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Taos Wine & Beer Tour

The magic of Taos has always been what its people can create from the land around them. And if you are an inquisitive nomad who loves to sample the local beverages from each stop on your travels, the people and resources of Taos have a lot to offer.

Vivác Winery
35-minute drive from El Pueblo

Vivác is a Spanish term meaning “high-altitude refuge.” Sourcing all their grapes from New Mexico and using the most advanced winemaking tactics and equipment, a Vivác winery tour is not only technically interesting, it was also included in HGTV’s “Top 22 Most Beautiful Wineries Across the USA.” The tasting room is open 7 days a week, and don’t be surprised to walk into a happy hour special or live music at any time.

La Chiripada Winery
40-minute drive from El Pueblo Lodge

Northern New Mexico’s oldest winery, La Chiripada has been producing up to 20 varieties of wine for more than 35 years. Meaning “a stroke of luck,” La Chiripada offers complete tastings from 11am – 5pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm – 5pm on Sundays.

Black Mesa Winery
40-minute drive from El Pueblo Lodge

Black Mesa Winery has been making wine for 30 years with nothing but purely New Mexico grapes. All the wines are bottled and cellared on property, and you can reserve a spot in their Tasting Room by calling 24 hours in advance of preferably a weekday.

Blue Heron Brewing Co.
35-minute drive from El Pueblo Lodge

Blue Heron Brewery, located right on Hwy 68, offers a wide variety of beers, from porters to pilsners. Started by a Northern New Mexico family, Blue Heron’s taproom welcomes any and all visitors to pour a pint, grab a 6-pack to-go, and even get a bite to eat.

Taos Mesa Brewing
Right in town, only a 2-min drive from El Pueblo Lodge

Staff Favorite! This brewpub location features fresh brews and artisan cuisine including wood-fired pizza. The Taos Tap Room welcomes new friends and imparts an understanding of the authentic southwestern vibe.

Red River Brewery
45- min drive from El Pueblo Lodge

Another Staff Favorite! Red River Brewery features 12 beers on tap with one additional tap always reserved for our house-made root beer. Their bartenders whip up specialty cocktails using our own Vodka, Rum, Gin, and Agave Spirit distilled from raw ingredients in-house.

Southwestern Road Trip Pit Stop Shop

Colorado
Pit Stop Attraction

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Canon City, Colorado is a short drive west of Pueblo, Colorado. Home to America’s highest suspension bridge and zip line, Royal Gorge Bridge hangs nearly a thousand feet above the Arkansas River. The park has turned itself into a bona fide Western attraction, featuring rock climbing, zip lining, a sky coaster, gondola rides and more.

If that piqued your interest, you can take a second detour right near El Pueblo Lodge and view the Taos Gorge Bridge. The second highest bridge on the US Highway System and fifth highest bridge in the country is a sight to behold, especially at sunset.

New Mexico
Pit Stop Attraction

Meow Wolf in Santa Fe is one of the most unique art experiences in the world. Over 70 rooms of immersive art, Santa Fe is the phenomenon’s original location, donning the theme House of Eternal Return. The description “mind-bending” doesn’t do this experience justice.

If you’re traveling the Southwest in search of art, Taos is a destination in and of itself. Taos claims over 70 active art galleries and several museums displaying works from both local artists and pieces from around the globe.

Texas
Pit Stop Attraction

Tee Pee Curios in Tucumcari, New Mexico is the last remaining original Route 66 curio shop in the state. What was a gas and grocery store back when the iconic Route 66 was only a two-lane highway, Tee Pee Curios is keeping classic Americana alive in eastern New Mexico.

If you like grabbing a memento at each stop you make to mark your journey, Tee Pee Curios is exactly the place. Downtown and Taos Plaza has more boutiques than you’d know what to do with, making the search for memorable local crafts an exciting challenge.

Arizona
Pit Stop Attraction

Meteor Crater in Winslow, Arizona has been called the “world’s best preserved meteorite impact site.” One of the West’s most unexpectedly intriguing natural sites, Meteor Crater is nearly a mile in diameter and more than 550 feet deep. Determined to have collided with Earth approximately 50,000 years ago, Meteor Crater is still blowing the minds of roadtrippers throughout the Southwest.

If you enjoy gawking at the wonders from a time far before you were born, Taos is a sanctuary for history. While not an astrological event, Taos Pueblo is one of our most visited attractions because of its nearly unfathomable impressiveness and age.

Live the Wildlife

While the people of New Mexico have been here for thousands of years, they were not the first. That distinction belongs to the dizzying array of plants and animals found in and around Taos. New Mexico’s size, terrain and climate make it one of the most biologically diverse states in the country. In fact, over 4,500 different species of plants and animals call our man-made state border home.

