Taos Ski Valley makes its name in the winter months when, well, it’s ski season. But those mountains aren’t moving any time soon, and they’re equally moveable–and conquerable–in the summertime. We’ve put together a few itineraries for whatever your ideal Taos Ski Valley adventure looks like.
The best trail in the Taos Ski Valley gets two for the price of one. Hiking to Wheeler Peak via the Williams Lake Trail is a moderately challenging hike that offers rewards all along the route. An out-and-back trail that culminates with the tallest point in New Mexico, this trail is 8.5 miles of dog-friendly, hiker-trafficked adventure.
If hiking doesn’t get your gears going quite like trail running does, we have another–arguably more scenic–trail for you. The Middle Fork Lake Trail is a 5.4-mile out-and-back trail with a gradual grade and 1,200 feet of elevation gain. Middle Fork Lake at your halfway point is one of the prettiest places around Taos that will surely warrant a rest and hydration break.
As an intermediate trail, the East Fork to Lost Lake loop is described as New Mexico’s best singletrack ride. A 2,327-foot climb over 14 miles of high alpine terrain is not for the faint of heart–or beginner, either. Unreal scenery highlighted by views of Lost Lake reminds you why you do this in the first place.
Any chance to point visitors toward the Rio Grande Gorge is taken advantage of. Just a 15-minute drive from El Pueblo, the Rio Grande Gorge has some of the best bouldering in Northern New Mexico. From Panorama Wall to the Pilar Area, there are bouldering opportunities for both experts and novices.
People come to Taos from all over the world to explore our gorgeous area with specific interests in mind. During the winter months, many are here for the sights and the great skiing. But, if you’re not keen on the sport, don’t fret! Taos provides a variety of other ways to enjoy our winter wonderland without the need for a chair lift. Below are the top 5 Taos winter activities for the non-skiers.
Find a Rink
Lace-up and get on that rink! Open 2 pm to 8 pm daily (pending weather) The Eis Haus Skating Rink is located in the lower plaza at Taos Ski Valley. Whether you’re carving figure eights or just trying to stay upright, ice skating in Taos makes for a magical winter adventure.
Jump on the Trails
Sometimes there’s no better way to get the lay of the land than to jump on a snowmobile and go explore. Our friends at Big Al’s Snowmobile offer a guided snowmobile tour through the beautiful Taos Ski Valley. A little background – Big Al has lived here for over 37 years, he knows the Taos Ski Valley inside and out. He will guide you through some of the most beautiful, snow-filled trails you have ever seen.
Wander a Museum
If you’re looking to sprinkle in a little culture while still staying warm, pop into one of Taos’ many museums. Step back into the 1850s by touring Taos’ Oldest Museum featuring many items from the Kit Carson Estate or spend a few hours exploring the extensive showcasing of Hispanic artists at the Millicent Rogers Museum.
You’d probably never know it, but the microbrewery revolution is alive and active in Taos. If you’re looking to keep those feet warm but don’t mind a frosty glass of beer, consider popping over to Taos Mesa Brewing’s Taproom where you can enjoy a delicious bite and a local brew. If you can’t decide on just one selection, go ahead and ask for their beer flight.
Take a soak
If your travel companions are hitting the slopes for the day, treat yourself to a relaxing day at the lodge. You can start by throwing on your swimsuit and taking a long soak in a 104-degree outdoor hot tub! Enjoy a nice book and a cup of hot chocolate while taking in the scenery of our property.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
While sleeping in after a long day of adventures at El Pueblo Lodge, it may sound ideal, a “must-see” for any New Mexico visitor, to take in our breathtaking sunrise and sunset. Colors and shades and hues found nowhere else on Earth can be seen almost every morning and night in the American Southwest. Even our own color palette attempts to emulate these unforgettable natural tints.
While the Southwest is known for its unmatched sunsets at dusk, the sunrises fly a bit under the radar when it comes to recognition. We believe it’s because the landscapes here are so beautiful in autumn, it doesn’t matter where the sun is in the sky.
