About midway between Taos and Santa Fe, the highway meets the Rio Grande River gorge at a little place called Pilar. There is an interpretive center there with interesting facts on the river, and it is where I took the page-opening photo of the river from their balcony above the highway. The river cuts some steep gorges through the rocks just south of there and there are a few places where you can pull off the highway to enjoy what the Rio Grande has to offer. This far north, the river is not very wide and, in July the current was also quite tame, just a few rapids here and there. Outfits offer rafting or kayaking rides down the river, where you can float along for a few miles over some small rapids and enjoy the scenery. Then, you can land and they throw the rafts on top of an old school bus and drive you back up to your point of entry! It looked like fun - now I wish that I had tried it!
I could not resist sitting on that ski lift, wishing it to be winter time and having skies on...
But, after looking at the Taos slopes we decided Taos ski valley was a much better summer location to visit that winter. There were not that many slopes, and I feel like I am getting a little too old to ski down something that narrow and almost vertical!! Maybe we did not see some of the less intimidating slopes, but we could not find a trail map for winter anywhere. Plus, some locals told us there is not always snow in New Mexico and they only have good skiing in certain years.
The area north of Taos , the Enchanted Circle around Wheeler Peak, reminded us a lot of Colorado. It is very close to that State, so this makes sense. We enjoyed hiking there very much, and want to go back to hike all the way up the mountain. At the higher elevations, it is not as hot as in the rest of New Mexico, so hiking is a little easier once you are used to the altitude. We saw a lot of snow on and near the trails in June.
We found a brochure for NewWave rafting on the Rio Grande River in a hotel in Albuquerque ( I have to look up how to spell this every time I type it!! lol! I wonder how many times I spelled it wrong on this page)
So, we called them up and got a reservation for the same day ( in the middle of the week). I was a little nervous about it, and had visions of all of us smashed on some large rock in the Rio Grande, and ending up with cuts and bruises, or worse. I am a good swimmer, my daughter is currently a lifeguard, my son is a good swimmer and husband can at least get by, so I am not sure why I was so resistant to going white water rafting, after my family has bugged me to do it for many years. We did do it once before, but, lol, had non-swimmers on the raft that complained loudly that they did not wish to go over any rapids!!! So we did not actually do that ( Snake River , Wyoming/Idaho), how silly of them…huh?
So we went white water rafting in the Rio Grande Gorge, starting at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center, down the "Racetrack" to the "County Line" parking lot maybe 10 miles south of there. And we all had a GREAT time!!! I think I want to do this again. The rapids were Class II and III, but a lot of them. Nobody fell out until the very end,lol, my son! The guide ( she knew a lot about the area and got us through the rapids no problem!) let my son "control" the boat and tell everyone when and which way to paddle, so he made us spin around, and …promptly fell in! We all laughed…this was the flat section of the river. Most of us also went swimming down a small rapid. It was a lot of fun despite the very cold water, but that actually felt good in the heat.
(oh yeah, helmets and life vests were provided, but you must ( required) bring you own water shoes, not flip flops)
Equipment: Water shoes, or any shoes that can get wet and cannot float away, not flip flops!
Lots of sunscreen. Nothing that cannot get wet, best to wear a swim suit and t-shirt.
our family likes Angle fire and Red River. Red River is smaller and cheaper. Angle fire has more choices. We usually buy 1 day passes and go to both. Red River to learn and then Angel fire to test your skills. It is nice to have variety. And you want to keep the options open because of the crowds. sometimes angel fire just gets too crowded and it takes forever to wait for a lift not to mention getting run over by snow boarders.
Red river is low key and you can take coolers for food/drink, not a good idea with angel fire.
Taos is farther away and we just stay between red river and angel fire.
Equipment: If you rent in advance and know where you will ski, rent at the resort so you do not have to haul skis/equipment. rent a least 5 days in advance.
buy lift tickets on line as well.
If renting off site, rent as close to your place of stay as possible, may even get a discount from your condo. this makes getting and returning easier.
New Mexico has ski resorts galore of all price ranges. The northern part of the State has slopes open until mid may
Equipment: ski or snowboard equiptment
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