The Land of Enchantment
Welcome To Your Outdoor Vacation in the Rockies
Explore Oudoors: The Scenic Byway & Enchanted Circle of New Mexico
Imagine waking up every morning to the view of swirling amber light bouncing off the side of the Rockies. Here evergreens reign high among the cliffs while wildlife like bald eagles and longhorn sheep reside in the aptly named enchanted forests surrounding these picturesque Northeastern mountain towns.
Designated a New Mexico Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway the Enchanted Circle encompasses an 84-mile loop to and from Taos on four major highways. Along these highways lie Red River, Eagle Nest, Questa and Angel Fire with Arroyo Seco and Taos Ski Valley inhabiting the middle. Each place boasts of unique landscapes, storied pasts and sublime cultural identities. Explore them all on a driveable vacation through Northern New Mexico and discover new adventures at each stop.
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A long time haven for Texans and Oklahomans looking to escape the summer heat, this breath-taking family-friendly mountain town may just be one of the best-kept secrets in the Southwest. Home to some of the finest outdoor adventures around, including hiking, biking, fishing, white water rafting, skiing and snowboarding, there’s something to do for everyone in your group all year round.
The tranquil beauty of Main St. is dotted with locally-owned shops, restaurants and old-fashioned saloons. While on all sides of the valley, breathtaking views of the Sangre Christo Mountains, give it a completely off the grid otherworldly feel. Slow-moving cowboy type energy flows through the streets even while bikers and skiers fly down the top of the 8,671 ft. elevation of Wheeler Peak.
If not for the storied past of Eagle Nest it wouldn’t be what it is today. A popular stop on the Santa Fe Trail and for visitors attending the horse races of nearby Raton it began flourishing as a tourist destination in the 1920s. It was the damn though, created in the wake of the contentious Maxwell Land Grant, that created Eagle Nest lake offering suburb angler fishing and beautiful vistas for visitors staying or passing by.
Once fraught with lawlessness by legends like Billy The Kid, today Eagle Nest has a population of just 300 full-time residents. Boasting outdoor activities, multiple campgrounds, parks and the highly celebrated Laguna Vista Hotel, Eagle Nest is a true haven for any outdoor enthusiast.
Known for ethereal scenery, craftsmen and trails off the beaten path, Questa is a remote escape for those looking to free themselves from the crowds of Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Standing between Carson National Forest and the Rio Grande, hiking trails in either direction lead to breathtaking trout streams and mountaintop lakes.
Situated around a thick-walled adobe church, Questa the town is remarkably small. That hasn’t stopped dozens of artists and writers from taking residents in the surrounding land over the years. Questa’s motto is ‘find what’s real’. Activities range from camping, fishing, hiking ATV tours to art and live performance events.
Having been called the ‘affordable Aspen’, Angel Fire is a playground for families, groups and couples at a much lower price tag than you’d find in neighboring Colorado. With equal grandeur, located in the southernmost peaks of the Rockies, Angel Fire offers top-notch skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking. In fact, Angel Fire Resort hosts the largest mountain biking terrain in the Rockies with 2,000+ vertical feet and 60+ miles of purpose-built, lift-served terrain.
In the winter activities at the resort turn to skiing, snowboarding and sledding. Horse drawn sleigh rides can be arranged in the foothills of the mountains. Activities don’t end with the daylight either. The resort is open for night skiing on weekends and holidays. Find places to stay in Angel Fire and information about the upcoming ski season.
The village of Arroyo Seco, just outside of the Taos Ski Valley is a destination that any artist will delight in. The quaint village square is filled with galleries, pottery studios and boutiques. Here charming adobes are set against the backdrop of Taos Mountain. Almost everywhere you look there is a celebration of Native Culture.
Restaurants in Arroyo Seco are considered some of the best. With many farm to fork and vegetarian options, even locals make the drive from Taos to frequent them. Artist workshops, yoga studios, retreats and annual cultural and musical events make Arroyo Seco a unique and inspiring tourist destination.
Taos Ski Valley
Located just 50 miles south of the Colorado border, Taos Ski Valley lies in the heart of the Enchanted Circle. Flanked by rugged mountains and unparalleled terrain, it’s considered one of the best places to ski in all of New Mexico. Upscale in feel but down to earth in sustainability and immersion in local culture makes Taos Ski Valley the quintessential place to be.
Built in the traditional alpine European style architecture, Taos Ski Valley is home to over 40 locally-owned restaurants, shops and boutiques. It hosts a world-class spa as well as summer outdoor excursions like rock climbing, horseback riding and a heritage inspiration tour. Taos Ski Valley is a top destination for competitive skiers, families and a favorite couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The heartbeat of Taos can be felt throughout the epicenter, Taos Square. Here you can find anything from traditional oil paintings to sculptures to native crafts and conceptual art. In the summer live music and food stands populate the square. In the winter cozy up next to a fireplace in one of the many adobe-style restaurants and bars that surround the square.
The eclectics of Taos can be seen throughout all seasons from Farmers Markets and Art Festivals in the Summer to artist workshops and musical performances all year long. Visit Taos in the summer for long sunny days and walking tours. Winter vacation hotspots include The Kit Carlson Museum, Taos Pueblo or the Millicent Rogers Museum. Outdoor activities range from snowshoeing in the nearby canyons to snowmobiling to 12,000 feet.
For a one of a kind outdoor adventure vacation the Enchanted Circle, New Mexico is the place to be. Book today and don’t forget, for a stress-free arrival, make it a