If you’re stopping through Taos on a Southwest road trip, be sure to plan your route and departure along with the sunrise. You won’t regret it. And with the threat of COVID still limiting our range of activities in Taos and New Mexico, watching the sunrise outside (or inside your vehicle) with your favorite people sounds like an unbeatable activity.
If you’re heading south towards Santa Fe or Albuquerque, make sure you take Route 68 down. Hovering along the edge of Picuris Peak, the growing sunlight bounces off the mountainside and splashes throughout the New Mexican landscape. Just west of Santa Fe, you’ll find the Bandelier National Monument and Santa Fe National Forest. Both natural wonders are akin to heaven in the early mornings of an autumn day in the Southwest.
The road winding from Taos, up through Taos Canyon, across the mountain to Angel Fire, past Red River and parallel to Questa back to Taos is known as the “circle of enchantment.” Wheeler Peak, the highest in New Mexico, shines like it’s under nature’s spotlight when the sun rises each morning. Each surrounding mountain along the route has its own chance to show its true colors every autumn dawn.
Arguably the most majestic drive in all of Northern New Mexico is the road from Taos to Chama along Route 64. Crossing over the renowned Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, through the mesmerizing Carson National Forest, around the Rocky Mountains and down the Chama Valley, you can enjoy every type of terrain as the sun begins to rise at your back, illuminating the newly gold Aspen trees and rusted valleys for hours.
We’ve told you about the trails that lead you to the top of New Mexico, but do you know about the much more exhilarating paths down to the bottom? Northern New Mexico has arguably the most comprehensive rafting options in the country, with rafts for all ages and speeds.
Starting with the fastest, whitest water you can get, the Taos Box rapids wind through canyons and valleys with runs named Dead Car and Pinball. While it is a rush, the beginning and middle of the trip allow for relaxation to get your sea legs under you, stop for lunch and take in the pristine nature views around every meander. Rafters will tell you this might be the greatest full day rafting trip in the country.
The trip with the most name-recognition potential is claimed by the Rio Grande Gorge. The perfect combination of length, adventure, nature, thrills and Rio Grande experience, this full day trip appeals to every age in one way or the other. Wildlife viewing is guaranteed along the way as well as ancient Rio Grande style petroglyph, also known as rock art from earlier civilizations.
The Racecourse Half Day trip is perfect for getting in the whitewater experience in all its glory. This particular one is the most popular rafting trip in New Mexico. For a few hours, groups work together to paddle in and out of currents and boulders for the ideal rafting adrenaline rush. Only a mile away from the New Mexico River Adventures headquarters, look no further than this course for your group of adventurers.
All courses have availability every single day through September, so catch a ride while you can! Visit the website here to plan your trip outdoors this fall. And if rafting doesn’t get you going, a myriad of other options along the river are right at your fingertips, including kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding and more.
And after a day on the water, there is no greater feeling than melting into a soft bed back at El Pueblo Lodge in Taos and reminiscing on the experience of a lifetime you and your friends and family just experienced. So, come on down! Rapidly or not, there’s something for everyone all year long.
You’ve probably heard all about the ski resorts surrounding Taos. We’ve talked about them plenty. But did you know they can be as worthwhile in the summer without any snow on the ground?
Taos has arguably the best collection of summer chairlift rides in the country. Whether you’re hiking, mountain biking or just taking in the breezy view, a chairlift ride provides a scenic catalyst or highlight to your active day around Taos. And with all operators taking extra health precautions due to COVID-19, it’s one of the safest activities to plan this summer.
Known for its popularity in the winter months, Taos Ski Valley has plenty to offer when the snow melts. Taos Ski Valley’s chairlift ride takes riders up the backside of the mountain, dropping them off to splendid views of Wheeler and Kachina Peaks at the top. Plenty of picnic tables greet riders at the top for a picturesque lunch before hiking down or taking the lift back.
The chairlift opens July 1, 2020, and operates daily from 10am to 4pm, weather permitting. 2019-20 Taos Season Pass Holders ride for free. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the summer months in Taos than hiking and enjoying its true nature.
