon Railroad. Here you can ride along 45 miles of track laid back in the 1800's during the great mining days of Colorado.

Tucson's rich old west history will call for a stroll through Old Town with it's historic buildings. Old Tucson is Where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive! Just to the west of Tucson is the Old Tucson Studios where many a western movie was filmed. Old Tucson Studios today is a theme park just west of Tucson, adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western section of Saguaro National Park.

Prescott, which at one time was the capital of the old Arizona Territory, is rich in old west history and was a major destination of old Arizona stage coaches. 


Aside from the mile high city of Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo...the state has a rich history of mining with many of these old mining towns still in existence. In the southwest portion of the state is Durango with it's beautiful mountains, horse back riding, and the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Ride this historic train on 45 miles of rails originally laid in 1882 between the mining town of Silverton and the railroad-built town of Durango.

colorado travel list
Alamosa is a two and one half hour drive north of Santa Fe New Mexico which makes it a good addition while visiting in Santa Fe.

Where the early railroad laid rails to, in many instances, decided what towns prospered and what towns faded away. In the case of Alamosa, the real engine of growth was the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad which built to it in June of 1878 from Garland Colorado to the east and eventually continued onward. Alamosa, which means cottonwood in Spanish, is the place to stay when visiting nearby attractions including the Great Sand Dunes National Park which is located about thirty-eight miles northeast of town.

New Mexico 

Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos have long been popular travel destinations. Albuquerque which is the largest city in the state has a very interesting Old Town area, just west of present day downtown, and features many historic buildings and sites as well as a great selection of restaurants. Add to that the Sandia Peak Tramway just north of the city and you'll be assured a fun visit.

santa fe things to do
Santa Fe, the City Different, is the state capital with it's historic Plaza. Add to that Loretta Chapel, St Francis Basilica and terrific museums. Shopping is great and you'll find some of the finest dining and hotels in the state.

Taos is a city that inspires, amazes, and captures the hearts of all who visit this scenic mountain town. Taos has a scenic Plaza lines with shops and restaurants. Visit the old home of Kit Carson who called Taos his home. Today the home is a terrific museum displaying artifacts from Kit Carson and the old Taos days. Another good stop is the old Charles Bent House, once owned by the first governor of the New Mexico Territory, and now an interesting museum. Just north of town is the Taos Pueblo. Taos Pueblo is  a living Native American community located at the base of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  It is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

southern new mexico travelMesilla is located next to Las Cruces and is both the most visited old community in southern New Mexico as well as one of the most historic. Mesilla's location placed it in the direct path of many historical events of the mid 1800's including the American Civil War. 

Mesilla's distance from the old Territorial capital at Santa Fe and the more populated northern New Mexico area meant that lawlessness was a major factor to contend with not to mention a running battle with various Apache tribes. Mesilla was also a stop during the days of the Butterfield Stage Route between St. Louis and San Francisco

Silver City sits atop a site that has been home to Native American, Hispanic and Anglo settlers for hundreds of years. The town was named Silver City because rich deposits of chloride silver were discovered just west of town during the 1870's. Silver City is the site of two historic district downtown hotels. One is named The Palace Hotel and the other The Murray Hotel. Lots of historic buildings including the unique Silver City Museum will be found along with good dining choices and shopping. 

(Photos and article copyright Western Trips)