Tag Archives: Taos

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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Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

The Road to Taos—July 2012


The next morning we departed Santa Fe for a quick road trip to Taos.  Alas, we didn’t make it.

Note to the business owners, police department, city council, and mayor of Taos, New Mexico:

There is one main thoroughfare through your fair city.  That thoroughfare is, for all intents and purposes, the only way to get from Santa Fe to points north, via New Mexico Highway 68 where it joins up with U.S. Highway 64.  It is never a good idea to shut off your main street (and a major state highway leading to a major U.S. highway) for a street festival.  It is an even worse idea to do so without posting directions for an alternate route around the blockage.  Setting up a police roadblock, having an officer direct you to turn off the main drag, and having no directions as to what follows is a sure way to get us, a dozen or so cars, and a motorcycle tour group (from what I saw in the 20 minutes we got tied up in this fiasco) to make a U-turn and head back toward more visitor-friendly venues.  Shame on you, Taos.  What the hell were you thinking?  You didn’t have another street you could close?  Really dumb, guys.

But it wasn’t a total loss.  Cresting the mountains and descending into Taos grants to you a grand view of the Taos Gorge.  Running through that gorge is the Rio Grande . . . the same Rio Grande that eventually makes its way down to El Paso and forms the border between Texas and Mexico.

Ursula and I have on two occasions gone river rafting on the Rio Grande river just southwest of Taos.  We didn’t do so this trip, as the water was too low to have much fun.  But we did stop and take pictures of those who were out on the river that day.

These scenes alone were almost worth the aggravation of dealing with the stupidity that ran rampant through Taos that day:

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Why I Love Northern New Mexico—Part 1


This week I’m going to let photography do most of the speaking.  But in short, I love Northern New Mexico for the old missions, the art communities, the scenery, and the cuisine.  I love towns such as Chimayo, Abiquiú, Santa Fe, and Taos.  I love Canyon Road in Santa Fe for its 100+ art galleries, each one as distinct and individual as is the state of New Mexico itself.

So, today we begin a three-part photo journey into The Land of Enchantment:

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