While a visit to Taos Ski Valley can be all consuming and soul satisfying, the Town of Taos and the surrounding region has a wealth of other alluring places to visit and things to do. There are many forays away from Taos Ski Valley that can run as short as a few hours to day-long outings. People come first for the skiing but end up living here because of everything else there is to enjoy!


Historic Walking Tours of Downtown Taos
The Town of Taos was established as a Spanish village in the year 1615; its downtown core surrounding the historic Plaza makes for a fascinating and novel excursion. You can take a self-guided walk, visiting the Plaza itself, the Old Taos County Courthouse, the home of Kit Carson, and nearby Bent Street, or hook up with Turquoise Tours for the real experts.


Our Local Breweries

For a tippler’s tour, elect a designated driver and roll out to visit new and well-established local breweries, including Eske’s Brew Pub (where green-chile beer was invented), Taos Mesa Brewery (with both a downtown tasting room, and its live music venue and restaurant just north of town), or spots like Old Martina’s Hall or The Bavarian at Taos Ski Valley (home to German suds). Or attend annual events like Octoberfest or the Brewmaster’s Festival during the third weekend of December in Taos Ski Valley.


The Art Scene

The Town of Taos has one of the nation’s best small-town art scenes. This includes excellent museums like the Harwood Museum of Art in the artistic enclave of Ledoux Street, the Millicent Rogers Museum or the Taos Art Museum in the former home of noted artist Nicolai Fechin. There are also dozens of galleries and countless artist studios, plus historic artist homes open to the public like the Blumenschein Home and the Couse-Sharp Site, film festivals, live theater, lectures and special events.


Our Local Wineries

Northern New Mexico is the oldest wine-growing region in what is now the United States. Drop by La Chirpada in Dixon, about 30 minutes south of Taos, which carries some 20 varieties of wines from dry reds to port and crisp whites, including many made from grapes grown on site. Also in Dixon is Vivac Winery. Or visit Black Mesa Winery, just a bit further south in Velarde, or drop by its Taos tasting room (at 241 Ledoux St., 575-758-1969). It produces all its wines from New Mexico grapes.


The Gorge Bridge, the Earthships and Hot Springs

Get outta town with this day or half-day tour. Head west from Taos on US 64, stopping first for a breath-taking stroll over the High Bridge spanning the immense Taos Gorge. Just a few minutes west off US 64 tour the one-of-a-kind “Hobbit Houses” at the Earthships enclave. Close the drive with a fabulous soak and massage at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, or take the 30-minute hike down into the gorge to the Manby Hot Springs, or visit Blackrock Hot Springs near the juncture of the Rio Hondo and Rio Grande.


A Day at Taos Pueblo

The only Indian community in the United States designated as a World Heritage Site, ancient Taos Pueblo is a sight to behold. America’s first condo project, its multi-story adobe structure is home to numerous artisans, who sell handmade pottery, jewelry, leather goods and other arts and crafts to visitors. Enjoy traditional Pueblo foods next to a crackling cedar fire in one of its small dining spots, or catch one of its sacred dance ceremonials.


Drive the Enchanted Circle

Take a day and cruise one of the state’s most beautiful circular drives. Head north from Taos on NM 518 to Questa, then turn east into the Sangre de Cristos on NM 38 to the Old West-style town of Red River. Climb Bobcat Pass and descend into the lush and isolated Moreno Valley, passing Eagle Nest town and lake, and the resort community of Angel Fire. Then climb Palo Flechado Pass and return to Taos on US 64. Ski areas, ghost towns, places to bike, fish, bird watch, rock hunt and hike abound.


O’Keeffe Country

The landscapes made famous by the great Modernist American painter Georgia O’Keeffe are on display during a drive to the area around Abiquiu, about two hours southwest of Taos. Visit Ghost Ranch, a 21,000-acre educational, recreational and spiritual retreat where she spent several summers. Look online for directions to “The White Place/Plaza Blanca” and roll through the plaza in the village of Abiquiu, where she had a house (open in summer for tours by reservation). In summer, swimming at Lake Abiquiu beckons!


Chama

Enjoy a gorgeous early morning, 2-hour drive over the Brazos Mountains from Taos to Chama on US 64, then catch the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the nation’s longest and highest narrow gauge commercial rail line. Coming home, swing down US 84 past Abiquiu through “O’Keeffe Country” and along the verdant Chama River Valley to Espanola, then up the Rio Grande Gorge back to Taos.


Great Sand Dunes

Head north through San Luis and Fort Garland, Colorado to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, an hour beyond the state line. The nation’s largest and tallest dune field sits at the foot of stupendous alpine peaks. Stop to refuel the belly and auto in nearby Alamosa, which includes a brewpub and numerous places to eat, and return via Manassa (home of the “Manassa Mauler,” i.e., Joe Dempsey).

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