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Taos New Mexico -land of enchantment

Winter Activities in Taos, New Mexico

Things to do in Taos, New Mexico - Winter 2013


Skiing and Snowboarding- Northern New Mexico’s most famous ski resort is located in Taos Ski Valley (www.skitaos.org). Famous for its top-rated Ernie Blake Ski School, 300+ inches of snow annually and, of course, the steeps. Taos Ski Valley is the area’s major draw to both Taos and Taos Ski Valley during the winter months. TSV is open annually from Thanksgiving to the first Sunday in April.

  • Ski Shops & Rentals:

Cross Country Skiing - The Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area
About 45 minutes from Taos, at Bobcat Pass, the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area offers more than 30 kilometers of trails and a 1,400-acre park. From there you can experience the incredible mountain views of Wheeler and Latir Peaks. Snowshoeing is one of the fastest-growing winter sports, and Enchanted Forest is in tune with its popularity. Rent the latest in equipment and head out on the specialized trails for an adventure. Red River (575) 754-2374

Snowmobiling- Big Al’s Wilderness Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours to the peaks and ridges above Taos Ski Valley. Experience some of the most beautiful spots and spectacular views on the planet! An adventure the entire family will enjoy and treasure. Make no mistake, this tour will lift your spirit - we're sure of that! (/www.aataosskivalleywildernessadventures.com/snowmobile.php)

Northside Snowshoe ToursSnowshoe Tours- Taos Snowshoe Adventures (www.snowshoetaos.com) offers half-day and full-day Backcountry Snowshoe Tours, Overnight Yurt Trips, and Full Moon Snowshoe Hikes in New Mexico’s majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Learn about local ecology and natural history from our knowledgeable and experienced mountain guides!

Northside Snowshoe Tours- Northside at Taos Ski Valley (www.ridenorthside.com/snowshoeing.htm)  offers guided snowshoe tours on exclusive private trails. Scheduled for the best mid-day sunshine and warmth, tours start mid-morning and include shuttle service from the base area to the Kachina Village where tours start.  Tours include hot drinks, snacks, and bottled water.  Equipment available for rent.  Tours offered daily in winter with a minimum of two participants and a maximum of twelve.

Ballooning – Great in winter or summer! Experience the ultimate ballooning experience while gently gliding on soft desert winds into the famed Rio Grande Gorge in the basket of a colorful hot air balloon. With the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop, this is the premier hot air balloon flight in the state of New Mexico. From snow covered mountains in the winter, baby coyotes and deer in the spring, blossoming flowers, bushes and cacti in Summer to colorful Fall foliage -- majestic beauty surrounds you everywhere!

Paradise Balloon TripsThe adventure begins bright and early on the day of your flight and generally includes transfers to and from your area lodging as well as the traditional champagne breakfast after the flight. Pilots are FAA certified assuring that the adventure is both safe and fun.

Ice Skating- The ice rink at the Taos Youth and Family Center offers ice skating and skate rentals for the public throughout the winter.  For hours of operation and more information go to www.taosyouth.com .  

Hot Springs - The area around Taos has a number of public and privately operated hot springs for the area visitor.  The most famous is the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa located in Ojo Caliente, NM approximately 45 minutes from Taos via paved roads.  www.ojocalientesprings.com

Taos Pueblo


Taos Pueblo, located in Taos at the base of the sacred Taos Mountain, is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years, and the architecture of Taos Pueblo actually inspired “Pueblo Architecture” as it is known today. Taos Pueblo offers self-guided and guided tours of the Pueblo daily from 8am to 4:30pm, except when tribal religious activities require a closure of the Pueblo.  More than 40 shops and galleries showcase Taos Pueblo artists.  Admission and camera fees apply when you visit.   More information can be found at www.taospueblo.com.

Area Museums


Taos offers history and art enthusiasts a great number of museums which shine light on the area’s rich, late Spanish Colonial and artistic histories.  Among the more popular museums in Taos are:

  • Blumenschein Home and Museum (taoshistoricmuseums.com/el-blumenschein-home/)
  • Taos Art Museum (taosartmuseum.org)
  • Harwood Museum of Art (harwoodmuseum.org/)
  • Millicent Rogers Museum of Art (millicentrogers.org/)
  • La Hacienda de Los Martinez (taoshistoricmuseums.com/hacienda-de-los-martinez/)
  • Kit Carson Home and Museum- If you want a glimpse into the modest lifestyle of Taos's frontiersmen, head to this 3-room adobe home, a block east of the Taos plaza. Built in 1825 and purchased in 1843 by Carson -- the famous mountain man, Indian agent, and scout -- it was a wedding gift for his young bride, Josefa Jaramillo. It remained their home for 25 years, until both died (exactly a month apart) in 1868. (575)758-4613 or 758-4945
  • Bent House and Museum- This residence of Charles Bent, New Mexico Territory's first American governor, offers an interesting peek into the region's, at times, brutal history. Bent, a former trader who established Fort Bent, Colorado, was murdered during the 1847 Native American and Hispanic rebellion, while his wife and children escaped by digging through an adobe wall into the house next door. The hole is still visible. Period art and artifacts are on display at the museum, just a short block north of the plaza.
  • The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi- Located in Ranchos de Taos and built in 1772, this is one of the southwest's most photographed, painted and famous churches. The feast of St Francis is celebrated annually in the church and in the village of Ranchos de Taos on October 4. The church is always open to respectful visitors. (greatbuildings.com/buildings/San_Francisco_de_Asis.html)

