Taos, New Mexico

Written by on March 16, 2016 in NM Cities, Dining, Lodging - 1 Comment

Taos, New Mexico has been a popular stopping place, not just recently, but for over 6,000 years, thanks in part to the Rio Grande River. The Taos valley was created, not by the river, but by a separation in the earth’s crust by faulting and other earth movements around 29 million years ago. The Rio Grande River followed the path of least resistance into the rift valley, making the surrounding area a sort of oasis in an arid land.
Nomadic hunter-gatherers stopped in the area for periods of time leaving behind arrowheads, potsherds and pictographs. Then came the Anasazi or Ancestral Pueblo people, who first build pit houses, and then began huge construction projects — including the giant, five-story Taos Pueblo apartment complex that housed as many as 600 people, and which is still inhabited today. In 1598, the Spanish settled the area, calling it Nuevo Mexico. Once New Mexico came into American hands, the Santa Fe Trail brought a flood of travelers from the East into the area. Today, Taos is a popular tourist destination with amazing scenery, wonderful outdoor activities, fine dining, exquisite shopping and more.

There are many reasons why New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment and why Taos, New Mexico in particular, is an enchanting place to visit. Nearly non-stop sunshine, colorful artwork, century old adobes, and celebrated red and green chilis are among the state’s charms. Today, Taos is a mix of Pueblo Indian, Spanish and Anglo peoples. Each culture has traditions and festivals dating back hundreds or even thousands of years, so you will have many opportunities to experience the rich textures and traditions of each people when you visit Taos.

Art is an essential element of Taos and is inspired by the towering mountains, vast plains and infinite blue skies. Artists are struck by the quality of light and the quality of life in Taos and so are drawn to the area. The Taos Historic District, the heart of Taos, is home to numerous shops and galleries. As you browse through the shops, keep an eye out for Taos-made products. Home to over 1,000 artists and musicians, and over 80 unique galleries, Taos County is rich with art.

History is also a large part of the makeup of Taos. It takes time to explore nearly 1,000 years of history and enjoy the many historical sites that still stand. Popular destinations include Taos Pueblo, historic Taos Plaza, Governor Bent Museum and Gallery, Kit Carson Park and Cemetery, as well as San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.

Taos, New Mexico also offers a wide variety of outdoor activities from skiing to hiking, mountain biking to river rafting. Mountain bikers will love the 27-mile South Boundary Trail or the West Rim Trail, which follows the Rio Grande Gorge for nine scenic miles. River rafting in Taos is outstanding — enjoy class IV rapids in the Taos box or just relax on a gentle float trip. Horseback riding and llama trekking are also popular summer activities as is flyfishing for Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout. Just about anywhere you turn, you’ll find amazing, scenic hiking trails. And in winter, Taos Ski Valley offers a wide range of winter adventures — from skiing to snowshoeing.

You can also take in the beauty of the area by car. The Enchanted Circle is the most popular driving tour. This National Forest Scenic Byway circles Wheeler Peak, elevation 13,161 feet. Throughout the drive, you’ll see some of the oldest rocks in the southwest as well as magnificent panoramic views of the area. Look for special Enchanted Circle markers to help guide your way.

Taos, New Mexico offers dozens of places to stay, from Bed & Breakfasts, to traditional hotels and motels, and more unique lodges and vacation rentals. More than 50 restaurants are prepared to appease your hunger, and Taos was organic before organic was cool. This is the place to visit if you want to enjoy true southwestern flavor. In Taos, chili can be green or red, hot or mild. If you can’t decide which one to try, ask for “Christmas,” which is Taos’ word for a combination of red and green chilis.

The shopping in Taos is outstanding. Of course, the primary focus is on art. You’ll find handmade Native American jewelry, pottery, rugs, paintings, sculptures and much more. But that isn’t all, you’ll delight in exploring the home furnishings that are offered, as well as the candles and clothing and most especially the unique food items and spices you can find in Taos to take home with you.

The town of Taos, New Mexico sits at 6,967 feet. During the summer months, the average high temperature is in the lows 80s, while winter daytime temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. Summer thunderstorms are common and the mountains tend to breed weather, especially during Monsoon season. In the winter, Taos may get anything from a dusting of snow to large snowstorms which drop a foot or more, which is one reason why Taos Ski Valley is a popular place for winter sports.

Taos, New Mexico
1139 Paseo del Pueblo Sur
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Phone: 575-758-3873 or 800-348-0696

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