Several life zones, including the alpine tundra, coniferous forests, woodlands, grasslands, and desert transition to and from each other. And that diverse ecosystem is especially apparent in the north. Drought-resistant plants like Russian Thistle–AKA tumbleweeds–and Prickly Pear cactus can be found south of Taos. To the north of Taos, hearty trees like Douglas fir and Juniper surround the landscape. Plants and trees make up over three quarters of the biological diversity in the state.

But the other quarter does not lack excitement, either. New Mexico features elk, deer, antelope, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats (yes, there is a difference). The state animal is the black bear, native to the mountains of northern New Mexico.

And that’s not even mentioning the most diverse landscape in the state: the Rio Grande Valley. Making its way from the southern border to the north, the Rio Grande Valley is home to three turtle species, nine lizard species, 13 snake species and more than 60 mammal species. The valley features over 200 species of birds that use it as a home or mating grounds every year.

Now knowing the wealth of biological diversity in northern New Mexico specifically, you can understand why Taos was such coveted land since the beginning. Thanks to conservation and environmental efforts, most of these species have remained in their original environments, cohabitating with us at El Pueblo Lodge. Whatever reason it is you travel, keep an eye out for our wild neighbors. As you’ve read, we have quite a few of them.

Hot Springs in Hot Summer Near Taos

New Mexico is host to some of the most unusual natural phenomenon in North America. From the White Sands to the Carlsbad Caverns, this state is unlike any other when it comes to its natural features. And we have a feeling if you’re coming through New Mexico, you’re itching for some of those experiences.

Taos and Northern New Mexico is home to a couple natural hot springs that are a must see if you want to combine outdoor adventure with a bit of found luxury. Take a look at our two favorites only a short drive from Taos.

Black Rock Hot Springs

If you like to feel like you’ve earned your leisure, Black Rock Hot Springs is right up your alley–or should we say valley. Located northwest of Taos off Arroyo Hondo, Black Rock is only a modest hike down to the Rio Grande and its complementary and complimentary hot springs.

The few small hot springs are open year-round as is the Rio Grande for swimming, although you’d prefer a dip in a spring over a river come fall. The springs, warmed by the heat under the surface, sit at around 90 degrees all year, so there’s no bad time to go. In fact, a hot spring experience in the fall and winter is regarded very highly among people who’ve done it. We’d recommend it as well.

Ojo Caliente

If you’re looking for a more upscale natural hot spring experience, Ojo Caliente to the southwest of Taos is a must-soak. These hot springs, the only in the world with sulfur free mineral water, are deemed sacred by Native Americans for their soothing body, mind and spirit qualities.

The springs are a resort experience, so hiking right up to the pools is not an option. But visitors are welcome every day for very reasonable entry tickets. The spa resort features plenty of extra services, such as massages and face treatments.

Update: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa reopened Aug. 2 at limited capacity — nearly one year after an Aug. 6, 2020, fire destroyed the Northern New Mexico resort’s historic bathhouse. Day guests won’t be able to soak at Ojo Caliente until the resort opens at full capacity, expected in late October.

There’s no better or worse option when looking for hot springs in Northern New Mexico. Both experiences are renowned in the area for their natural healing powers and relaxing environments. If you’ve come to Taos to experience New Mexico, you have to feel the hottest our land has to offer.

Earth’s First Earthships

Regardless of if you first heard of Taos or its neighboring Greater World Earthship Community, the two have become synonymous. And if you’re traveling via the roads with no straight path to follow, the Earthships are an absolute must visit for road trips.

The Earthships are, in a way, the most appropriate manifestation of Taos one can find. Its combination of Pueblo adobe plaster, artistic building techniques and overarching bohemian values all play a role in the world’s first completely sustainable Earthship community.

Earthships were created in the 1970s by architect Michael Reynolds, who still works and resides in the Taos Earthship community. Earthships are built with entirely recycled and natural materials designed to produce all the water, electricity and food for the entire year. Today, more than 80 structures house over 130 people full-time.

While the Earthship way of life has gained minimal traction in the U.S., it has erected entirely sustainable structures in Canada, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Argentina, Uruguay, Haiti and even Easter Island. In a world where more energy- and cost-efficient housing is increasingly important, Michael Reynolds’ Earthship vision brought to Taos over 50 years ago remains relevant.

The best part? The Earthship Visitor Center is open every day of the year (minus Christmas and Thanksgiving) for self-guided tours from 10am-3pm. To plan a more immersive, multi-facility experience, simply call ahead a book a time on the Earthship Community website.

