Fall Foliage Tour — Beginning the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico


Taos Loop Fall Foliage-024

Early last October Ursula and I took a little road trip.  It began with a stop at Trinity Site, location of the first atomic bomb detonation.  You can see links to my articles on that adventure below following today’s post.  As for the rest of the trip — a fall foliage tour along the famous Enchanted Circle  through Taos, Questa, Red River, the Carson National Forest, Eagle’s Nest, and Angel Fire — I saved that for now.

Enchanted Circle drive

Enchanted Circle Byway

The reason for that delay is simple:  I wanted to time my articles on this journey to coincide with this year’s fall foliage season.  The Enchanted Circle Byway, also called “the Taos Loop”, is an 83-mile road trip through both nature and time that begins and ends in the art community of Taos, New Mexico.  The byway circles Wheeler Peak, which at 13,161 feet/4,011 meters is the tallest point in New Mexico.

Heading north from Santa Fe and descending into Taos the first “enchanting” view is of the Rio Grande Gorge, a deep scar that runs through the Taos Plateau volcanic field.  The gorge and surrounding areas are encompassed by the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, established in 2013.

Below are two views of the Rio Grande Gorge taken from high ground southwest of Taos.  The first shot was taken in the late afternoon on October 3, 2015.  The second was taken near midday the following day as we concluded our trip and started home.

Late after noon at the Rio Grande Gorge

Late after noon at the Rio Grande Gorge

Midday view of the Rio Grande Gorge in sunlight

Midday view of the Rio Grande Gorge in sunlight

Our intended destination this night was the resort town of Red River, where after the long drive from Trinity Site we hoped to find decent lodging at an affordable price.  You’ll see how we lucked out on Wednesday.  I’ll just say for now that this is a place I can highly recommend on your tour of the Enchanted Circle Byway.  Along the way we were treated to some magnificent perfectly lighted views beneath dramatic skies:

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Road to Red River

Quarry-Scarred Mountain

Quarry-Scarred Mountain

A preview of what lies ahead, from Wheeler Peak to our entry into fall foliage country:

Enchanted Circle drive

Enchanted Circle drive

Taos Loop

Taos Loop

Trinity Site series (sample photos below links):

Sample photos from the Trinity Site series:

“Jumbo”

“Ground Zero”

“The Gadget”

Historical photos of the Trinity blast

McDonald Ranch — Where the first bomb was assembled

Trinitite removal warning

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