Harvesting Sangre de Cristo Beauty

Taos Ski Valley in October

We know, we know—the 10th month of the year is in the heart of “Get-back-to-work Season," sandwiched between summer vacations and winter holidays.

But… that doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself of a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend getaway, right?

Airfares and lodging rates trend lower during this time of year plus biking and hiking trails, steep rock-climbing faces, sites of historical significance—and more—are less crowded than during peak visitor season here in the mystical sliver of high desert known as northern New Mexico!

What is peaking in Taos Ski Valley are the brilliant golden hues of fluttering aspen and other leaves, silhouetted against a blue sky unmarred by a single cloud. The streams are still rife with trout wondering why there are so few anglers. The trails are still free of snow. And the days are still warm enough that you can strip down to short sleeves, although we suggest bringing cold-weather gear for autumn nights and early mornings that dip down toward freezing.

There are so many options for things to do in our charming and intimate ski valley in the fall—outdoor activities, shopping, dining—that we’d make your head spin by listing them all in this blog. You can search for your specific interests here, but let us highlight just a few special events taking place a quick drive from your cozy Taos Ski Valley condo or hotel room:

Oct. 11-12: Taos Storytelling Festival
If you’re a fan of a well-told tale—either hearing or telling it—you won’t want to miss the 20th anniversary of what has become one of the most exciting storytelling festivals in America. You can even sign up to share your story at the Friday night Taos StorySLAM or Saturday afternoon Story Swap. Visit the SOMOS website for details about the acclaimed storytellers who will be presenting this year as well as times and locations.

Oct. 13: Ride The Rift
This FREE non-competitive mountain bike event from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13 is for ALL levels and ages. For the 5th year in a row, the Field Institute of Taos and its partners will bring together the Taos cycling community (and others) for a fun, casual day of riding some of Taos' most accessible and scenic singletrack (above the Rio Pueblo where it meets the Rio Grande). For details, visit ridetherifttaos.com.

Oct. 17: The Nature Conservancy in Taos Lecture Series
If preserving nature’s beauty is high on your list, you won’t want to miss Dr. Jens Stevens, a research ecologist for the United States Geological Survey. Dr. Stevens will look at how strategic forest management influences fire behavior and ecosystems and discuss how we can help create a resilient future for forests and people. Made possible by The Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Ski Valley Foundation, the lecture will be from 5:30–7:00 p.m. at the museum. Admission is free, however;  space is limited thus you may wish to consider getting there early.

Oct. 25-27: Taos Mountain Balloon Rally
Bring your camera and your mittens for the 37th colorful and awe-inspiring show of hot air balloons soaring above our high-altitude plateau. Because it is more intimate than Albuquerque’s enormous festival, the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally allows you to get up close and personal without getting jostled.

Consider taking your own balloon ride with Pueblo Balloons.  

Fall in Taos Ski Valley and environs—with its spectacular show of brilliant hues from dawn until dusk—is a special event in and of itself. Wide-open roads beckon you to take leisurely day trips. You can trek all over the Sangre de Cristos and then head down into the town of Taos for some gallery hopping. Or check out nearby villages such as Arroyo Seco for fine or fun dining. Or head to the acclaimed Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Or drive over to the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument  
and then head down to the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa (a destination for soaking one's bones since 1868 and even earlier for the Puebloan people who made their home there and whose pottery shards you can still find above the springs.) Or, if riding the rails is your thing, make sure to add the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad for fall-color viewing—and much, much more—to your list!

Come harvest Taos County's bottomless beauty and bounty.