Western Trips

Western Trips

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Drive From Santa Fe to Taos New Mexico

Many people who travel to Santa Fe New Mexico enjoy taking a drive up to Taos. There's a lot of reasons for this and one of the biggest is that it's a beautiful drive and you're sure to get some excellent photo opportunities.

rio grande river
Scenic Rio Grande between Santa Fe and Taos NM
The drive north to Taos is pretty much a straight shot up US-285 and NM-68 for a distance of about 71 miles and a driving time of about 1 1/2 hrs or a bit longer. 

The last half of the drive fairly follows the course of the Rio Grande until you get nearer to Taos where the Rio Grande is more off to the west. Along the way you'll pass through several Native American reservations and drive through some of the most scenic areas of New Mexico. Part of the drive follows along the banks of the picturesque Rio Grande.


To be sure, between Santa Fe and Taos there are several historic sites and art communities off the main highway. depending on how much time you've set aside for your trip to Taos, you may want to visit a few of these.

Some Great Stops for Your Trip Planner

northern new mexico
More picturesque views of the Rio Grande
They include the Sancturario de Chimayo in Chimayo which is east of Espanola and the art gallery town of Truchas located on what is named "The High Road to Taos". This small village is filled with very interesting art galleries that are filled with excellent art pieces and all things New Mexico. It's a favorite stop during Art Tour Days.

New Mexican Vineyards


The Estrella Del Norte Vineyard just 15 minutes north of Santa Fe might also make a good addition to your Santa Fe vacation planner when driving north to Taos. Their hours are also seasonal with summer hours 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Mon. thru Sat. and 12:00 to 6:00 pm Sunday. Winter hours have a close time of 5 pm.To get there, drive north on US Hwy-285 to NM 503 which is just north of the Los Alamos Hwy turnoff. Turn right on NM 503 and go about 3/4 mile. The vineyard is at the intersection of NM 503 and North Shining Sun. To contact the vineyard phone 505-455-2826.

Another good winery stop between Santa Fe and Taos is the La Chiripada Winery and Vineyards in Dixon New Mexico. Dixon is about fifty miles north of Santa Fe. This winery produces over twenty different varieties of wine from dry reds to port and crisp whites. The name La Chiripada means "stroke of luck" in Spanish and the winery took the name from the old ranch where it is now located. The winery also operates a tasting room in Taos at 103 Bent Street. For more information and hours of operation, their phone number is 505-579-4437.

charles bent house
Charles Bent House, Taos NM
When you arrive in Taos you'll find some excellent art galleries and a very good selection of restaurants. Also, you'll want to make a stop at the old Charles Bent House which today is a very interesting museum.

Charles Bent was the very first governor of the New Mexico Territory. The New Mexico Territory was created after the Mexican American War in the latter part of the 1840’s. The territory was ceded to the U.S. from Mexico as part of the peace agreement. The Mexican government only controlled New Mexico for about twenty years after they expelled the Spaniards from North America in the 1820’s. 

Charles Bent was unfortunately killed in his home during an uprising of Mexicans, Indians and outlaws during the territory's infancy. The army based in Santa Fe journeyed to Taos, put down the revolt and arrested several participants who were eventually executed. The old Bent House is located on Bent Street just one block north of the Taos plaza.

The links below are to our Western Trips photo articles on the Sancturario de Chimayo and the Kit Carson Home and Museum...

A Visit to Sanctuario de Chimayo

Kit Carson Home and Museum


taos historic homes
Historic Taos Territorial House
You'll also want to stop at the Kit Carson Home and Museum in Taos. It's a real step back into the 1850's when New Mexico was a young territory. The Kit Carson Home and Museum is located at 113 Kit Carson Road just a few blocks east of the central plaza. The home and museum has many artifacts on display from the Kit Carson days including several firearms owned by the legendary frontier figure.Visitors are also treated to a short documentary regarding Kit Carson and some of his exploits in the west. A few blocks north and east of the museum is the grave site of Kit Carson. It's in easy walking distance from the museum.

Along the way and in Taos are many historical structures and landmarks. The Taos Territorial House shown above is just one of these.Today, the Territtrial House is a Historic Hacienda with luxury lodging and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Taos Territorial House is a restored adobe home which was built in the mid 1870's. The address is 114 Padre Martinez Lane just a few short blocks from the Taos plaza.

Because of it's close proximity to Santa Fe, making a trip to Taos can be a day trip or a fun overnight visit. Either way it's quite worth the trip.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Western Trips)

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