The Greater World Earthship Community is still a private community, so please respect all rules and signage. Within these infinitely fascinating and inviting homes, you’ll find equally interesting and welcoming people with stories of how they built it and–more importantly–why.

Visiting Taos? Stay with our affordable Taos hotel, El Pueblo Lodge

Our friendly staff can recommend many more exciting attractions to discover in Taos and we located near the historic Taos Plaza. You can also browse our Taos blog for more information on local tours, events, attractions and landmarks. El Pueblo Lodge is perfect for family holidays, romantic getaways and business vacations. We are the number one reviewed Taos hotel on TripAdvisor and our amenities include free wifi, cable with HD flatscreens, fitness room, pool and free breakfast.

Lilacs Signal a Return to Normal

For a town that prides itself on its colorful artwork and personalities, it only makes sense that springtime in Taos explodes with shades of purples, violets and blues. With spring comes the blooms of lilac bushes covering the entire Taos Valley, making this time of year arguably the prettiest. It only makes sense that the annual Taos Lilac Festival takes place in late May as well.

The history of how lilacs arrived in Taos is an uncertain one. Anecdotes of early settlers bringing them over from Europe scatter from the 1850s to the 1910s, with many different names bearing the gifts. What began as an invasive species slowly turned a monochromatic early Taos into a flower garden of lush proportions.

Since then, Taos has decided to celebrate this milestone annually with the Taos Lilac Festival. Well, annually except for last year, of course. Each year features a lilac gardening center with seminars, arts & crafts fair, wine & food garden, Lilac 5K race, Taco Cook-off, Vintage Car & Truck show, and much more.

While the Taos Lilac Festival is back for 2021, it looks a little different. This year, what events are unable to occur are made up in the length of the celebration. All throughout May, the 2021 Taos Lilac Festival will feature a walking tour of window decorating contest from over 20 downtown businesses. The walking map found here makes a wonderful tour of downtown Taos and the entire region’s natural beauty.

The Taos Lilac Festival is officially the first outdoor festival in Taos since the pandemic. The return of these flowers represents the return of more enjoyable moments to come. Because while the Lilac Festival may not be in full until next year, mother nature doesn’t wait for anyone. Come take a drive through to see–and smell–for yourself.

Eat New Mexico True

When you do a quick Google search of New Mexican food, you’ll get everything from enchiladas to tamales to chiles rellenos. While all of these dishes have our mouths watering, they’re not necessarily exclusive to the history of New Mexico. The truest New Mexican dish you can find comes in the form of a sopapilla.

Sopapillas are fried pastries made from a soft and sweet dough that act as a type of quick bread. The word “sopapilla” comes from the Spanish word “sopaipa” which is a derivative of the Mozarabic word, “xopaipa,” which means “bread soaked in oil.” The Spanish, Arabic and Jewish influences of the dish and its name convened in Albuquerque over 200 years ago.

As a type of quick bread, sopapillas are incredibly versatile and are used as a sweet pastry, side dish or the main entrée all the same. The natural air pocket that occurs in the middle of the tortilla-like dough creates room to stuff the bread with meat, cheese or beans for a hearty star of the meal. But at the same time, the light bite of the thin bread meshes well with honey, syrup or powdered sugar to enjoy after those enchiladas, tamales and chiles rellenos.

When you’re in town, make sure you have your eyes peeled for sopapillas on whatever menu you decide to eat from. In our opinion, these following places have the best sopapillas in Taos, and they’re all right down Paseo del Pueblo Norte:

Michael’s Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery (3 min walk)

Ricky’s Restaurant (3 min drive)

Taoseño Restaurant (6 min drive)

Get Your Last Ski Licks In

Optimism is in the air around Taos. The coldest weather seems to be behind us. The pandemic, while still the foremost threat and safety issue at hand, is losing steam. There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming months regarding travel in Northern New Mexico.

But that doesn’t mean everything we’re leaving behind is negative. And it also doesn’t mean it’s too late to capitalize on it either. We’re talking about getting your last licks in on the ski resorts around El Pueblo.

Taos Ski Valley

110 trails ranging from beginner to intermediate over 205 skiable acres makes Taos Ski Valley the premier spot to get your last skiing of the season in. April 4 is your last day to ski for the season, so book your trip soon. There’s room at El Pueblo for that weekend!

Angel Fire

Angel Fire reeled in plenty of snow this year to provide a base that will last as long as you need. With a peak elevation of 10,667 feet, this is among the highest skiing you can do in the state. But you have to act fast, as closing day is Sunday, March 21.

Red River

Northeast of El Pueblo is Red River Ski Area, where both professionals and families come from around the country to rave about. Soaking in over 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s guaranteed to be beautiful as you get your last runs in before the gates close on Sunday, March 21.

