Taos and the High Road
Round trip of approximately 165 miles
To experience the best of both worlds, this route will take you on the "High Road" to Taos and on the way back, you will take the "Low Road" to Santa Fe.
Head north on US 84/285 and turn right on NM 503 where the "High Road" to Taos begins. Take NM 503 to NM 76. Follow NM 76 to Chimayó, a traditional weaving village with galleries featuring work by award-winning weavers. Here you'll find the 19th-century Santuario de Chimayó, known as the "Lourdes of the Southwest". it attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, especially on Good Friday of Easter week, seeking the "miraculous dirt" on church property rumored to have healing powers.
Continue on NM 76 through the towns of Cordova, Truchas and Ojo Sarco which all have great galleries selling woodcarvings, pottery, rugs and other local arts and crafts. In Las Trampas, San Jose de Gracia de las Trampas, an 18th-century mission church, is one of New Mexico's best-preserved examples of Spanish Colonial architecture. Pick up NM 518 at Peñasco and wind your way through the Carson National Forest to US 68 at Ranchos de Taos. Here you'll see the famous San Francisco de Asis Church which has been photographed and painted by many artists. Drive into Taos and explore museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and the historic Taos Pueblo.
When you're all shopped out and ready to head back to Santa Fe, take the "Low Road". Drive on NM 68 following the Rio Grande as it drops dramatically from a broad mesa into a narrow canyon. Out the window, you may be lucky enough to see river rafters and kayakers who are often on this part of the river where several miles of churning waters offer thrilling rides. Make a quick visit to Embudo, a historic railroad stop before continuing your journey through farmland dotted with roadside stands offering seasonal chile, fruit and other locally-grown foods. Turn south on US 84/285 at Española and return to Santa Fe.