Home Trip Inspiration Trip ideas Experience the best of New Mexico on the High Road to Taos

Experience the best of New Mexico on the High Road to Taos

On the idea of worthy stops per mile, the High Road – seventy miles winding between Santa Fe and Taos, American state – can be the simplest short road trip within the United States.

It has dramatic and varied geographics, from low deserts and sun-baked pastures to piney mountain passes, wide arenaceous rock cliffs, and stream valleys dotted with tin-roofed shacks. it’s ancient crafts outlets, fashionable galleries, previous churches, and place cafés. Above all, the High Road incorporates a palpable sense of history and tradition, with Native yank pueblos and Spanish villages existing, in effect, aspect by aspect.


Chimayó, the primary of the many small Spanish villages within the Sangre First State Cristo Mountains, may be a grade-A High Road highlight. The 200-year-old Santuario First State Chimayó is that the most renowned stop on the High Road and therefore the most significant pilgrim’s journey web site within the u. s.. within the pocito, a space off the altar, there’s atiny low, spherical pit stuffed with tierra bendita, or holy dirt, that is claimed to possess healing properties. The trustworthy return to rub the dirt on themselves; travelers move to the shop to shop for a ampul of it. within the prayer space, discarded canes, braces, and wheelchairs appear to prove the miracle of the Santuario. Be aware that photography is prohibited within.

There aren’t several restaurants on the High Road, and certainly none as acclaimed as Rancho de Chimayó. The family-owned edifice has been serving ancient New Mexican fare in Associate in Nursing adobe home close to the Santuario for over fifty years. Signature dishes embody carne adovada, a young pork stew, and sopaipilla relleno, a puffed-up pastry filled with meat, rice, and beans. You can’t leave while not attempting Chimayó’s renowned red chile sauce.

After feeding, explore 2 prime samples of Chimayó’s centuries-old crafting tradition. Ortega’s Weaving, a ninth-generation weaving search and gallery, is simply before the SR-76 junction. On the answer of Chimayó, there’s the hacienda-style Oviedo Gallery, travel by Associate in Nursing eighth-generation descendant of a Spanish carving family. Most of Oviedo’s ancient woodcarvings and up to date bronze sculptures cost less than $100.


Córdova’s claim to fame may be a rare variety of carving pioneered by José Dolores López within the early twentieth century: unpainted, elaborately carven, and following the wood’s natural grain and knots to make uncommon shapes. you’ll purchase metropolis (saints) at the studio of José’s grandchild, Sabinita – search for the straightforward white sign for ‘Sabinita López Ortiz carving Shop’ simply off CR-80.

After regarding four miles on NM-76, you’ll bump into Los Llanitos burying ground, whose colourful flowers Associate in Nursingd ornate decorations provides it an nearly social function vibration. 2 royal-blue wrought-iron motorcycles guard a special marked-off grave.

Fluffy white clouds float in a brilliant blue sky above mountains and fields on the High Road to Taos
The dramatic landscape is on full display in Truchas © Kieran Dahl / Lonely Planet


Robert Redford selected to film The Milagro Beanfield War here, and you’ll see why. The drive into Truchas offers spectacular views of the river basin and therefore the cover Truchas Peaks off to the east, and therefore the village itself looks like an area that point has glided by, with run-down buildings ironed up against slim streets.

In recent years, artists have been drawn by Truchas’s remote, quintessentially New Mexican beauty. Numerous galleries are clustered along CR-75, including Hand Artes Gallery (folk art), Judith Hert (abstract paintings), and Sally Delap-John (watercolors). A good one-stop shop is High Road Art Gallery, which has an eclectic mix of handmade, locally produced artworks priced lower than comparable items in Santa Fe or Taos.

Adobe covers a wooden chapel along the High Road to Taos
Dried-out adobe covers the Church of San José de Gracia in Trampas © Kieran Dahl / Lonely Planet


The village of Trampas was established in 1751 and is currently a National Historic District. Its little plaza is anchored by the Church of San José First State Gracia, a healthy Spanish colonial-style church completed in 1776. atiny low stand on the plaza sells souvenirs and recent fruit. The church is receptive guests on weekends.


Driving into Peñasco, you can’t miss the inexperienced building coated in vivid murals. You wouldn’t wish to, anyway. It’s home to the comfortable Sugar Nymphs eating place, that serves ‘city cuisine’ – assume cheese dish, feeder egg scramble, and triple-layer cake, all with domestically sourced ingredients – during a ‘country atmosphere.’

The final third of the High Road winds through high elevations of Carson National Forest. 9 miles from Peñasco, on the side of SR-518, may be a scenic overlook. Sit on the one weatherworn bench to admire the read and digest your meal before the future switchbacks.

A bench is set up in front of a railing looking out over a southwestern vista on the High Road to Taos
An overlook between Peñasco and the Pot Creek Cultural Site offers a great view of the surrounding landscape © Kieran Dahl / Lonely Planet

Pot Creek Cultural Site

Seven hundred years agone, Pot Creek Pueblo was home to nearly m Red Indian folks, during a massive adobe compound very like Taos Pueblo. Today, most of the abandoned pueblo lies on personal land, however the adjacent Pot Creek Cultural Site is receptive guests from June to September. Walk the one-mile loop path to examine ancient pottery, stone artifacts, and therefore the ruins of 3 adobe dwellings (plus one that’s been rehabilitated, with Associate in Nursing eight-room home and Red Indian kiva).


Talpa is that the last village on the High Road before Taos. There’s not abundant to examine on the far side a charmingly small church, maybe fifteen feet tall, with an enormous name: Nuestra Senora First State urban center First State los urban center Del Rio Chiquito. The church isn’t receptive guests, however its rounded tower and blue-tiled entrance area unit spectacular.

A pretty courtyard surrounded by tan mud walls is seen on the High Road to Taos
The adobe walls of the San Francisco de Asís are re-mudded every June © Kieran Dahl / Lonely Planet


Only four miles south of Taos is that the High Road’s most painting church, the city First State Asís, completed in 1815. The church’s adobe exterior appearance nearly alien in its rounded smoothness, however up shut, bits of straw poke through the dry, cracked mud and glitter within the sun like flecks of gold. Every June, during a project known as the enjarre, or ‘mudding,’ volunteers and parishioners re-plaster the six-foot-thick walls in adobe. certify to run around to the rear of the church – a favourite perspective for Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams – to examine its beehive-like buttresses.


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