Sipapu

Open through April 4, Sipapu is your best bet to get in the last adrenaline rushes of the ski season. With a peak elevation of 9,255 feet and a vertical drop of 1,055 feet, the mountain has something for both beginners and seasoned thrill-seekers.

El Pueblo has rooms available for every weekend through the last lift rides on April 4. Get rid of your cabin fever and take a last-minute weekend vacation out to Taos as the weather gradually gets more and more comfortable. We’re all about adventure and impulsivity every day of the year.

📷: Paul Sableman

Go For Snow

at Bandelier National Park

Heading south to escape the winter chill? Why not embrace it one more time? Just a 90-minute drive southwest from Taos, Bandelier National Park is home to one of the most majestic scenes in the American Southwest. And if you catch it at the right time, a fresh layer of snow veiling the monument will prove to be an unforgettable experience.

Bandelier National Park is one of the proudest historical wonders New Mexico has to offer. The monument features over a mile of kivas, or cave dwellings, found and expanded upon by Pueblos as early as 1150 AD. The trail allows up-close encounters with these ancient marvels, including a small, reconstructed kiva that hikers may enter via ladder.

As beautiful and awe-inspiring as these cave-dwellings are, when snow settles on the façade of the rock and surrounding area, an other-worldly contrast of colors, history and nature make up an extraordinary scene. Along with the human achievements, the park’s own hairy-eared Abert’s squirrels come out in droves in the winter and are far easier to spot amongst the white backdrop.

There are some restrictions to the park due to COVID-19 protocols as well as the severity of snowfall. All outdoor facilities, including trails, campgrounds and park restrooms are open. The visitor center, museum and theater remain closed, however. Whether you’re on your way to El Pueblo or leaving, it’s been a generous season for snow this year and there’s still time to experience Bandelier and its kivas among the white powder.

In The Eyes of Instagram

The reason we advocate not having a compass in Taos, New Mexico is because there’s awe and wonder in every direction. Chances are you’ve made your way here, not for the chance to run into a celebrity, but the chance to see something naturally inspiring.

That’s why you should follow these accounts that give you that New Mexico adventure and picturesque landscapes every day, no matter where you are at the moment. And as always, follow us first @elpueblolodge

@taos
This first page is just a taste of what you’ll find in each of the accounts we’ll feature. Other-wordly sunsets, real-time blizzards and Taos culture that’s been shared for generations.

Snow In Taos
Sunset Moonrise
A Slice of Heaven

@newmexicotrue
Featuring some of the most pristine photography you’ll ever find of New Mexico, this page tags each photographer so you can get caught down your own rabbit hole of New Mexico experiences.

A Sight for Sore Eyes
Long Walk on the Beach
Dreaming of Skiing

@taoschic
A very well-curated Instagram page, this influencer owns her own New Mexico travel company, so she’s guaranteed to show you the best the state has to offer. Maybe she’s even your next trip planner to Taos.

Snow blanketing Taos Mesa
Pitter Patters
No Place Like Home

@heritageinspirations
Branded as New Mexico’s Premier Travel Company, this page is run by @taoschic above and gives a New Mexico tourist, past or future, the yearning to try and capture the same experiences she does.

Romantic New Mexico Excursion
Duke City E-Bike
Indigenous Peoples’ Day

@visittaos
The official Visit Taos Instagram page, most of their content is sourced from local and tourist photographers documenting their individual experiences through breathtaking images and lenses.

Taos Makers
Rio Grande Gorge
Taos Sign

@nmhikergirl
One of New Mexico’s most influential influencers, this page takes you hiking through every forest trail and canyon run from the hiker’s point of view. There are few better ways to see yourself in a New Mexico hiker’s boots.

Scary Outdoor Story
Scary Outdoor Story 2
Scary Outdoor Story 3

@newmexiconomad
Featuring a blend of local photographers and the best videography you’ll find on this list, this page also provides stories and history nuggets in some of the captions, adding a unique element to its posts.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Fall Confusion on the Bosque
Kiowa National Grassland

@newmexi.co
This page has no shortage of gorgeous landscape shots, all sourced from local and tourist photographers on their New Mexico adventures. Even without a plan to visit, these posts will undoubtedly brighten your feed.

Zozobra
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Jemez

@onlyinnewmexico
Also sourcing its images from a variety of other pages, this is one of many New Mexico traveler pages that you can use to find a myriad of influencers and photographers from all over the world.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
New Mexico Reflection
Wild Horses

Extreme Drought Update

Please note: the Town of Taos is currently experiencing an extreme drought. Subsequently, a current burn ban is in effect. Therefore, we are not able to allow guests to use our fire pits or BBQ’s at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.