With as high up as you’ll be going, you may meet a few angels. Angel Fire’s chairlift ascends up Moreno Valley to a 10,600-foot peak. Along with the eye-opening views, there are worlds of activities to partake in once you reach the top. Seating to enjoy lunch, trailheads for hiking and mountain biking and an 18-hole disc golf course all welcome you at the summit of the mountain.
Chairlift rides have been operating since May 29, 2020 and run every day through August 16, 2020. Weekend rides are available all the way through November 1, 2020. Rides operate from 9am to 4pm and extend to 5pm on holidays.
At Red River, the way up is almost as fun as the way down. Taking you up 1,600 vertical feet to the summit, Red River’s chairlift ride offers vast views of Carson National Forest. Meeting you at the top is a full 21-hole disc golf course, serene nature trailheads and the best mountain biking trails in the state. If you’re a serious mountain biker, strap your bike to the lift and enjoy the calm before storm on multiple trails ranging from intermediate to advanced.
Chairlift rides operate daily through September 6, 2020 and each Saturday through September 26, 2020. Open from 9am to 4pm from Sunday to Thursday and until 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays, there’s plenty of time to enjoy whatever activity brings you to El Pueblo Lodge and Taos this summer.
We’re all about having no compass at El Pueblo. We pride ourselves in adventure and reacting to whatever nature and people with whom we cross paths. Since you saw us last, nature threw us a curveball and people are still reacting.
If you’re like us, that summer feeling is getting more and more real each day. We’re itching to responsibly get outside and cooperate with the new normal that awaits all of us. But just because our rules are changing doesn’t mean our adventurous spirit has to also.
This summer, with many activities, attractions and events in question or canceled, the majestic New Mexico wilderness is calling your name. Hiking on northern New Mexico’s serene southwest trails provides the perfect excuse to scratch that outdoor itch while remaining in small groups and staying as socially distant as it gets. Here are a few of our favorite trails open right now.
Winsor Trail, Santa Fe
Starting with a moderate-level hike, the Winsor Trail is challenging with a beautiful payoff.
The 10-mile hike sees a steady incline all the way to 11,000 feet in elevation. Crossing creeks and meadows and passing through ridges and passes, you’ll get the full New Mexico topographical experience.
With views of scenic Lake Katherine and lush forests, this hike can be enjoyed in one day or two. Camping is allowed, as we encourage you to get your weekend stay fix before stopping by El Pueblo and telling us about it.
Wheeler Peak, Taos Ski Valley
A more challenging hike, the Wheeler Peak Trail completes a 19-mile loop over a variety of elevation and terrain. Normally done in a couple days, this trail offers camping opportunities at elevations you’ve never camped before.
With elevation changes of almost 3,000 feet, this hike climbs two separate peaks over 13,000 feet above sea level. When you’ve reached both summits, take in the expansive views of aspen and pine trees throughout the Wheeler Peak wilderness.
Another recommended stop on your journey is the can’t-miss Horseshoe Lake, a beautiful body of water over 10,000 feet above sea level. No matter where you stop on your hike, we would love to hear about it right down the mountain from the Taos Ski Valley.
Trampas Lake Trail, Taos County
If you want even more high-elevation lake experiences, the Trampas Lake Trail is right down your alley. With snowy peaks well into summer, the Trampas Lakes glisten year-round.
Maybe the most picturesque of the trails we’ve mentioned, Trampas Lake Trail features three separate lake basins at the base of high mountain ridges and jagged rocky peaks. A moderately challenging hike, about halfway through at the 6-mile mark, taking the west path at the fork leads to Hidden Lake.
You can’t go wrong with visiting any of the three Trampas Lakes. You also can’t go wrong hiking any trail closer to us at El Pueblo in our Camino Real Ranger District. Take your pick from dozens of options for a day hiking trip here before you head back to rest at the lodge. We look forward to hearing all your stories and seeing all your faces this summer in Taos.
Have you ever wanted to take something home from a trip but didn’t want to overpay or end up with something less than meaningful? We know how you feel. That’s why we’re so proud to introduce Shop Local Taos!, the community’s annual campaign encouraging shoppers to show support for local businesses during the holiday season.
