Taos is a feast for the senses throughout the year, but it truly shines bright during the autumnal months. Here, we revel in the arts, in the golden beauty of aspen and cottonwood, in the bounty of the harvest and in the fun to be found at higher altitudes.
Life at 7,000+ feet means that September and October are the heart of fall. For those able to make the trip to Taos, these two months are packed with art, culture and scenic vistas.
Arts & Crafts
Stroll along Bent Street and the John Dunn Plaza to enjoy local artists and artisans at Taos First Fridays on September 6 and October 4. Wander through the historic district and meet local artists, see demonstrations and attend exhibition receptions at the First Saturday Art Walk on September 7 or October 5. Visitors can also dive into the international extravaganza that is The Paseo on September 13 and 14, or see work from artists throughout Taos County at the Taos Fall Arts Festival, held from September 20-29. This year’s theme? “OF HEAVEN & EARTH | DEL CIELO y de la TIERRA.” If you’re bringing the family, don’t miss the Taos Wool Festival, October 5 and 6 at Kit Carson Park, for live animals, handmade goods, demos and workshops.
Oktoberfest arrives early in Taos Ski Valley. Head up the mountain September 14 and 15 to revel in a traditional Schuhplattler band (imagine musicians playing guitars and accordions, as folk dancers clap their hands and stomp their feet, adorned in lederhosen and dirndls), while quaffing steins of beer or munching Bavarian food. You can even enter a yodeling or alpenhorn blowing contest.
Additionally, experience the San Geronimo Feast on September 30 at the Taos Pueblo. This day celebrates the harvest and St. Jerome (San Geronimo), the patron saint of this 1,000-year old community. Wander through a trade fair, purchase foods and crafts and enjoy traditional dances.
You don’t have to fly to the East coast to find that array of colors which makes autumn so glorious. Experience the beauty of fall, from late-blooming flowers to the golden, heart-shaped leaves of both aspens and cottonwoods right here in Taos. The height of this transformation begins in mid-September and continues through mid to late October.
Take a Drive
Navigate the Enchanted Circle Loop, 84 miles of highway that takes you through the communities surrounding Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161 feet. Start your drive in Taos by fueling up on a Charles breakfast burrito topped with heart-warming red and green chili at the Taos Diner (or the Taos Diner II), or an eggs benedict at Gutiz. Once you’re on the road, head northeast to Questa, through the mountains to Red River, south to Eagle Nest and past its lake, on to Angel Fire and then over a mountain pass, heading west back to Taos. The entire drive can take several hours, or the entire day, depending on how many sights you view or activities you pursue. Arrived late back in Taos? Try the chile rellenos at La Cueva for dinner, or sip on the exotic or traditional cocktails and lighter fare at The Lounge, operated by the new local distillery, Rolling Still.
Take a Ride
View the changing leaves and surrounding mountains from the vantage point of the Taos Ski Valley chairlift, which operates on the resort’s backside every weekend through the end of September.
Appreciate views of the fall foliage in Taos Ski Valley and the Rio Grande Gorge on Cebolla Mesa by horseback with Rio Grande Stables through mid-October. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your ride!
Take a Hike
The forests surrounding Taos are a part of the Carson National Forest where visitors are invited to drive, stroll and backpack into the Pecos, Latir, Wheeler Peak, Cruces Basin and Columbine Hondo Wildernesses. The Long Canyon Trail (#63) is a great, moderately difficult trail that feeds into Gold Hill Trail, Goose Lake and Lobo Peak and offer breathtaking views and scenery.
Whether it’s art that draws you here, the changing autumn colors, or a cultural experience, Taos has something special to offer all visitors. Plan your trip here before the leaves fall.
Written by Mackenzi Frederick