17 Incredible Things To Do In Taos: Your Taos Travel Guide

Taos Mountain Views from The Ski Valley

If you’re looking for a quaint little southwest town that is perfect for outdoor adventures, a dream for art lovers and away from the hustle and bustle that tourists tend to bring, well, look no further than Taos, New Mexico.

From hiking to shopping to art galleries and museums, there is an abundance of amazing things to do in Taos. So what are you waiting for?!

Things To Do In Taos

Where Is Taos New Mexico?

First, let’s get you familiar with where Taos is on the map. Taos is located about 45 miles south of the Colorado border in northern New Mexico’s high desert.

The town sits at around 7,000 ft in elevation and offers spectacular views of the Southern Rocky Mountain subrange, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Check Out: The Ultimate Colorado Road Trip

What Is Taos New Mexico Known For?

Regardless the time of year, Taos really is a perfect place to visit. There is so much to see and do, especially if you love art and the outdoors.

Home to a world-class ski resort, amazing hiking and biking trails and breathtaking landscapes that will make you fall in love, Taos is a perfect southwest getaway.

Let’s get to the specifics though, shall we?

What To Do in Taos

1. Shop at The Historic Taos Plaza

Located in the heart of the Historic District, you’ll find Taos Plaza. The Plaza is a perfect place to spend the afternoon shopping for handmade tribal pottery, jewelry and candles.

You’ll also find an assortment of clothing shops. From leather goods to souvenir shirts and hoodies, the Plaza is a great place to get your shopping fix.

Plan to grab some lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes that surround the plaza and enjoy the afternoon.

View of Historic Taos Plaza

2. Listen to Live Music at K-Tao

Known as THE live music venue in Taos, K-Tao houses two of the region’s most popular radio stations as well as a full bar and dance floor. Enjoy outdoor seating and sweeping views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains as you enjoy some tunes.

3. Watch The Sunset on The Sangre de Cristo Range

There is nothing quite as spectacular as a Taos sunset. The way the light hits the mountains and to see the purples, pinks and oranges illuminate the sky, it’s truly a sight to see. If possible, catch the sunset every night. You won’t regret it.

A Beautiful Sunset In Taos

4. Hike To The Tallest Point in New Mexico

Taos is home to the tallest peak in New Mexico, Mount Wheeler. Standing tall at 13,161 feet, Mount Wheeler is one epic hike to check off your list. Plan to start the hike at dawn to avoid any afternoon weather shifts and changes. You don’t want to be caught in a storm that high up.

You can access the trail head from the Ski Valley and be prepared for it to take you anywhere from 6-8 hours round trip. It’s a moderate to difficult hike so just make sure you have appropriate shoes and plenty of snacks and water.

5. Visit The Taos Pueblo

The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. It’s home to the Taos Pueblo Native Americans who speak the Tiwa language.

It’s estimated that around 150 people reside in the Pueblo. Graciously, the Pueblo Native American open their homes and land for visitors to enjoy.

Cost of admission and hours of operation are below.

  • Pueblo Hours:
    • Monday – Saturday: 8:00am – 4:00pm
    • Sunday: 8:30am – 4:00pm
  • Pueblo Entrance Fee:
    • Adults: $16 / person
    • Seniors: $14 / person
    • Students: $14 / person
    • Kids (10 and under): Free
View of the Taos Pueblo

6. Enjoy A Dip In the Taos Hot Springs

Located in the neighboring town of Arroyo Hondo, you’ll find the Manby Hot Springs (also known as Stagecoach Hot Springs). The Manby Hot Springs are three , rustic, naturally occurring rock pools that are situated along the Rio Grande River.

These hot springs are nothing fancy, but if you’re looking for a relaxing and unique experience in Taos, these are for you.

7. Drive Over The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Suspended 600 ft above the Rio Grande River, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. Located a few miles out of town, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is an easy and enjoyable pitstop to make and check out the views below.

Park your car and walk the bridge to get a few photos of the amazing views from the mesa and below.

the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in Taos

8. Get Inspired by The Taos Earthship’s

You’re probably wondering what an Earthship is, right? Earthsips are self-sufficient, off-the-grid home that are made out of recycled materials like glass and tires.

Located outside of town, you’ll find the Earthship Visitor Center where you can learn all about the build of these homes, how they grow their own food, reuse their own water, etc.

It’s really a cool place for those who love eco-friendly or sustainable lifestyles or just interested in unique architectures.

The Taos Earthship Visitor Center

9. Go For a Birdie at The Country Club

The Taos Country club is a 18 hole golf course offering public tee times to locals and visitors. Hit a few balls in a picturesque course setting and then grab a beer at the Terrace Bar & Grill before heading out.

10. Visit Some Museums In Taos

If there is one thing that Taos has besides amazing scenery, it’s museums. From Hispanic works of art to local artists to learning about an American frontiersman, there is a museum for you in Taos.

