There is a ton to do in the Taos, New Mexico area. No time for boredom here! In the six days we were here in July, we could only brush the surface of all the nearby places to see, hike, bike, and photograph. Here are the highlights of a few of our adventures in the area.
Rio Grande Gorge State Park and Bridge
One of the most impressive places we visited in the Taos area was the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. Turns out this is the seventh highest bridge in the US. The views of the gorge are amazing, and the bridge isn't half bad either! We walked the entire bridge in both directions -- a thrill that those scared of heights might want to pass on. It was quite windy and a little cool up on the bridge, but we had a beautiful day to visit.
The Rio Grande Gorge State Park runs along the river and includes trails for hiking and mountain biking. This northern part of the park (Rio Grande del Norte) was declared a national monument as of March 2013.
After walking the bridge, we took a mountain bike ride down the West Rim Trail. The trail started out nice and smooth, but soon became quite rocky, so we made a short ride of it. Since we're no longer spring chickens, we prefer smoother terrain. We did get to take in some additional fine views from the trail.
La Senda del Medio Trail
On another day in the area, we returned to a different part of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument for a hike on the La Senda del Medio (The Middle Path) Trail. There were five small campgrounds along this trail, and most sites were primitive (i.e., no hookups). This would be a great area to camp in. It's incredibly tranquilo. All you see is lush green trees and foliage near the river and beautiful views in all directions.
The total mileage of the trail out and back is just five miles, but we did extra by taking spurs to most of the campgrounds. The terrain is primarily moderate, with some rocky terrain and steeper climbs, especially near the far end of the trail (see photo below).
We stopped for lunch in this unoccupied shelter in the Petaca Campground before turning around and returning on the trail.
Taos Valley Overlook Trails
Another "hidden gem" (not so hidden, really, but that always sounds good!) just south of Taos is the network of trails called the Taos Valley Overlook -- you really can see for miles and miles here. Also in the Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area, these trails are available for use by hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. If you're hiking, you'd want to go on a cooler day as there is no shade. But on this day we were mountain biking, and we had a beautiful day for it. And only a few other people were using the trails mid-week. I suspect weekends would be busier.
We started out on a double-track trail that took us slightly downhill to the gorge overlook.
We rode the double-track trails until they got too rocky and washed out, then switched to singletrack, which was in much better shape. Sure, we (especially I) had to walk in a few places as we're not that experienced with singletrack, but it was still a great time. Barry did really well and seemed to enjoy himself quite a lot.
Barry was having so much fun, he headed back out for a little more riding while I took some final photos.
Stay tuned for more from Taos...next up: the FOOD -- and it was dynamite!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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