Art Galleries


Art permeates nearly every aspect of life in Taos.  From the living art of sunset on Taos Mountain to paintings for sale in nearly every restaurant, art in all its forms can be found just about everywhere in Taos.  The center of the city of Taos has over 100 quality art galleries and museums displaying a wide variety of disciplines.  The magic light and a long history of famous local artists have long made Taos a mecca for artist and art collectors alike.  Many famous artists, both past and present, have made Taos their home and the plethora of present day galleries and art museums are a testament to Taos’ rich history of art and artists. While there are too many to list individually, an afternoon spent walking around the center of Taos will provide the opportunity to visit a wide variety of art galleries.

Swimming


  • The Taos Youth & Family Center houses an indoor aquatic recreation area with a kid’s pool, water slides, and a lap pool open to the public for a modest fee.  (www.taosyouth.com/tyfc_swimming.html)

Exercise Facilities


  • Excercise Facilities - TaosThe Edelweiss Lodge & Spa has an exercise room with stationary machines, free weights and yoga supplies available to all Edelweiss guests (www.edelweisslodgeandspa.com)
  • High Altitude Training Gym- Located in the heart of Taos Ski Valley, this gym offers day passes to use their facilities with classes offered regularly throughout the winter.  (505) 699.6719
  • Northside Health & Fitness Center- Located on Taos’ north side near Arroyo Seco and Taos Ski Valley. The Northside Health & Fitness center is open all year. Northside Health and Fitness is a complete gym with personal trainers, aerobics classes, a weight training area, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, and childcare.  Day visits available. (www.taosnorthsidespa.com)
  • Taos Spa & Tennis Club- Located on Taos’ south side, the Taos Spa and Tennis Club is open all year with full training and spa facilities, including indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs, and even tanning beds. Day visits available. (www.taosspa.com)

Spa Services


  • Spa in TaosThe Edelweiss Lodge & Spa has Taos Ski Valley’s premier day spa offering a range of massage therapies, body scrubs, and facials to Edelweiss guests and outside guests alike.  Appointments are essential.  (www.edelweisslodgeandspa.com/spa)
  • Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa- Considered a sacred spot by the prehistoric Pueblo Indians who inhabited the mesas and valleys, and referred to the Spaniards as the "hot eye" of a deep volcanic aquifer. The only natural hot spring in the world with combination of five bubbling waters: iron, arsenic, lithium, soda and sodium. (www.ojocalientesprings.com)

More . . . Kids & Family Activities & Programs


  • Taos Youth and Family Center (www.taosyouth.com)
  • Twirl Toystore and Kidspace  (www.twirlhouse.com)
  • Batik Classes at Good Thunder Batik Gallery (www.garyfey.com)
  • Pottery Classes at Taos Clay Studio (www.loganwannamaker.com)
  • A Kid’s Place - A Kid's Place is a fully-licensed and insured childcare center conveniently located in Arroyo Seco on the Taos Ski Valley Road (State Road 150) between the town of Taos and the Taos Ski Valley. (575) 776-8995
  • Kit Carson Park- Kit Carson Park and Historic Cemetery is located 1-½ blocks north of Taos Plaza at 211 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte. This 19-acre park features a ¾-mile walking and jogging track around the perimeter. The park provides multipurpose courts for tennis and basketball, as well as three baseball fields. There are also large open fields suitable for soccer, frisbee and just relaxing. Kit Carson Park also has a playground for children ages 2–12 as well as ample picnic and barbecue areas throughout the park.  Kit Carson Cemetery is over 150 years old and is the final resting place of Kit Carson, Padre Martinez Governor Bent, Mabel Dodge Luhan and other prominent Taoseños.  Amenities include a walking/jogging trail, two fields for soccer practice, two little league ball fields, one t-ball field, one picnic shelter, a bandstand, several picnic areas, basketball court, and a tennis court.  Hours: 7:00 AM to 8 PM daily during the summer.
  • The Hardwood Museum of Art Kids Programs- (www.harwoodmuseum.org/learn/kids )