  • Kit Carson’s Home & Museum – Built in 1825, walk through and learn about the life of the American frontier expedition leader, Kit Carson.
  • The Millicent Rogers Museum – Millicent Rogers spent her life collecting  Southwestern artwork. After her breakup with Hollywood star, Clark Gable, Millicent came to Taos where she continued her collection. After her death, her son turned her art collection into a 14 gallery art exhibit for the public to enjoy.
  • Taos Art Museum at Fechin House – If you want to experience the works of local artists, make a visit to the Taos Art Museum.
  • Harwood Museum of Art – The Harwood Museum is the second oldest art museum in New Mexico offering over 1,700 works of art and 17,000 photographic images for you to enjoy.

11. Feed Your Adrenaline With Taos White Water Rafting

Book a tour with Los Rios River Runners to take your outdoor adventure up a notch. From half-day, to full day and over night white water rafting excursions, there is no other company that has more experience on the river than Los Rios River Runners.

White Water Rafting in Taos

12. Head To The River & Give Fishing A Try

For any avid anglers or folk who just wanna have fun, check out Taos Fly Shop or Solitary Angler to book a fresh water fishing trip on one of the many rivers near Taos.

The area is known for its good trout fishing so if you’re in the area, head to the river, who knows what you’ll catch!

13. Go Up and Down on Mountain Biking Trails

Nestled amongst the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it would only make sense that Taos would have some great mountain biking trails. There are a handful of trails located within town and outside of town.

A few popular trails by locals and visitors are listed just below.

  • Amole Canyon | 7.2 miles | Rated as easy
  • Cebolla Mesa | 7 miles | Rated as easy
  • Ojitos Canyon Loop | 10 miles | Rated as difficult
  • Ski Valley (Northside) | Numerous Trails | Varying difficulties

14. Hit The Slopes at Taos Ski Valley

From greens to black diamonds and backcountry skiing, Taos Ski Valley is a gem! The Taos Ski Valley is no where near as busy as the ski resorts a few hours away in Colorado, giving you more time on the mountains.

You’ll enjoy every minute here, from its beautiful views to its European vibes.

For all the die-hard ski’ers and snowboarders, Kachina Peak (12,481 ft) is a must! Oh and no worries if you don’t know how to ski, the Taos Ski School is one of the highest rated ski schools in North America.

Lauren skiing down the slopes at Taos Ski Valley

15. Stop By San Francisco De Asis Church

Built in the early 1800’s, San Francisco de Asis Church is the only original church remaining intact in the town of Taos. The church itself has been a subject of several paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe as well as famous photographers like Ansel Adams.

A quick but well worth visit if you ask us.

Outside views of San Fransico De Asis Church

16. Explore The Skies in A Hot Air Balloon

If you’re wanting to see Taos from the sky, might we suggest booking a hot air balloon tour with Eske’s Paradise Balloon. Let Eske’s fly you over the Rio Grande Gorge as you take in the desert views below.

17. Camp At Williams Lake

Setup camp at at the alpine lake of Williams Lake. Sitting pretty at 11,000 ft, William Lake is a perfect place to camp for the evening. It’s especially popular spot for those hiking up to Wheeler Peak as you pass Williams Lake on your way up to summit.

TIP: Your campsite must be 300 ft away from the water’s edge. There is also no facilities up there so you must bring everything you need with you. Check out camping gear and pack list

Williams Lake in Taos

Getting There

When visiting Taos, understand you have two ways to get here 1) fly or 2) drive.

Flying

If you’re looking to fly directly into Taos, there is good news for you! The nearest airport is located right in town. Taos Regional Airport offers direct flights via Taos Air from select cities like, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Outside of flying directly into Taos, your closet airports are Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF) and Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ). Once you arrive at either of these airports, you’ll need to rent a car and drive the remainder of the way.

boarding air taos

Driving

The area around Taos is stunning. Doesn’t matter if you’re coming North from Colorado, South from Albuquerque or East from Texas, the closer you get to Taos, the prettier it gets.

Get miles and drive times below to start planning your visit.

  • Denver to Taos | 288 miles, 4h 45mins
  • Colorado Springs to Taos | 219 miles, 3h 36mins
  • Santa Fe to Taos | 70 miles, 1.5h
  • Albuquerque To Taos | 133 miles, 2h 25mins
  • El Paso to Taos | 376 miles, 6h 21mins
  • Dallas to Taos | 677 miles, 10.5h
  • Austin to Taos | 724 miles, 12h
  • Oklahoma City to Taos | 523 miles, 8h 45mins

Check Out: Top Road Trip Essentials To Pack

Transportation Services

Dependent on the day of the week and the season, there are transportation options from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Transportation providers like Taos Rides and Taos Express are options to look into.

It’s best to call ahead or book online if you are wanting to reserve transportation services.

TIP: Once in Taos, you’ll need to use Uber or book a rental car to get around town and the surrounding areas.

Where To Eat

Having Fun in Taos New Mexcio

Where To Stay

For more accommodation options, check out the latest places and prices here.

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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstusPinterest and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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