New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment. The state has plenty of beautiful scenery, but none as gorgeous as that found along the appropriately named Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. This loop connects Taos, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Red River and Questa and circles most of the tallest mountains in New Mexico, including Wheeler Peak, the highest point in the state.
Along the way, there are dozens of things to see and do, both summer and winter. The area contains three major ski resorts, a couple of old gold camps, Eagle Nest Lake, the Merino Valley, Palo Flechado and Bobcat Passes. During the winter months, enjoy alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and tubing. During the summer, visitors can play golf, go mountain biking, river rafting, horseback riding, hiking, camping, fishing or take a ski lift or balloon ride for a bird’s eye view.
The Enchanted Circle also contains much of the New Mexico’s old West culture and history. Travelers can visit Elizabethtown, the abandoned county seat of Colfax County. Meander through its ruins and learn more about its founding and history at the Elizabethtown Museum. Taos and the Pueblo de Taos Indian Reservation offer guests a glimpse at this history and heritage of the First People to settle the region. Pueblo de Taos is an unchanged Indian adobe village and you can explore the village’s historic plaza, its buildings and its side streets. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park is a moving and wonderful tribute to those who fought in Southeast Asia. San Francisco de Asis church is a beautiful a timeless place of adobe walls and lovely architecture.
But the real reason to enjoy the Enchanted Circle is to enjoy the stunning scenery, including the Taos Gorge Bridge, Carson State Forest, Eagle Nest Lake, Cimarron Canyon and Rio Grande Gorge. Stunning mountain vistas, lakes, streams, dense forests and open grasslands await you on this 84 mile loop. But take your time and spend a couple of days or weeks exploring all the area has to offer. It is especially lovely in spring when the wildflowers bloom, and in autumn as the leaves change.
Taos is a great place to stay, dine and shop. It is a center for arts and artists and has dozens of wonderful galleries, shops and boutiques.
New Mexico has a great video that captures the wonderful things to see and do along the route.