Recreation Areas and Other Attractions


  • Northside at Taos Ski Valley Winter and Summer Recreation Area (www.ridenorthside.com)
  • Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area: Carson National Forest- (www.fs.fed.us/r3/carson/recreation/wilderness/wheeler_peak_info.shtml)
  • Wild Rivers Recreation Area (http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/taos/wild_rivers_rec_area.html)
  • Bandelier National Monument- Home of the Anasazi, who are the ancient ancestors to the Pueblo Indians. Bandelier's Visitors Center has excellent exhibits and an interpretive film on the Anasazi. Additionally there are underground kivas in the canyon floor and rooms carved out of soft volcanic rock high in the canyon walls.  (www.nps.gov/band/index.htm)
  • Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa- Considered a sacred spot by the prehistoric Pueblo Indians who inhabited the mesas and valleys, and referred to the Spaniards as the "hot eye" of a deep volcanic aquifer. The only natural hot spring in the world with combination of five bubbling waters: iron, arsenic, lithium, soda and sodium. (www.ojocalientesprings.com)
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park- (www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm)
  • Heron Lake State Park- (http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/heron.htm)
  • Rio Grand Gorge Bridge- Built in 1965, it was called the "Bridge to Nowhere," as there was not enough funding to continue the road from the other side. At 650 feet above the Rio Grande and 1200 feet across, it is the second highest suspension bridge in the United States. The view from atop the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is incomparable. From the vantage point you can see for miles across the high desert sage, with the slash through the landscape that is the gorge always drawing your attention away from everything else. There is a small visitor’s center on the western side of the bridge, and there are pedestrian walks on either side allowing unequaled views down into the gorge.
  • Greater World Earthship Community Visitor’s Center- Earthships are "completely independent, globally oriented dwellings." In other words they are completely self-sustaining or "off the grid." The structures are built from recycled materials (mainly tires and bottles) and utilize solar and wind power. They also maintain catchment systems to provide water for all needs. Mike Reynolds has become world famous as the designer and chief proponent of earthship living and was the mastermind behind Taos’ Greater World Earthship Community.  The visitor center located just west of the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge is open to the public and provides insight as to how these “off the grid” homes work. (http://earthship.com/communities/the-greater-world-earthship-community)
  • The Valle Vidal - Donated in 1982 by Pennzoil to the People of the United States for its outstanding wildlife and scenic values, this 100,000-acre paradise sits between Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch and Philmont Scout Reservation, in the heart of the Sangre de Cristos. Its lush forests and fragile alpine meadows are home to a component of the largest herd of elk in the state. Often called the "Yellowstone of New Mexico", this national treasure is close to being given the full permanent protection it deserves. The Valle Vidal offers outstanding opportunities for fishing, hiking, biking and driving and can easily be visited from Taos in a day trip.  (www.vallevidal.org)

Scenic Drives


While there is no ugly way into or out of Taos, some area routes are more beautiful than others.
  • The Enchanted Circle- The Enchanted Circle contains many surprises. Not the least of these, for those unfamiliar with northern New Mexico, is the diversity of the landscape. This 86-mile trip through the Southern Rocky Mountains will dispel any thoughts of New Mexico being strictly a desert state. The circle is anchored by Wheeler Peak, which at 13,161 feet is the highest crest in New Mexico. Taos is the hub of the circle and a perfect base from which to make the trip in a single day. (www.destinationconnectionteam.com/individual.html#enchanted)
  • The High Road to Taos- The High Road to Taos proves that the shortest way is not always the best way between two points. To travel from Santa Fe to Taos you can take the low road, which certainly has its charms or you can travel the high road, which allows you to encounter unexpected delights around practically every corner. The seasons are never more evident than when you travel the high road. The fall and spring bring bursts of color that can take your breath away. The winter brings a quite solitude that shifts life into slow motion. In the summer you feel as though you have traveled back a hundred years to a land of hay bails and grazing cattle and even buffalo. (www.destinationconnectionteam.com/individual.html#highroad)
  • The Valle Vidal- Donated in 1982 by Pennzoil to the People of the United States for its outstanding wildlife and scenic values, this 100,000-acre paradise sits between Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch and Philmont Scout Reservation, in the heart of the Sangre de Cristos. Its lush forests and fragile alpine meadows are home to a component of the largest herd of elk in the state. Often called the "Yellowstone of New Mexico", this national treasure is close to being given the full permanent protection it deserves. The Valle Vidal offers outstanding opportunities for fishing, hiking, biking and driving and can easily be visited from Taos in a day trip.  (www.vallevidal.org)

Native American Sites


  • Taos Pueblo- see above (www.taospueblo.com )
  • Bandelier National Monument- see link above

Cooking Classes


Casinos