There’s no better get-out-of-town, escape-the-heat destination for summer travelers than the one place that can make you feel like you’ve left the planet – Taos, New Mexico. A land of Earthship accommodations and untouched vistas, striking natural colors and history lessons to be learned, this is a summer place of exploration and fun like none other.
Hit the Road
When you’re coming to Taos, the road trip doesn’t end when you arrive. This town is both the beginning and the end of the most popular day trip in New Mexico and easily the most scenic loop in the southwest, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. This 83-mile loop is centered around Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. It takes visitors through northern New Mexico’s most picturesque towns and offers exciting detours like a drive over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the fifth highest bridge in the country. There are plenty of stops to make along the way and an endless number of things to see, so travelers can create their own adventure on this one-of-a-kind picturesque road trip.
Pro Tip: For a beautiful road trip adventure that doesn’t take the whole day, The High Road traverses 56 miles of high desert, mountains, and forests and meanders through time-frozen historic villages. The San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, one of New Mexico’s most photographed and painted churches, can be found on this trip.
Beginning in late May, one of the best and most exciting modes of transportation in New Mexico cranks up its engine (steam engine, that is!) and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad steam train comes to life. This authentic example of railroading in the 1800s takes its course westward through 64 miles of mountain scenery from Chama, New Mexico (just outside of Taos) to Antonito, Colorado, traveling through the 10,022-foot-high Cumbres Pass and the 1,100-foot-deep Toltec Gorge. Summer passengers of the train are gifted with a view of breathtaking forest and mountain scenery of New Mexico in all of its green (yes, green) glory. Whether you’re in the old-fashioned coach or the Victorian-style parlor car, this is an experience that you’ll never forget.
A road trip to Taos of course requires fuel for the car, but once you arrive you’ll soon realize that you’re going to need a major energy boost to see all that this town has to offer. Lucky for you (and of course, the kids) the dessert here is as unique as the town itself. Taos Cow, for instance, always uses natural and local ingredients in their ice cream and boy does it make a difference! Their unique flavors like pistachio white chocolate and chocolate rio grande simply cannot be missed. If you have room for seconds (which you always should), visit Chokolá Bean to Bar- a small-batch, organic, crafted, bean-to-bar chocolate maker. The chocolate here is made from ethically sourced beans from all around the world, offering chocolate lovers not only a taste of Taos – but also unique flavors from other countries!
With accommodations that can only be described as out-of-this-world, adventures in Taos don’t end when the day is done. The Earthship Biotecture, a community of self-sustaining homes built from old tires, glass bottles, and other recycled and organic materials, looks straight out of an intergalactic sci-fi film and makes for a stay that will live in your memory for lightyears to come. There’s also “the living room of Taos,” the Historic Taos Inn. Here, you and your family can experience true Southwestern living in adobe rooms with traditional kiva fireplaces that offer a true taste of vintage Taos character. Not to mention, it’s only steps away from the heart of town – Taos Plaza.