High Road to Taos and Beyond

The way to Taos from Santa Fe is the High Road, a scenic route through the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

The High Road to Taos provides a much deeper sense of history of the region. The valley seems like a series of plush oases. Small, traditional Hispanic villages surrounded by orchards and meadows make the drive worthwhile.

El Santuario de Chimayó

The word "chimayó" comes from the Indian word for "hot springs" that were sacred for the Tewa Indians. Built of adobe, El Santuario de Chimayó is a National Historic Landmark and has been referred to as the "Lourdes of America". El Santuario de Chimayó was built between l8l4 and l8l6; the "miraculous" crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas was found around l8l0. A small room called el pocito [the little well] contains a round pit, the source of "holy dirt" that is believed to have healing powers.

Ortega's Weaving Shop, Chimayó

Ortega's Weaving has carried on its handcrafted tradition for nine generations. Gabriel Ortega passed on his knowledge of weaving to his son, thereby starting a tradition of Chimayó weaving that continues to this day. Ortega's Weaving produces a wide range of items, from rugs to blankets to placemats. Be sure to stop there.

Church of San José de la Gracia, Las Trampas

The village of Las Trampas was established as a Spanish-American community in 1751 by 12 families. A model of the Spanish colonial church architecture and a National Landmark, the Church of San José de la Gracia was built from 1760 to 1776.

High Road to Taos

Take advantage of the many overlooks along the High Road to Taos.

Blanket Woven in Ute Style, Millicent Rogers Museum

An example of an earliest style of Navajo blanket made from wool and dyed using native plants. These blankets are called "Ute Style" because the Navajos traded them with their northern Ute neighbors. The Millicent Rogers Museum is worth a visit.

Mimbres Pottery Bowl, circa 1100

This Mimbres pottery bowl features two human figures with a bird flying over their head. This bowl was ceremonially "killed" at the time of burial by having a hole punched to the bottom.

San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church, Ranchos de Taos

Completed in 1816, the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church has four "beehive” shaped buttresses that support the back of the church structure and two support the front. A thick adobe wall surrounds the church, cemetery, and forecourt.

The Church is the subject of several paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, photographs by Ansel Adams, Ned Scott, and Paul Strand. Georgia O'Keeffe described it as "one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards." The Taos Chamber of Commerce states that the building is "one of the most photographed and painted churches in the world."

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Spanning 1,272 feet, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, at 565 feet above the Rio Grande, is the seventh highest bridge in the United States. Located near Taos, New Mexico, the bridge was completed in 1965 and received the American Institute of Steel Construction’s award for “Most Beautiful Long Span Steel Bridge” of 1966.

Rio Grande Gorge State Park

Looking down at the Rio Grande from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The Rio Grande Gorge State Park runs along the banks of the river and has four camping/picnicking areas. In addition, throughout the deep canyon, the Rio Grande offers whitewater boating.

San Geronimo Cemetery and Church, Taos Pueblo

The cemetery stands on the ground where the San Geronimo Church once stood. The Taos people were forcibly converted to Catholicism in order to become "civilized", which led to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. [Note: Indians who had lived and worshiped independently for centuries were forced to abandon their religions, adopt Christianity, and pay tribute to Spanish rulers.]

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. The multi-storied residential complex of reddish-brown adobe was built from 1000 to 1450. Approximately 150 people make their homes full-time in the pueblo. The Taos Pueblo is a sovereign nation governed by a Tribal Council of elders which appoints a governor and war chief.

Eagle Nest State Park, New Mexico

From Taos, you can take an excursion to the Enchanted Circle Loop, a 84-mile drive centered on Wheeler Peak, which is the highest point in the state of New Mexico. Outdoor recreation is abundant around the Enchanted Circle. You can stop for lunch at Red River or Eagles Nest, or bring your picnic basket and enjoy a spot by a stream or lake.

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