There are big horn sheep, elk and mule deer along the river and some smaller animals for the carnivores, plus a number of eagles soaring throughout the canyon. It is a treat to see them, and I was with one along the trail for a couple of hundred yards as I was hiking. The big horn sheep let me get within 20 feet, and I really was trying to avoid him/her,but it would only move a bit ahead of my pace. That continued for about 10 minutes until it finally moved off into the sagebrush.
The big horn sheep number about 1000 in the state and 25 were relocated from Pecos wilderness; south about 50 miles to the Rio Grand gorge area.
Fondest memory: The Rio Grand River and gorge was wonderful for views and nature scenery plus a hike down into the canyon was a real adventure.
Favorite thing: Getting out of the traffic. The visitor center is at the corner of Hwy 68 and Hwy 585; Paseo del Pueblo Sur and Pueblo del CAnon. They have a lot of brochures to choose from. The layout is very nice and two people are there to help and guide. Also sell trinkets there.
Probably our greatest day-time pleasure in the town of Taos itself was in simply strolling the streets, people-watching in the Plaza or coffee shop, and visiting some of the numerous shops and galleries. Of the latter, the one that impressed us the most was Lenny Foster’s Living Light Studio. Lenny is an incredible photographer, and we were lucky enough to meet him in the gallery and enjoy a long chat – about his work, his general approach to photography and the possibility of him exhibiting in London one day (which we strongly encouraged – would love to see him over here!)
To see the quality of his work check out his website – I especially liked his images of New Mexico, while both of us were moved by his “Healing Hands” series. After our chat he kindly gave us a copy of his 2011 calendar, which, although it had only a few months left to run, made a lovely memento of our visit. Sadly the prints themselves were a little outside our budget for holiday souvenirs.
My main photo is to be honest nothing to do with this tip, but I rather like it and had nowhere else logical to share it!
Address 107 Kit Carson Road, Taos
Directions The gallery is a few doors along Kit Carson Road, which runs eastwards from the cross roads in the centre of town
Taos is a great town to walk around. Local artists work is everywhere and makes a colorful place even more so.
Fondest memory: Traveling across country by car brings you through a variety of terrains. It's also likely that you will meet an assortment of people. To be sure, some of them will be fellow travelers like yourself but if you are open, you'll meet some locals too. This can be as enlightening as any other component of your trip and often entertaining. Local tips can be invaluable. You might go to a place you'd have never seen otherwise. One great place to meet locals is the local brewpub. Lots of bars would suffice as alcohol does make people more prone to talk to strangers but with brewpubs you have something particularly in common-you both like good beer. The locals are a proud lot and if you are traveling around the US and like their beer it forms an easy bond.
We met quite a character at the brewpub in Taos, New Mexico. A self-described Argentinian Jew, he had worked all over doing many different things but had settled in Taos and had his own farm. He was very opinionated and funny. His proof of global warming was he could now grow bananas in Taos! He was quite enamored with the bartender even though he claimed not to be gay, though possibly would change his mind for the bartender! One place he went on about was Chaco, a sacred Indian area now a National Monument. It was hard to get to but well worth the effort, especially during the full moon, conveniently the next night. It became a point of fascination for the next few weeks as we planned on how and when we could get there. Whether we actually got there or not wouldn't matter. The point was he filled our imaginations with such a notion of the place. If we didn't go, it would be a driving force for a later trip. Anything that can keep you fired up about traveling is priceless. If that person can make you laugh, that's just more fuel for the fire. Oh, and buying you a beer is always nice too.
Favorite thing: There are many places along the almost deserted roads of this part of New Mexico where you can pull off the road or take a dirt byway to admire the scenery (and there is a lot of it). One thing not to be missed are the wildflowers which can sometimes be seen in profusion and at others in sparse numbers. This little Indian Paintbrush seemed all alone and would have been missed were it not for the brilliant color which beckons any flower lover. The seem to be able to thrive almost anywhere and are a bright spot in areas sometimes lacking in color. Look for them and their cousins.
Strictly speaking I think the High Road is NM Hwys 76 and 518 from Espanola to Taos, but we were on some other mountain highways that were great (I was not driving so am a little confused). At any rate this route and NM 518 from Taos to Las Vegas (New Mexico, not Nevada) takd you through some of the most scenic and historic sights you could hope for. Parts of it takes you through the gentle hills of the fertile Rio Grande Valley shown in the picture. It is enclosed by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east and the volcanic Jemez Mountains on the west. It features some mesmerizing natural surroundings and is full of the history and culture of New Mexico. These two routes will take you to Chimayo, Montezuma, Mora and Las Trampas.
Fondest memory: This is a unique area of the US in that the culture still displays the great Spanish/Mexican influence in its art, architecture, cuisine and lifestyle as well as some starkly beautiful landscapes.
take a look at the walls. They are built from clay, straw and water and are up to a few centimetres thick which means there is some kind of 'air-condition': it wards off the cold in winter and the heat in summer.
There are up to five floors per building - no stairs but ladders! In the old days, there were no windows or doors - you entered the building from the roof.
Fondest memory: Visitors are welcome, although there is an entrance fee plus a fee for the camera. I think that´s a very sensible way of making the best of the situation. Please respect the inhabitants´ right to privacy although you have paid the fees; many tourists walk straight into the living rooms and will barge into anything.
Favorite thing: be aware that this place is really OLD. Most of the structures were actually built around 1000-1450 a.d., and many of the houses still look like they did in 1540. The Spanish conquerors thought that they had found one of the seven golden cities of Cibola...
PARENTS WARNING: TAOS IS TOO DANGEROUS FOR KIDS AND BEGINNERS.
Fondest memory: PARENTS WARNING: DO NOT SKI AT TAOS WITH YOUR KIDS UNLESS THEY ARE EXTREMELY EXPERIENCED. THE SO-CALLED 'GREEN' (EASY) SLOPES ARE MISLABELED - THEY ARE STEEP AND DANGEROUS. YOUR KIDS COULD BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED.
My girlfriend and I recently went skiing in the Taos Ski Valley. As beginners, (It's been a long time since I've been skiing and this was her first time) we examined the Taos ski map carefully looking for 'green' (easy) trails to ski on.
Within minutes of leaving the ski lift, she was seriously injured on the so called 'easy' trails. To my shock, the 'easy' Toas slopes are extremely steep and dangerous. They do not even remotely resemble the slopes marked 'green' at the more honest resorts in the state to the north.
It's easy to understand why Taos Ski Valley mislabels the slopes as 'green.' If they disclosed the true difficulty of their slopes, beginners and parents skiing with their children would change their ski plans to a safe location. The truth is that Taos has no slopes a beginner should ski except for an extremely tiny and overcrowded bunny slope.
During the two hours that we were in the medical facility getting her treated, several children were admitted for serious injuries. One had a fractured femur. Another a broken spine. Furthermore, the facility was crowded beyond belief.
If you're a beginner or will be taking your kids skiing with you, avoid Taos like the plague.
Visit colonial museums such at Martinez Hacienda.
Visit Taos Pueblo
Visit St. Francis de Assisi church. (painters favorite: O'keef etc.
Fondest memory: Miss mountains, trees, food, multiple cultures and cool summer evenings.
Favorite thing: Taos is a center for arts in New Mexico and in the USA. A great place to spend time shopping, strolling and just relaxing and enjoying the day.