The Most Luxurious Road Trip in the West - Fauna Travel

The Most Luxurious Road Trip in the West

Take a Grand Canyon day trip via helicopter from Amangiri / Jason Thompson / Unsplash

11 Days

There is something about the landscape of the American West that is best enjoyed from the open road. This luxury driving itinerary takes you across New Mexico, through Southern Colorado, and into the canyon lands of Utah. En route, you will see some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, soak in a private hot spring, and explore the rich history and culture of the region. Your car is waiting in Albuquerque for an incredible road trip that culminates in a stay at Amangiri Resort in Utah.

En route you will see some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, soak in a private hot spring, and explore the rich history and culture of the region.

Your custom travel playlist includes music by R. Carlos Nakai
R. Carlos Nakai is a master of the Native American Flute and his ethereal songs evoke the original sounds and deep history of the American Southwest.

Day 1-2: Albuquerque

Los Poblanos Inn and Historic Site

Albuquerque is a natural starting point for a southwest road trip because of its major airport, but New Mexico’s biggest draw is the food and the landscapes.

Los Poblanos Inn lavender fields / Courtesy of Los Poblanos

We suggest starting your trip with a short stay at Los Poblanos Inn and Farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. You can pick up your car, relax at the hotel, and dine at their amazing farm-to-table restaurant. It’s only 15 minutes from the airport, but it feels like it’s out in the country. Take a dip in the pool followed by dinner and drinks.

Day 2-4: Santa Fe

Bishop’s Lodge

Wake up with another meal at the restaurant–the chilaquiles are the best we’ve ever had. Stock up on supplies at the farm store and drive an hour north to Santa Fe for your stay at Bishop’s Lodge, an Auberge property that is perfectly placed to explore both the old town and the trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. Settle in and explore the hiking trails around the property before dinner.

Hiking at Bishops Lodge / Courtesy of Auberge Resorts luxury New Mexico nature lodge

Spend the following day on one of Bishop Lodge’s excursions into the adjacent Santa Fe National Forest. Options include longer hikes, horseback riding, mountain biking, or fly fishing. On your last day in New Mexico, explore the historic old town of Santa Fe. There are a variety of shops and restaurants, so we’ll help you narrow down your list and make dinner reservations.

Day 5-7: Southern Colorado

Dunton Hot Springs

The next phase of the trip is focused on the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado–specifically Dunton Hot Springs, the best hot springs hotel in the United States. Getting there requires a day of driving through scenic Ancestral Puebloan and current Navajo and Apache lands. Over the next few days, you can lose yourself and reconnect with nature at this relaxing mountain hideaway.

Potter House / Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs luxury nature lodge United States Colorado
Potter House / Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs

Start your drive after breakfast–Bishop’s Lodge will prepare a picnic for you to take on the road. Drive an hour west to the historic cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument, and stretch your legs with a short hike. Drive another five hours through Durango and Dolores to Dunton, a former mining town that has been transformed into a hot springs resort. Spend the rest of the day soaking in the springs.

Bath House / Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs luxury nature lodge United States Colorado

Spend your first full day at Dunton hiking to walk off the drive and get a feel for the property. Rest your tired legs in the hot springs again at the end of the day. On your final day choose one of the many activities on offer at Dunton – from horseback riding to mountain biking, fishing, and winter sports when in season.

We’ve sent you some reading material including, In Search of the Old Ones
In Search of the Old Ones by David Roberts is part history book, part hiking adventure. It chronicles the fascinating history of the first peoples of the Southwest as well as follows the author along on his various canyoneering and hiking expeditions into the desert. View on Amazon

Day 8-10: Southern Utah


This trip is building to a climax as you prepare to drive down from the mountains and into the canyon lands along the Utah-Arizona border. The scenery is incomparably beautiful here. Colorful mesas, deep canyons, and expansive views greet you at every turn. Your destination is the transcendent Amangiri Resort.

Amangiri luxury hotels, outdoors, nature
Amangiri / Wynn Myers

Drive five hours west through the incredible scenery of southern Utah to the hotel. Stops at Hovenweep historic site or Monument Valley are recommended en route. Just west of Page, Arizona near Lake Powell is an inconspicuous turn for Amangiri. The resort is hidden away on over 900 acres of sagebrush, hoodoos, and buttes. All of the buildings are a modernist interpretation of indigenous architecture and blend naturally into the landscape.

Spend your first full day at Amangiri hiking the miles of trails that cover the property. With the cliffs of Grand Staircase Escalante as a distant backdrop, it will feel like you have a National Park all to yourself. More adventurous travelers will want to try climbing the large via feratta climbing course.

The following day, use Amangiri as a base for exploring the major National Parks of the Colorado Plateau. A helicopter can pick you up at the resort and take you to the Grand Canyon or Zion for the day. If you want to eschew a helicopter ride, tours of nearby slot canyons, like Antelope and Owl Canyon are also available.

We suggest pumping the brakes at the end of your trip and taking the final day here slowly. Amangiri has a world-class spa and picturesque pool. Get a massage, lounge by the pool, eat good food, and think about all of the places you’ve been.

Day 11: Driving Home

Let’s be honest–anything after Amangiri will be a letdown. Still, it’s a four-hour drive to the Las Vegas airport, and you can still have a little fun on your way home. The scenery is great on this leg of the drive, and optional stops along the way include Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, and Valley of Fire State Park.

Consider adding an additional story element to your trip.
Try visiting multiple Ancestral Puebloan historic sites on your drive to get a feel for the reach of their civilization. History enthusiasts may want to add an extra day or two to their itinerary between Santa Fe and Dunton to stop at either Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde en route to Dunton, Colorado. These are two of the most impressive ruins in the Southwest. There are unfortunately no 4-5 star hotels in the area, but there are plenty of suitable places to rest your head for the night in Durango. There are also other notable sites in Arizona if you choose to fly out of Phoenix instead of Las Vegas.

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park / Wallace Bentt / Unsplash
Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park / Wallace Bentt / Unsplash

Itinerary Map

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