From November 29 to your last-minute holiday shopping on December 24, dozens of local businesses and hundreds of community members pitch in with great discounts while enjoying Taos’s unbreakable community comradery. Pick up a free Shop Local Taos! tote bag any time to receive at least a 10% discount on all things Taos!
You know about Small Business Saturday, but we do everything a little bit bigger in Taos. Especially when it comes to recognizing local artists and vendors. That’s why we dedicated a whole month to show our pride, teamwork and artist’s work. Whether it’s Southwestern ceramics from the John Dunn Shops or 3D paintings from Bent Street, your holiday shopping just got a little more interesting. To check out more campaign click here.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of summer travel and always looking for the next adventure, it’s easy to ignore the mind and body. So we created a list of places in Taos that will help you rejuvenate that inner and outer chi so you can hop back to your life-adventure.
If you’re looking for a dip into some natural hot springs, mud bath or maybe a spa service to go with it, Ojo Caliente is your place. Featuring private and public soaks along with a variety of spa offerings, this is perfect for the adventurer who wants to relax post-hike or yoga.
“We offer a blend of activities that celebrate the waters, the land and the culture, to soothe both body and soul. Take an exhilarating trek through hundreds of acres of hiking and biking trails and explore the rich heritage of Northern New Mexico. Enjoy the benefits of yoga classes that promote flexibility and relaxation.”
Auromesa is tucked away off of the well-beat Taos path offering visitors seeking Ayurvedic practices in a tranquil setting. They offer teachings and insight into Ayurvedic medicine along with massages and yoga classes.
“Our Ayurvedic practitioner works to balance the doshic imbalance (imbalance in the body “humors” or characteristics). She may offer the detoxification program known as panchakarma (five detoxification therapies), as well as nutrition and lifestyle guidance, and recommendations of Ayurvedic natural herbs. Through her knowledge of the science of Ayurveda, she can assist a client in setting up daily routines (dinacharya) that can bring about the desired balance to release stress and help to ward off dis-ease.”
This spa offers everything from yoga and Soul’s Blueprint (astrology) to scrubs, hydrotherapy and multi-level spa treatments for you to choose from.
One of their main signature services is the Sacred Staurolite which starts with dry brushing, moves to a detoxifying turquoise mud wrap and face mask and then finishes off with a reflexology massage under the sacred indigenous Staurolite stones of Taus. They have a large list of treatments available.
“The Living Spa is an eco-conscious, world-class rejuvenation center at the heart of El Monte Sagrado. Prepare to be pampered by professional therapists focused on your health and healing.”
Focusing on massage and body rejuvenation, the Taos Spa & Tennis Club offers services to feel relaxed and complete. Included in each massage is free use of their sports facility the day of.
“Offers a menu of massage therapies and treatment ranging from deep tissue sports massage to luxurious treatments incorporating exotic aromas, water heated stones and deeply relaxing techniques.”
Some of the massages include the Taos Mountain Bliss that is done in a Swedish style, Deep Tissue that targets serious muscle and stress relief, Foot Reflexology, Canyon Stone which incorporates warm oil and warm black river stones and the massage that combines them all is the High Desert Mystique.
The holidays are here, and Taos is ready to trim the tree during Yuletide in Taos. With the falling of snow on candle-lit farolitos that line the streets in front of old adobe shops and homes, you are transported to another time and place. Here’s what’s on tap for November.
CAV Annual Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair
Nov. 23-25, 11-4 p.m.
The Sagebrush Inn and Suites
The 35th annual Yuletide Arts & Crafts Fair features the area’s finest craftsman and artists. Shop from a variety of sculpture, paintings, foods, textiles, jewelry, pottery and more.
Nov. 25-Dec. 24, 11-5 p.m.
Taos’ famous pop-up store returns with affordable and beautiful handmade gifts by Taos artisans.
31st Annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting
Friday, Nov 30, 4-6 p.m.
The 2018 Taos Holiday Season officially kicks off with the annual lighting of the town Christmas tree during the 31st Annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting. Come for the entertainment, and meet and greet special guests Mr. & Mrs. Claus (and even the Grinch!). Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served.
Photo credit: Taos.org