What's better after an invigorating hike in the mountains than refueling with a delicious meal and cold beer or margarita? We've paired some of our favorite hikes and mountain bike rides with an excellent nearby pub that make for a stellar day in the Taos mountains.
1. Bull of the Woods to Tim's Stray Dog Cantina
Bull of the Woods is the closest trail to the Taos Ski Valley base village; it's a classic hike through pine forests and aspen glades into high alpine peaks. As you hike along the upper Rio Hondo for two miles towards Bull of the Woods Pasture, wildflowers and willows lead to a spring flowing from the mountainside above. From the pasture there are trails going south towards Bull of the Woods Mountain and Wheeler Peak, or the less crowded route north to Goose Lake and Gold Hill, either way climbs above tree line with amazing views of the Sangre de Cristos and Rio Grande Gorge.
After hiking down make your way to the Stray Dog, the colorful cantina at the center of our village where thousands of hikes (and epic powder days) have finished with a tasty, cold beer or satisfying margarita! The Stray Dog has been here for nearly three decades, built on passion for the outdoors and love for the local mountains, the welcoming vibes and New Mexico style make for a great place to relax and refuel after a long hike. Check out the pictures in the stairwell leading upstairs, some of the history of the Stray Dog is shown in various places around the world.
2. Devisadero Loop to The Taos Inn
Closer to the Town of Taos the Devisadero Loop climbs from the high desert into forested canyons and mountainsides, popular with intermediate and expert mountain bikers and a favorite for hikers and runners. The trail can be found north of Highway 64 in Taos Canyon across from the El Nogal trailhead. Head up the trail on the south facing slope to where the loop begins, take the east branch for a steeper, aggressive climb to the top or the west loop for more gradual, smoother singletrack and some awesome vistas overlooking Taos. At the top there's some stone chairs and a large cairn where chipmunks, birds and fence lizards like to hang out and butterflies float around through the forest. The descent on a bike is one of the unique rides in Taos, most riders prefer the west side of the loop, but either way is fun. When you get back to the trailhead take Highway 64 (Kit Carson Rd.) back into town and find the historic Taos Inn, a center point in Taos' hip art scene where live music and creative vibes fill the air! The Adobe Bar has a great post-ride or hike menu with cold brews and creative spirits like the renowned Cowboy Buddha.
3. Lobo Peak / Gold Hill to Sabroso
If you've driven to Taos Ski Valley you've probably gone by landmark Sabroso in Arroyo Seco, housed in a 150 year old adobe home turned restaurant. A little ways further, the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness has an awesome trail network linking Lobo Peak and Gold Hill with all the canyons in between - Yerba, Manzanita, Italianos and Gavilan - convenient access from Highway 150 make these a locals' favorite. Any of these trails can provide a quick out and back, or they can be linked to create various day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips. Several summits peak above tree line, making it easy to connect several high alpine peaks in a single hike. One of our favorite routes traverses from Gold Hill's southwest slopes across a broad ridge towards Gavilan Canyon - the views here are some of the most expansive you'll find in New Mexico - wildlife like bighorn sheep are often seen along this route. The views of the Rio Grande Gorge from Lobo Peak are incredible! It's the highest point on the ridge north of Arroyo Seco and can be seen from all around Taos as you head towards the Ski Valley. On the way back through Arroyo Seco, Sabroso is the place to go! People have come from far and away to enjoy a margarita on the expansive patio and eat from the classic menu with a New Mexican flair; after a hike in the wilderness nothing is more satisfying. Enjoy a beer or spirit knowing that you're surrounded by one of the Southwest’s most unique restaurant atmospheres, at a place where time seems to stand still and no one is in a rush.
Cheers, and happy trails!