taos fall road trips
Taos’ Most Colorful Time of the Year
Taos in the Fall is among one of the most beautiful sights you can find in New Mexico. All of the activities this town has to offer are made exponentially better when they take place among Taos’ already stunning landscape as the leaves are changing to the most beautiful colors and the mountain air becomes just a little bit crisper. Take a deep breath; take it all in.
If you’re headed to Taos for the ultimate leaf-peeping road trip, here are some picture-perfect autumn adventures:
The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway
Distance: 83 miles/136 KM
Driving Time: 2-1/2 to 3 hours
Route: From Taos Plaza, Hwy. 64 north to Hwy. 522 north to Questa; Hwy. 38 east to Red River, then south to Eagle Nest and Angel Fire; Hwy. 64 west to Taos.
New Mexico has long been known as The Land of Enchantment, so it’s only fitting that this designated scenic byway be called the Enchanted Circle. Explore the beautiful loop through mountains, valleys, mesa, and national forest and witness stunning fall colors that will leave you breathless. Download the map!
The High Road to Taos
Distance: 105 miles/170 KM
Driving Time: 2-1/2 hours from Santa Fe to Taos (no stops)
Route: From Taos Plaza, Hwy. 68 south to Ranchos de Taos; Hwy. 518 east; Hwy. 75 west to Peñasco; Hwy. 76 south to Trampas, Truchas, Cordova and Chimayó; Hwy. 68 south to Santa Fe; Hwy. 68 north to Española and Taos.
Another tour popular with visitors, the High Road travels through awe-inspiring scenery and remote mountain villages that cling to their Spanish colonial roots. During the fall, the changing colors of the leaves that line the drive make the drive even more beautiful! Download the map!
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
When: May 26, 2018 – October 21, 2018
Where: Daily Train Rides from Antonito or Chama.
Climb aboard this National Historic Landmark for a 64-mile day trip you’ll never forget. The coal-fired steam engine carries you through steep mountain canyons, high desert, and lush meadows as you zig zag between the Colorado and New Mexico border. Open your eyes to spectacular and rare Southwestern scenery, which can only be viewed from this train’s unique route.
The Paseo Outdoor Art Festival
When: September 14, 2018 – September 15, 2018
Where: Taos Historic District
Local, national and international artists will convene in Taos this fall to participate in The PASEO 2018 festival. This year’s theme is “Space.” A series of immersive and participatory art installations will harness art, science and technology as tools for the contemplation of space, offering a view of society in sync with nature and the universe.
When: September 15, 2018 – September 16, 2018
Where: Taos Ski Valley
Dust off those lederhosen and dirndls, folks, because it’s time for Oktoberfest! Featuring an authentic Schuhplattler band, German beer and food, activities and crafts for kids, stein holding contests and so much more. Oktoberfest will be held on the frontside of the mountain this year, outside next to the Children’s Center.
Taos Fall Arts Festival
When: September 21, 2018 – September 30, 2018
Where: Venues around the Historic District
The largest arts event in northern New Mexico, founded in 1973 by a group of artists and gallerists, features works of art only from Taos County. Over the years, other art events have set their dates to coincide with Fall Arts. The season has come to be known as “Grand Fall Arts” and it’s a most exciting time to visit.
Taos Wool Festival
When: October 6, 2018 – October 7, 2018
Where: Kit Carson Park
This free event allows you to immerse yourself in the more than 400 years of wool tradition as New Mexican, Coloradan and Texan breeders and fiber artists celebrate come together for two days of family fun. Take a look at traditional and contemporary fiber artistry and take the opportunity to get up close and personal with sheep, goats, rabbits, alpacas, and llamas. Kids can try their hand at a fiber project.
Sabor – A Taste of Taos
When: October 7, 2018
Where: Taos Plaza
Restaurants from around Taos will gather to offer tastings of their menus, along with specialty bites created specifically for this event by their talented chefs! Purchase food tokens at booths throughout the venue and use them to taste as much as you’d like from Taos’ best. This year we will include a Dish Judging for the Best of Sabor for entree, vegetarian dish, and dessert.
Taos Mountain Balloon Rally
When: October 26, 2018 – October 28, 2018
Where: Balloon Rally field behind the Taos County Courthouse on Albright Street
Every year on the last full weekend in October, as the trees in the high country erupt into a painter’s canvas of oranges, reds, ambers and yellows, even more color is added to the vista as the Taos skies are filled with dozens of brightly colored hot air balloons lifting into the clear, cold dawn of a Taos Mountain sunrise.
Hiking and Biking
Clearly, Taos is no stranger to fun fall events. But beyond that, the town offers many day-to-day activities that are just a little bit more special during the fall. Known to many as a hub for outdoor activities in the Southwest, Taos offers incredible trails for either hiking or biking that offer a taste of that brisk, fall air you just can’t get enough of. The West Rim Trail follows the the western edge of the Rio Grande River and offers breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Gorge, while Williams Lake Trail begins at the the well-known Taos Ski Valley and ends at the picturesque Williams Lake. These trails offer scenic viewpoints and some of the freshest air you can breathe due to Taos’ impressive elevation.