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Our Guide On What To See and Do in Santa Fe New Mexico

A Scenic Day Trip From Santa Fe to Taos

Road through the Carson National Forest while driving on the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos

If for no other reason than to admire the stunning natural beauty of Northern New Mexico’s high desert, you should take the time to drive the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos. It’s more than just a beautiful drive, though – it’s an immersive adventure in the charming mountain towns surrounding Santa Fe, not to mention the artistic and cultural hub of Taos itself. There, you’ll find the legacy of New Mexico’s Native American Heritage and Spanish Colonialism blended into the fabric of everyday life – just like you’ll experience right here in Santa Fe. 

You’ll end your journey on the High Road in Taos itself. There are plenty of fantastic things to do in Taos, a town renowned for its vibrant arts scene, with galleries and workshops that echo the area’s multicultural influences. The surrounding landscape, marked by the dramatic peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the serene Rio Grande Gorge, offers a backdrop that inspires adventure and contemplation. Whether you’re inclined towards exploring historic sites like the famed Taos Pueblo, engaging with local art, or simply enjoying the breathtaking views, Taos offers plenty of things for the discerning traveler to do. 

While a day trip to Taos is undoubtedly a beautiful adventure, it merely scratches the surface of what northern New Mexico has to offer. From browsing the galleries of Canyon Road and exploring the vast museum exhibits around Santa Fe to navigating the winding road from Santa Fe to Taos, there’s no better place to end your day than our Santa Fe Bed and Breakfast. With a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, our accommodations offer a welcoming base for those eager to delve deeper into all the Land of Enchantment offers. Book your room at our authentically charming Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe today! 

Woman Taking photos on the High Road as she drives from Santa Fe to Taos

A Scenic Drive from Santa Fe to Taos

The drive from Santa Fe to Taos via the Scenic High Road is more than a simple drive. There are faster ways to Taos if that’s what you’re looking for – but the blend of stunning landscapes, historic towns, and cultural landmarks along the High Road to Taos make this drive a must-do for anyone visiting northern New Mexico.

This route from Santa Fe to Taos winds through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, spanning approximately 105 miles, and takes about 2 to 3 hours of driving time – depending on how many stops you make. However, to fully immerse in the experience, we recommend giving yourself the entire day to explore the drive from Santa Fe to Taos – not to mention all the great things to do in Taos once you’re there.  

Starting from Santa Fe, the High Road ascends into the mountains, passing first through piñon and juniper woodlands before gradually transitioning into the high alpine forests of the Carson National Forest. As you make your way down the High Road to Taos, you’ll pass through several small towns and communities, each with its own unique charm and history. Notable stops along the High Road include the following:

  1. Visit the historic village of Chimayó, famous for the Santuario de Chimayó, a 19th-century church that is a renowned pilgrimage site known for its healing dirt and one of the most-visited churches in New Mexico. Chimayó is also where you’ll find the famed Chimayó weavers, including the renowned Ortega and Trujillo families.
  2. In Cordova, a village known for the many woodcarvers who have lived there, we recommend you visit the San Antonio de Padua Church. It’s only open for services, but if you can go inside, don’t miss the large altar screen painted by Rafael Aragon.
  3. Truchas, another village along the route, offers breathtaking views of the Truchas Peaks and a glimpse into a community where traditional weaving and woodworking thrive.
  4. In Las Trampas, you’ll find the San José de Gracia Church, a National Historic Landmark dating back to the 18th century. This beautiful building is a testament to the region’s Spanish colonial heritage.
  5. Finally, just before you finish the drive from Santa Fe to Taos proper, don’t miss the famed San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos.

As the drive continues toward Taos, the landscape unfolds with ever-changing vistas of mountains, valleys, and forests, inviting stops to soak in the views. The road eventually descends into the scenic Taos Valley, where you’ll immediately understand the draw for artists worldwide. Whether it’s exploring ancient churches, interacting with local artisans, or enjoying the dynamic landscapes, the drive from Santa Fe to Taos is a captivating experience that highlights the diversity and richness of northern New Mexico.

Visiting the historic Taos Pueblo is one of the best things to do in Taos

Things to do in Taos Once You Arrive

Upon arriving at the end of your journey from Santa Fe to Taos, you’ll find yourself at yet another intersection of art, history, and natural beauty, offering plenty of unique experiences and things to do. This town invites visitors to explore everything from historic sites and vibrant art galleries to stunning natural landscapes. Below, we’ve listed ten of our favorite things to do in Taos, NM. 

  1. Of all the things to do in Taos, no visit is complete without a visit to the Taos Pueblo, a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States, a history that is palpable in its adobe structures and vibrant traditions.
  2. Explore the Taos Art Museum, set in the historic Fechin House, home to a collection that celebrates the region’s artistic heritage. The Harwood Museum of Art is also excellent.
  3. Another fantastic museum is the Millicent Rogers Museum, home to an incredible array of Pueblo art. 
  4. Art enthusiasts, don’t miss one of the more interesting things to do in Taos: a visit to the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, where you’ll find the home and studios of two of the founding members of the Society of Taos Artists.
  5. Discover the life and times of a frontiersman at the Kit Carson Home and Museum.
  6. Walk across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to experience breathtaking vistas that span across one of the country’s great natural chasms.
  7. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, a haven for hikers, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts.
  8. Stroll through Taos Plaza, the town’s bustling center, offering many shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
  9. Experience the thrill of hiking or mountain biking through the breathtaking Taos Ski Valley – and you may as well make plans to return this winter for some epic skiing and other exciting snowsports.
  10. Visit the fascinating Taos Earthships just north of town at the 600-acre Greater World Earthship Community. 

This is just a window into everything waiting for you in Taos. After enjoying the breathtaking journey from Santa Fe to Taos, we invite you to return to our charming Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe for further relaxation. To get back here quickly, you can take the “lower” road on Highway 68. Our Inn offers incomparable guest rooms, exquisite hospitality, and delicious breakfasts, all in the walkable heart of downtown Santa Fe. Book your room at our Santa Fe Bed and Breakfast today! 

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