Hit the dirt and experience Taos off road. Terrific trail choices await all kinds of cyclists—from families to fanatics. Bike rentals in town at Gearing Up Bicycle Shop for about $35 a day (tandem bikes available). See their trail favorites online
Enchanted Circle Century Bike Tour
SEPTEMBER 8, 2013- Nearly 600 cyclists take on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway for one of the most challenging tours in the southwest. The tour is a 100-mile ride around the Enchanted Circle that includes a short trip through Angel Fire to Black Lake and back. The tour starts at 8,750 feet, with a low point of 7,000 feet and a high point of 9,820 feet at the top of Bobcat Pass! Contact Red River Chamber of Commerce, 800-348-6444.
Mountain Biking, Taos
EASY 7.2 total miles Ranchos de Taos
Hard-packed dirt trails that roll gently through piney woods on old logging roads. You will find neither major obstacles in the trails, nor daunting pitches. This is a good place to let the kids see what they can do. View trail head on Google Maps.
EASY 7 total miles
A great family ride, mostly flat among the silvery sagebrush-covered expanse of the Taos Valley floor From Cebolla Mesa, you’ll see sweeping views across the Taos Plateau, up to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and across to the Brazos and Truchas Mountains in the west. Views down into the river gorge are breathtaking. View trail head on Google Maps.
Ojitos Canyon Loop
STRENUOUS 10.5 total miles
Paved roads, doubletrack and singletrack trails for the expert cyclist looking for a hard technical ride with a big uphill. The first 3 miles of the ride gain more than 2,000 feet up the famous “South Boundary” (Forest Road 164) on mostly tight singletrack through stands of piñon and juniper trees in a beautiful high-desert environment. Spectacular views out to the Taos Valley, Taos Mountain and Wheeler Peak, and west to the Jemez Mountains. Trail surface: paved roads, doubletrack and singletrack trails. View trail head on Google Maps.
South Boundary Trail
MODERATE TO STRENOUS 22.1 total miles
Beautiful riding on mostly singletrack tread through mixed forest of aspens and pine trees. Without a doubt one of the best mountain bike rides in New Mexico. Stunning alpine meadows, awesome downhill singletrack (Heaven on Earth section is just that) and then a final ride back to the start along the mostly downhill Khyber Pass Rd. View trail head on Google Maps.
West Rim Trail
EASY TO MODERATE
Easy riding on a sage-covered plateau high above the Rio Grande. This is a great ride that starts at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and travels south along the rim on fairly level double and singletrack trails. The miles seem to fly by. Views are spectacular, with several spots to stop to look down into Rio Grande,a dizzy thousand feet below you. Trail surface: singletrack and doubletrack trails. View trail head on Google Maps.
Mountain Biking, Outside Taos
Northside at Taos Ski Valley
MODERATE with Shuttle to STRENOUS, varied mileage
This self-guided fee-based mountain biking area is on 1,200 acres of private alpine wilderness. Northside is a mapped and signed looped trail system designed especially for mountain biking. Spectacular overlooks, single and double track routes through beautiful evergreen forest, aspen, and meadows. For the more adventurous, one can pedal to the top of 12,163 ft. Frazer Mountain. The terrain is best suited for the intermediate and higher level rider. Open from mid June through October, weather permitting. Download trailmap PDF.
STRENUOUS 7.6 total miles, Penasco
The Angostura Trail follows the beautiful Rio Angostura up a narrow canyon through the steep hills near the Sipapu Ski Area. Suited for expert cyclists. trails climb steeply to various peaks and forest roads and follow small streams and narrow canyons on extremely rough terrain. Trail surface: doubletrack and singletrack trails. View trail head on Google Maps.
STRENUOUS 14.2 total miles, Red River
A beautiful ride in the pine and aspen-covered mountains above Red River up to a beautiful alpine lake. This ride appeals to all-around mountain bikers. Starts with a big hill climb, followed by an old mining road that lasts for about 7 miles. Tremendous downhill run on sweet single track. The climb up to Goose Lake is long, arduous, rocky, and steep. View trail head on Google Maps.
The road riding in Taos is as underrated as it is challenging. Taos roads are narrow with little to no shoulder, but this shouldn’t discourage any cyclist from enjoying epic scenery and world-class climbing. Choose your route and time wisely. Watch the weather. And above all, talk to people who cycle here. Stop by Taos Cyclery for maps, tips, rentals, and gear.
The Enchanted Circle
The most popular road ride route. An 85-mile loop through the towns of Questa and Red River and near Angel Fire.
The Mora Loop
Longer, harder, and more scenic than the Enchanted Circle. This 107-mile beauty follows highway 518 over US HIll, past Sipapu Ski Area, down Holeman Hill and through the town of Mora.
The Taos area has many loops ranging from 12 to 50 miles.
Back roads with rural terrain are not to be missed, including: the Hondo-Seco-Valdez loop, a road classic; the Taos Ski Valley climb, super scenic and cool on a hot day; and US Hill, another classic climb with a ripping fast return.
Photos: Frazer Mountain Bike Madness competition in Taos Ski Valley and Enchanted Circle Century Bike Tour in Red River.