Taos Hot air balloon
April 18th, 2022

Santa Fe to Taos: Worth the Quick Trip

In between the mere 70-mile stretch from Santa Fe to Taos, New Mexico—and the extra 18 from Taos to Taos Ski Valley—there are plenty of attractions, historical landmarks, fun breweries, and countless outdoor recreation activities to plan a fun local road trip adventure. Whether you are visiting the area or live nearby, we've put together an itinerary so you can experience all of the best spots and gems to see along the way. 

Why You Should Come Visit Taos


From the symbolic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to the adobe-lined streets, Taos has a unique vibe that can't be found anywhere else. Taos prides itself on showcasing a strong connection with the history, culture, and local community. The intimate nature of the town can be attributed to independent and local shops rather than popular chain stores or outlets. Whether you prefer to soak in Taos by exploring outdoors or connecting with the community through the art scene, Taos is the place to be. 

Taos Ski Valley

Our beloved Taos Ski Valley offers year-round outdoor activities for all levels of adventure-seekers. The slopes are often filled with skiers and snowboarders looking to take advantage of the world-class runs and stunning peak views during the winter. Throughout the summer months, outdoor enthusiasts can partake in hiking or mountain biking, while foodies dive into some high alpine dining at the renowned Bavarian Restaurant. No matter the season, there is something fun to do for everyone.

Things to See on the Road to Taos

Outdoor Recreation Near Taos

Rio Grande Gorge State Park

Swing into Rio Grande Gorge State Park to stretch your legs and check out the impressive and famed Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The State Park offers picnic tables and is a perfect spot to take in the New Mexico landscape while enjoying a packed lunch or something from one of the many roadside options. 

Orilla Verde Recreation Area

Whether you enjoy fishing, mountain biking, hiking, or wildlife viewing, the Orilla Verde Recreation Area offers numerous outdoor activities opportunities. Conveniently located along the State Road 68 route, it's an easy option to try and catch a glimpse of a stoic bighorn sheep roaming the canyon walls high above the beautiful Rio Grande River. 

New Wave Rafting Company

In the town of Embudo, halfway between Santa Fe and Taos, is an outdoor activity for you river rats. Add a little adrenaline rush and adventure to your road trip by booking a half-day rafting trip at New Wave Rafting Company. The Racecourse run is a 3-hour excursion and will surely make you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your drive. There are many trusted and knowledgeable rafting companies in Taos if you find yourself desiring more rafting fun. 

Taos Balloon Rides

If you prefer to experience the Rio Grande River from a bit of a higher perspective rather than by rafting or hiking, then take to the skies to experience the Gorge and the panorama views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Taos Balloon Rides offer spectacular and scenic rides up to 4000 feet in altitude and is located just a quick 10-minute drive from Taos.  

Attractions & Landmarks

Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project

Take in a little bit of New Mexico's history by viewing the expansive petroglyphs at the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project. Thanks to a private land donation, the culturally rich landscape was preserved in 2007 and soon after landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Ranchos de Taos Plaza

If you're a history buff, the Ranchos de Taos Plaza offers a historic look into the life of 18th-century inhabitants. Located closer to Taos, the Plaza is home to 21 historic buildings, including the famed San Francisco de Asis Mission Church. 

Taos Artist Collective

Support local Taos artists and find a memorable keepsake to bring home after your adventurous road trip. The Taos Artist Collective is a community of artists showcasing pottery, artwork, sculptures, jewelry, and other handmade items. The Artist Collective provides a snapshot view of creative work inspired by the culture and landscape of Taos. 

Bars & Restaurants

Blue Heron Brewery

Don't let the quaint facade fool you. The beers at Blue Heron Brewery are packed full of bold and delicious flavors. Stop into the town of Dixon along your route to grab a refreshing beverage or lunch and sit on their welcoming patio.  

Vivac Winery

Established in 1998, the Vivac Winery is one of the highest altitude wineries in the world, at an elevation of 6000 ft. Enjoy a glass of wine as you stroll through the magnificent vineyards or take in a personalized experience in the tasting room. 

Taos Mesa Brewing

What better way to finish a road trip than with a cold beer? At Taos Mesa Brewing, you can celebrate and cheers with friends on a day filled with sightseeing and adventure. With a friendly and authentic Taos atmosphere, the brewery is a perfect spot to kick back, relax, and relive your road trip adventures. 

Santa Fe For Guests of Taos Ski Valley

With a nickname like "The City Different," Santa Fe is going to be hard to pass up if you are already visiting us in Taos Ski Valley. Full of historical architecture, rich culture, and an eccentric and vibrant lifestyle, Santa Fe has become New Mexico’s top tourist destination, and for good reason. If you are in Taos or Taos Ski Valley, planning a trip to nearby Santa Fe offers an opportunity to experience New Mexican history, a lively food scene, and its dynamic museums and art galleries.  

Start by immersing yourself in the heart of the city by visiting the Santa Fe Plaza. With local Southwestern artisan shops, restaurants, art and food vendors, and fun breweries, the Plaza is a must-see. Afterward, dial-up your adventure with an exciting cave tour or experience the psychedelic interactive collective that is Meow Wolf—a place better experienced than explained. 

Whether you're planning a day trip or a fun weekend adventure, there will be no shortage of exciting and worthwhile things to see along the way. If you're looking for additional fun activities to do in Taos, check out the multiple opportunities to elevate your trip and create an unforgettable experience.