Great things are often found in the most unexpected places, places like Taos. The world is full of wonders, it hides the majestic pyramids under the sand, and huge monuments in the distant Eastern Islands. Roman Empire was well known, but it’s less known that Roman outposts in today’s Croatia holds the oldest cathedral in the world and that outpost is a city of Split. Many majestic beauties can be discovered around Split, hidden Blue Grotto in the clearest waters, ancient Greek ruins in distant islands. Taos is one of those places that surprisingly can offer so many from history to stunning nature, arts, smells and flavors, and experiences.
Taos is a small town in the mountains of the north-central region in New Mexico. With population little over 5,700, it is a small-sized town but it has a huge impact and contribution to the state of New Mexico. Built as an opposite of the neighboring Native American Taos Pueblo in 1795, and used as a fortified trading outpost, Taos is a great historical site that has a title of the World Heritage Site.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT TAOS
State: New Mexico/USA
Coordinates: 36°23′38″N 105°34′36″W
Area: 5.4 square miles
Elevation: 6.969 ft
Time zone: UTC-7 Mountain MTS
ZIP code: 87571
Area code: 575
Climate: Summer humid continental
Demographics: 51,9% Hispanic or Latino, 40,1% Caucasian, 5,3% Native American, 1% Asian, 0,7% African American, and 5,7% other.
Sister city: Xalisco, Nayarit-Mexico
BEST TIME TO VISIT TAOS
Since Taos is surrounded by endless wilderness and has sunny days throughout the year, the best time to visit Taos depends on your preferences. Selection is great, the Rio Grande offers many water-based activities like rafting and fishing and there are many hot springs along the river. Mountains offer horseback riding, hiking, golfing or mountain biking but the majority of visitors come for skiing. Winter is probably the best time of the year for a visit to Taos since there are multiple world-class ski resorts and the highest peak in New Mexico, a Wheeler Peak at 13,161 feet (4,011 meters). Ski resorts usually open on Thanksgiving day and accept visitors till the start of April.
GETTING TO TAOS
Taos Regional Airport has a connection with four airports; Austin and Dallas in Texas, Los Angeles (Hawthorne airport) and San Diego (Carlsbad) in California. An alternative way to get to Taos by plane is to fly to Santa Fe or Albuquerque.
Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico is the closest city to Taos so we will concentrate on how to get to Taos from Santa Fe. There are two roads and two ways to get to Taos by car. You have the faster and most direct route on ‘Low Road’ that follows the Rio Grande river, and it takes little more than an hour and 20 minutes to reach Taos. An alternative, the ‘High Road’ goes through mountains and offers amazing scenery along the way but also a little longer ride. It should take you more than half an hour extra on this road but it all depends on how many stops you do, one thing is for sure there are a lot of temptations to do that since the beauty of nature, and little hidden towns are breathtaking.
THINGS TO DO IN TAOS
VISIT HISTORICAL LANDMARKS
Taos Pueblo is the Native American community that’s been inhabited for more than 1,000 years. Multi-storied adobe buildings are the most famous and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, they are also a National Historic Landmark. Other must-see places are historic Taos Plaza, a center of local trade, San Francisco de Asis Church, and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge that is the second-highest bridge on the US highway system. If you want to explore these amazing locations without the stress, just do an organized tour that covers everything from the list.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
There are four excellent ski resorts close to Taos, and they offer a wide range of activities for every snow lover. Those are Taos Ski Resort, Red River Ski Resort, Sipapu Ski Resort, and Angel Fire Ski Resort.
TAOS SKI RESORT
There are a total of 110 trails in Taos Ski Resort and half of them are for skiing experts. If you are not skiing ‘pro’ there are 25% trails for beginners and rest is for those are with those with some knowledge in skiing. This ski resort can take up to 15,000 skiers per hour, spread across the 1,300 acres of the resort. There is plenty of snow as the average annual snowfall count around 300 inches. You can purchase a half-day, full-day, or multi-day ticket, take a private skiing lesson, and rent equipment. Guarantee for amazing experience is more than 300 sunny days a year, and there is nothing else to desire.
RED RIVER SKI RESORT
If you go little up north from Taos, to the Southern Rockies, there is a Red River Ski Resort. There is a total of 57 trails, covered with one of the best snowmaking in the region, offering an equal number of the trails for both experienced and amateur skiers. They offer plenty of activities, from skiing and snowboarding lessons, kids entertainment programs, to even wedding ceremonies.
SIPAPU SKI RESORT
If you go 20 miles southeast of Taos, you will find the oldest resort in New Mexico, a Sipapu Ski Resort. It is a little smaller, more family-friendly, ski resort but the offer is big. 41 trails ensure enough options for both professional and amateur skiers, and a great selection of lodging options at reasonable prices makes this ski resort very family-friendly.
ANGEL FIRE SKI RESORT
Last but not least, just 20 minutes to the east from Taos there is an Angel Fire Ski Resort. This ski resort not only offers winters sports but great options for the summer from extreme sports, golf, hiking, to fishing.
First thought when mentioning New Mexico would be the desert, but surprisingly Taos is a great location if you are looking for peaceful fishing. On the west from Taos, you can reach Rio Grande Gorge that is a great location for fly fishing, especially for the trout. Other great fishing locations are Red River, Conejos, Rio Costilla, and Rio de Los Pinos.
If you are looking for more adrenaline based activity then rock climbing is a great choice if you visit Taos and the Rockies. Rio Grande Gorge has a couple of great locations along with the Sangre e Cristo mountain range. Mountain Skills Rock Guides are the only professional permitted and insured school and guides in the Taos area, so it is definitely recommended to start your rock climbing exploration with the professionals.
EXPLORING THE MOUNTAINS
The endless wilderness of the area allows you endless options for exploration. You can do hiking on your own, but you can also do guided day hikes that can take you to some of the most spectacular places like Carson National Forest located in Taos Ski Valley. If you prefer to spend more than a day in the wilderness and you are not a survival expert there is a three-day camping adventure guided by the ‘Heritage Inspirations’, but if you are there are no limits. If you don’t prefer walking through the mountains you can go modern and ride a bike on numerous trails or do horseback and llama trekking. Yes, llamas and horseback rides are organized in this area, and it is exciting as it sounds.
EXPLORING THE RIVERS
If you looking for an adventure on the rivers you have the best rafting spots in the entire New Mexico in this area. You can also do kayak or paddleboard. On the other hand, you can stay still and enjoy the finest hot springs and day spas.
HOT AIR BALLOONING
Taos lies on the plateau in the high altitude between two mountain ranges and that makes it a great place for hot air ballooning. If you are not afraid of heights you can enjoy the tour from the starting point at the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge all the way to the great volcanic plains from where you can see the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Sounds exciting? Sure is!