I love New Mexico, but had never stayed in the Taos area until recently. Better late than never! Taos is not just a ski destination. There are so many varied and wonderful things to do and see in Taos. Taos is for everyone!
Top Things To Do In The Taos Area
Ojo Caliente is one of the oldest health resorts in North America. Translated it means "Hot Eye." It is located approximately 45 minutes away from Taos, and the drive to the resort is beautiful from Taos.
They have a great restaurant on site, called the Artesian. Prior to experiencing the hot springs and saunas, we dined at the Artesian and had some great fish tacos and a New Mexican classic: the green chili cheeseburger. 🙂
In addition to the Hot Spring pools and saunas, the resort also offers massage treatments and accommodation. We opted to purchase day passes on our visit. These will give you access to the saunas and most of the pools including the Iron Pool, the Soda Pool, and my favorite, the Mud Pool!
Day passes at this time are $24 per person Mondays-Thursdays, and $38 per person Fridays-Sundays and holidays. It's a must visit when in the Taos area!
Hike In The Carson National Forest (Preferably With Dogs!)
The Carson National Forest is one of 5 National Forests in New Mexico, and covers a whopping 1.5 million acres! There are so many recreational activities available at the Carson National Forest, including numerous day hiking trails.
Many of the trails are dog friendly. Be sure to bring your walkies loving pooches when visiting the Carson National Forest! My family and our dogs had a great time navigating a trail close to the El Nogal Trailhead (I believe it was the South Boundary Trail). The trail is right next to a stream/river which gave the dogs ample opportunity to cool off. 🙂
The Carson National Forest is beautiful and you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing which hikes to experience!
Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and a National Historic Landmark. The beautiful adobe buildings, in the most beautiful of settings, have been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years. Of significance is the beautiful St. Jerome Chapel, completed in 1850 to replace the original church which was destroyed in a war with Mexico in 1847.
You may enter some of the homes that are designated/signed as businesses. Here you will find a most wonderful and humble of people, ready to share their history with you. You will find items such as baked cookies, beautiful earrings and other crafts for sale, so that you may bring a piece of the Taos Pueblo home with you.
It is definitely worth it to take the guided tour, offered every 20 minutes or so. The guides are volunteers, and please support them by gratuities if you are pleased by the time you have with them!
Entrance is $16/person and children 10 and under are free. This was one of the highlights of our visit to Taos, don't miss it!
Taos Plaza and Shops
The Taos Plaza and Shops are a must see when visiting Taos. The Plaza is surrounded by various shops and the Hotel Fonda, which is right in the heart of the Plaza and the oldest hotel in Taos.
Taos is known for art! So when visiting the Plaza, make sure to explore the surrounding area right outside the main Plaza and visit some of the many art galleries in the area. One fantastic gallery to visit is the Earth and Spirit Gallery. When you enter, make sure to put on the 3D glasses available and take in the amazing 3D paintings in the gallery. All I can say is WOW!
San Francisco De Asis Church
The beautiful San Francisco De Asis Church was built in the early 1800's. This church continues to be a place of worship and a very important part of the community.
This amazing adobe structure has inspired the likes of photographer Ansel Adams and painter Georgia O'Keefe to photograph and paint the church.
Every June, volunteers and parishioners gather for the "mudding" of the church, where they re-plaster the church in adobe. It is a stunning building, whether viewed from the front, side, or back. In fact the back of the building has been a favorite perspective for artists.
Taos Ski Valley
Taos Ski Valley is brilliant for skiing of course! We are not skiers, however, and still enjoyed visiting the Ski Valley in April.
One of the most popular hikes in the Taos area is the Williams Lake Trail hike. It is approximately 2 miles to the lake from the trailhead, and unfortunately we were not equipped with proper gear to hike this trail. Therefore, we just had a fun time letting Toby romp in the snow, and pretty much had the place to ourselves!
The drive up to the Ski Valley is beautiful, and please be assured that there are other activities that can be experienced in the Summer and Fall as well. These include hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, and summer chair lift rides. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Taos Ski Valley when in the area.
Go whitewater rafting! I want to highly recommend Los Rios River Runners for your whitewater rafting adventure. We were first timer whitewater rafters, and had such an amazing time on the water that we can't wait to do it again!
Los Rios offers various trips down the Rio Grande including ½ day, full day, and even overnight trips. The trip we took was a ½ day one called the "Racecourse" which featured some Class 2 and Class 3 rapids, which was great for us beginners! You will be in great hands with Los Rios. After an extensive safety presentation, you'll be guided down the river with an experienced guide, and they offer a snack of fruit, chips, and salsa at the end.
The whitewater rafting was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and if we ever return we'd certainly do another trip with Los Rios.
Take a Llama to Lunch!
Go on a llama trekking adventure with Wild Earth Llama Adventures! This adventure stands out as one of my absolute favorite travel adventures. Highly recommended and you will have the time of your life taking a llama to lunch!
When you take a llama to lunch, you will be paired with a llama who will carry your items for you. You'll hike into the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains or the Rio Grande Gorge area. Then you will have a delicious picnic lunch in an amazing setting. It doesn't get better than this!
Wild Earth Llama Adventures offers treks around both the Taos and Santa Fe areas.
Where To Stay
To complete your Taos experience, stay in an Earthship when in the area! Taos is known for Earthships, which are a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and up-cycled materials, pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds.
We stayed in this amazing Earthship in the El Prado community. Unique and affordable, and look at the views! This is an Airbnb, and we couldn't have asked for a better place to stay to enjoy Taos.
You MUST Visit Taos Someday!
Taos is beautiful. We enjoyed this amazing place which is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (translated "Blood of Christ"). It has something for everyone.
If you have been inspired to visit Taos, please let me know by commenting!
Also if you have any other recommendations for the Taos area, please share by typing your comments below!
Never stop exploring 🙂