Looking for a spring break getaway?
Cradled by the Sangre de Christo Mountains, in the foothills of the Rockies, Taos is renowned for Taos Pueblo (the oldest consistently inhabited dwelling in North America) as well as its rich tri-Cultural History, long time reputation as a Bohemian Art Colony (with a myriad of galleries and Museums to prove it) as well as being home to a world-class Ski Resort, Taos Ski Valley. (Despite our unseasonably dry Winter, Taos Ski Valley has snow with reports of more on the way.)
Taos has it all, plus great weather, and when it comes to traveling with kids, this is as good as it gets, especially at this time of year.
But chances are, you already know this and have your flight booked, lodging arrangements set, and are now counting the hours.
Wondering what to do with the kids when not on the slopes? Well here are a few ideas.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
About 10 miles northwest of Taos on U.S. 64, the steel-deck arch bridge st spans one of New Mexico’s most scenic and dramatic vistas,
It sits high above the Rio Grande Gorge is our very own mini Grand Canyon, though just how high varies depending on whom you ask.
The state Department of Transportation says it’s 600 feet above. The adjacent park offers plenty of parking for those who want to walk across the bridge, visit vendors or walk trails that offer stunning views of the gorge and the river below.above
If you are lucky you might be blessed by the sight of a herd of Big Horn Sheep who traverse the steep rocky cliffs of the Gorge, fleet-footed.
Stagecoach & Black Rock Hot Springs
Nearby are the Stagecoach/Manby Hot Springs. About a 15-minute hike down a path, the pools are along the edge of the river in the ruins of an old stagecoach stop. With water temperatures of about 97 degrees, they are a year-round destination spot for locals and tourists alike.
Across the river, Black Rock are a little easier to get to, but understandably more popular and often quite busy. Be forewarned that although many do wear bathing suits, nudity at both Springs is not uncommon.
There is no Website for these Springs but Taos.org has info. See below.
About mile or so up the road from the Rio Grande Gorge is Tres Piedras, home to a colony of self-sustaining homes that are seemingly embedded in the landscape.
There are about 70 houses in the 633-acre subdivision, all made from all-recycled materials. There are no water, power or sewer lines, and lot owners are not allowed to drill wells. All water comes from the rain and snow fall, and sewage systems are all self-contained.
The community is the brainchild and headquarters of one of the early pioneers of the sustainable building movement, Earthship Biotecture, Michael Reynolds. There is a center where visitors can learn more about Earthships,. Nightly accommodations are also available. Earthship Global’s website link is included below this post.
Covering approximately 30,500 acres, the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area is the largest road-less area and one of the most ecologically significant pieces of land in the southern Rocky Mountain ecosystem.
With peaks reaching over 11,000 ft, clear mountain streams, spruce-fir forests, alpine meadows and expansive high-altitude grasslands, it’s the perfect place to spend the day in nature away from it all!
Located just a 15-minute drive north of Taos, the area is crisscrossed by a 75 mi trail system that is well-developed and diverse enough to offer a spectacular hiking experience for any fitness level. At 12,115 ft, Lobo Peak is New Mexico’s 33rd highest peak – though you might think you were on top of the world thanks to the stunning view of Wheeler Peak, the surrounding mountains and the Rio Grande rift valley below.
Only a few miles west of Questa as the crow flies, you do have to drive about 15 mi north of Questa via NM 522 to NM 378 to reach Wild Rivers Recreation Area—now part of the newly established Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument.
You’ll discover fabulous hiking trails here, at the confluence of two wild and scenic rivers, the Rio Grande and Red River.
There are a few easy and flat trails along the gorge’s rim, including a loop from the visitor center out to La Junta Point, for a beautiful view of the river, but perhaps the most compelling reason to visit, is for the opportunity to hike down into the gorge and study the rivers up close, which does entail hiking one of a couple of well-marked but very steep trails down into the gorge, a descent of about 650 feet.
Be sure to bring hats, sunscreen and water. Without sufficient water or stamina, most people have an easy time descending into the gorge, and then find it difficult to make it back up.
Links to more information about all of the above, included below.
All photographs of our stunning landscape by Bill Curry