Running trips in the sunny Southwest

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 20-26, 1997
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Running trips in the sunny Southwest

Running trips in the sunny Southwest
Question: My fiance and I are trying to decide where to go for our one-week honeymoon (May 24-31). We are both runners who enjoy active vacations in beautiful locations. Between us we have been to Colorado, Montana, California, the Northeast, the Southeast, Europe, and the Caribbean. We would like to go somewhere domestic that offers beautiful scenery and a variety of activities with some comforts. Do you have a good suggestion?

Ann McCool
Atlanta, GA

The Southwest is a haven for runners, climbers, and sun-loving adventurers
Adventure Adviser: You guys don't give me many options because, between the two of you, you've already traveled most of the United States!

My first suggestion is to do a variation of a theme that you've already done before. It's great to discover a new place together on your honeymoon, but in all honesty, the wedding is so exhausting it's hard to find the energy to do much more than lie on a beach blanket for a few days and let it soak in that you just got hitched.

But if you really want to explore, I'd suggest the mystical, magical, sunset-hued land of the Southwest. You could fly into Arizona, New Mexico, or Utah, rent a car and do an inn-to-inn road trip, stopping at all of the amazingly scenic vistas crowded into one dense region.

You could hike the Grand Canyon, rent kayaks at Lake Powell, rent mountain bikes at Moab, go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, and spend a day or two camping in America's newest national monument — the Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah.

You could even head down to Arizona and totally pamper yourself with a few days at a spa in Sedona. Then you could make your way to Santa Fe and eat some of the finest meals that will ever touch your taste buds — I highly recommend Geronimo on Canyon Road.

Actually, to give you a more specific itinerary, fly into Albuquerque, drive up to Santa Fe and spend the night at the Don Gaspar Compound. Go to Ten Thousand Waves for a massage and then to Geronimo for dinner.

The next day drive to Durango and stay at the Blue Mountain Ranch in Hesperus, right outside of Durango — ask for the Mountain View suite. From there, drive the half-hour to Mesa Verde National Park, take in the sights and move on toward Moab, where there is a great bed-and-breakfast owned by the mayor.

In Moab, rent bikes for a day or two and hit the slickrock trails. From there, drive through Bryce and Zion National Park and either camp or make your way to Flagstaff or Sedona, eventually looping back to Albuquerque.

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