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Route options Santa Fe to Austin


Well-known member
Feb 10, 2022
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Almost southern Oregon
I am riding from the west coast to Austin Texas next month. Leaving around the 20th and arriving around the 5th of May.
I have a solid plan until about Santa Fe then it just goes all straight. Is there any chance of an interesting road from somewhere in New Mexico to Austin.
Depending on the weather and how much dinking around I do in Utah, I doubt I’ll have enough time to go as far south as Big Bend, but it is possible.
I can do some smooth fast dirt, but I will be on a heavily loaded 1290 running that section solo, so nothing to silly.
Bonus points for good camping and or Mtn biking
Only spending a day or two in Austin then tucking tail and heading west, so I really need two routes.
Thanks in advance
As you approach Amarillo be sure and stop at Cadillac Ranch.
A few miles down the road be sure to stop at the Big Texan for a steak, you can also rent a room for the night if you are not camping every night.

When you get past Amarillo, make sure you find time to ride down into Palo Duro canyon.
When you climb back out , exit Palo Duro and turn right, and make your way to Combine City.

might not be the offroad adventure you are after, but Those are nice places to see as you ride by.
US-84 north to either NM-503 to NM-76 to Vadito or NM-76 to Vadito then either NM-518 to Taos then US-64 East to Capulin then US-87 South to Clayton then US-87 to Austin OR
better still
NM-518 from Vadito to Las Vegas, NM then NM-104 to Tucumcari, NM then I-40 to Vega, TX then south on US-385 to Big Spring, TX then US-87 to Austin.

IMHO the Cadiliac Ranch is not worth the bad smells and traffic headaches of Amarillo and running the gauntlet of political and religious nuts hawking their wares outside the gates of the Ranch. YMMV
I've never had a bad experience at the Ranch (when east bound ) or the Steakhouse (when Westbound)
Ride Texas Magazine listed Cadillac Ranch as one of the top 5 roadside attractions in Texas, and where else can you do some graffiti for fun and not get bounced for it?
Weekends can be busy at both place, if so just avoid them.

If headed as far north as Taos, then you might consider the upper loop thru Red River, some trails up there too in RR, and then to Angel Fire and then SE again.
Elephant Rock trail might me too much for a 1290, but there are sxs trails that are big bike ok

2021-08-30 11.58.45.jpg
Thanks guys.
I’ll dig into those route options. Palo Duro canyon shows some mountain bike trails, so that’s on the list one direction or the other
I doubt Angels Fire and the Taos area will be snow free by the time of my trip but I might take a look on the way home.
I’ll check out the road suggestions latter thanks again.
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