12 days in Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Carlsbad Caverns National Park Itinerary

12 days in Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Carlsbad Caverns National Park Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Carlsbad Caverns National Park Itinerary

Start: Albuquerque
bus:  1​h
1
Santa Fe
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h
2
Albuquerque
— 7 nights
Fly + taxi:  5​h 15​min
3
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
— 2 nights
taxi + Fly:  5​h 15​min
End: Albuquerque

2
nights
Santa Fe

Santa Fe ©
Santa Fe continuously ranks among the world's top holiday destinations, attracting visitors with its unusual combination of scenic beauty, rich history, cultural diversity, and high concentration of performing arts venues, fine restaurants, and interesting attractions.
On the 27th (Wed), take in breathtaking views at Bandelier National Monument and then take in the awesome beauty at Jemez Mountains.

To see ratings, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, read our Santa Fe itinerary maker.

Albuquerque to Santa Fe is an approximately 1-hour car ride. You can also take a train; or take a shuttle. Traveling from Albuquerque in September, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Santa Fe, with lows of 50°F. You'll set off for Carlsbad Caverns National Park on the 29th (Fri).

Things to do in Santa Fe

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Jemez Mountains, Bandelier National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Bandelier National Monument ©
Bandelier National Monument

7
nights
Albuquerque

Albuquerque ©
Albuquerque remains one of the state's secret jewels, as its tourist attractions are often overshadowed by the more popular holiday destination of Santa Fe.
Your list of things to see and do now includes Santa Fe National Forest, Albuquerque Old Town, San Felipe de Neri Church, and other attractions. Take a break from the city and head to La Luz Trail and Petroglyph National Monument. Explore hidden gems such as The Stables at Tamaya and Skip Maisel's Indian Jewelry. Next up on the itinerary: admire the majestic nature at Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, take an in-depth tour of New Mexico Steam Locomotive, look for all kinds of wild species at Cibola National Forest, and learn more about the world around you at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

For other places to visit, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Albuquerque travel planner.

Drive from Carlsbad Caverns National Park to Albuquerque in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight. Traveling from Carlsbad Caverns National Park in October, expect nights in Albuquerque to be about the same, around 48°F, while days are little chillier, around 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Albuquerque

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Santa Fe National Forest, The Stables at Tamaya
Highlights from your plan
Santa Fe National Forest ©
Santa Fe National Forest
New Mexico Jeep Tours ©
New Mexico Jeep Tours
La Luz Trail ©
La Luz Trail

2
nights
Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park ©
The canyons, cacti, and thorny bushes of the southern New Mexico desert hide one of the U.S.'s great subterranean geological wonders, Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Fri): Head underground at King's Palace, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Bottomless Pit. On the 7th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the dramatic scenery at Sitting Bull Falls.

For ratings, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, go to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Albuquerque to Carlsbad Caverns National Park by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and car. When traveling from Albuquerque in October, plan for somewhat warmer days in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, with highs around 80°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 50°F. On the 8th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive back home.

Things to do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Parks Nature

Side Trip

Sitting Bull Falls
Highlights from your plan
King's Palace ©
King's Palace
Sitting Bull Falls ©
Sitting Bull Falls
Bottomless Pit ©
Bottomless Pit

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