November 27th 2014
TAOS SKI VALLEY OPENING DAY
November 28th 2014
TAOS SKI VALLEY OPEN
November 29th 2014
TAOS SKI VALLEY OPEN
November 30th 2014
TAOS SKI VALLEY OPEN
Motorcycle Trips Around The Enchanted Circle and up to Taos Ski Valley
Next door to the state's tallest peak, at 13,161', and with municipal limits rising to over 12,600', the Village of Taos Ski Valley sits up quite a bit higher than most of the rest of New Mexico. If your trip up to this point has seemed at all warm, you are sure to feel a big change among the tall evergreen trees. There are many summer and fall activities to enjoy in this small community, so check out the event schedule and plan to stay a little while.
Brazos Hills and Ojo- 6hrs+, 240 miles or more
Once you are out of the tall mountains, the view opens up and the temperatures warm as you travel west across the mesalands. As you pass through Tres Piedras and continue west on US64, things begin to change quickly however, as the road disappears into the forest and follows the rolling curves of the Brazos hills. Making this loop counter-clockwise dramatically displays the changes in color and landscape.This section of US64 is one of the most fun roads in the state. Fuel in Tierra Amarilla, or jog north to visit the old railroad town of Chama, home of the Cumbres and Toltec narrow-gauge, steam-powered, passenger locomotive, if you have time. There are some enigmatic old eating establishments in Chama to visit too if the timing is right.Going south on US84 toward Abiquiu will transport you through wind-sculptured sandstone bluffs that glow orange and red at sunset, with gravity defying “hoo-doos” standing guard. If you’re as inspired as Georgia O’Keefe, visit Ghost Ranch, where hiking trails wind around and on top of the cliffs.Jogging north through El Rito, and then east over to Ojo Caliente is a nice route to return to your hotel. Plan time in the day to linger at Ojo and “take the waters”. A most unique hot springs, with four different natural mineral waters emerging at a variety of temperatures, Ojo has become a hugely popular destination for day travelers and overnight visitors. Heading back east, re-cross the gorge and begin to feel the air steadily cool down as you approach Taos Ski Valley.
Brazos Hills and Ojo map
High-Road (and low-road) to Taos- 5hrs+, 160 miles or more
You’ll start this trip by heading south through the town of Taos, and then veering onto NM518 toward the “High Road to Taos” going through Trampas and Chimayo. You’ll want to visit the ancient missions in these towns, and Rancho de Chimayo is also a memorable place to rest and to eat. Coming off the plateau and low hills and looking into the Espanola Valley is an impressive sight you will never forget. After some time spent shopping or site-seeing around Chimayo, return to the north on NM68 through the dramatic volcanic cliffs of the Rio Grande River Gorge. This loop is full of photo opportunities and scenic stops, so plan to take your time and enjoy the full day. As a side note- while you are near Chimayo, turn off on the NM503 loop from tiny Rio Chiquito through Cundiyo and go check out Santa Cruz Reservoir along the way. The lake isn’t much to visit unless you have a fishing pole (a NM State record trout was caught there), but the road is a real treat.
High (and low) Road to Taos map
Enchanted Circle and Cimarron- 6hrs+, 230 miles or more
The Enchanted Circle is one of the best known loops anywhere. Traveling through the old mining village of Red River, and the ghost-burg Elizabethtown, takes you back to a time in history when these mountains teemed with hardy miners looking for that rich strike. Now, the “gold in them-there hills” is realized in the tourism that is created by stunning vistas and natural colors. The golden hues of autumn will absolutely take your breath away, so please stop to enjoy the sight before you pass out. When it is hot in the rest of the country, here is where you come to get some respite in the cool pines.As an offshoot of this loop, wind your way through Cimarron Canyon State Park to the western town of Cimarron, and visit the 1800s era Saint James Hotel, where bullet holes from wild west gun battles still mark the ceiling and long wooden bar. Legends like Clay Allison, Wyatt Earp, and Jesse James all had hotel rooms here and they visited Cimarron regularly in those days.Other diversions are the Rio Costilla area, where some well hidden curvy pavement can be found, and the State fish hatchery near Questa that grows the largest trout in the country.
Enchanted Circle and Cimarron map
La Cueva Mill- 6hrs+, 185 miles or more
This loop takes you more to the southeast from Taos Ski Valley, with some new varieties of scenery. Head through Taos Canyon and back across the pass to the east and then south into Angel Fire. Further south is Black Lake and then a diversion onto NM434 toward Guadalupita and Coyote Creek State Park. Mora is the site of some old west history, and slightly east of there on NM518 is the old La Cueva Mill with the Salman Raspberry Ranch store. Enjoy a cool stop in their shaded gardens while eating home-made raspberry ice cream.
South of here on NM518 is the turn-off on NM94 going northwest to Morphy Lake State Park, located off a twisty backroad that leads over the hill and into Mora again. From Mora, it is a spectacular ride back north on NM518 all the way into Taos and up the canyon to return to Taos Ski Valley.
This fun figure-eight route takes you back over a couple sections of road you have seen before, but if all these loops are taken in the counter-clockwise direction, any repeated roads will be traveled in the opposite direction than before, which makes them an entirely new route to see!
La Cueva Mill map
Rider Education programs in New Mexico
Explore the Backcountry Discovery Routes
Continental Divide Ride
Supplies & Dealerships
Butler Maps/Riding Social
New Mexico Riding Stories
State Moto-tourism Blog
American Motorcyclist Association
Great photos and video of events in Taos Ski Valley:
KTM Motorcycle Event September 2014_Images from Cole Kirpatrick
More images from Cole Kirpatrick