Taos Ski Valley.
Photo courtesy Taos Ski Valley
Nestled between the lofty crags of Taos Mountain and the rugged crevasse of the Rio Grande Gorge, the outdoor adventure possibilities in Taos are as endless as the sagebrush mesa.
Taos Ski Valley attracts skiers from across the country to its groomers, glades, moguls, and bowls. It's best known, however, for high-alpine terrain — the Kachina Peak Lift reaches 12,481 feet and serves 150 acres of advanced terrain. For backcountry enthusiasts, TSV boasts hike-in terrain.
The Rio Grande courses past Taos, tumbling into white-water rapids that kayakers can't wait to dip their oars into. Most travelers are best served by joining half- and full-day tours with local outfitters, of which there are several; some combine cultural elements such as Native American storytelling, or other sports, such as rock climbing.
Come summer, Taos Ski Valley abuts some of the best hiking terrain in the state. Nearby, trails to scenic Williams Lake and Wheeler Peak (the state's highest) climb through ponderosa stands in Carson National Forest. North of Taos, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument protects pristine lands stretching to the Colorado state line, including the Rio Grande Gorge, a popular hiking destination along the rim and to its 800-foot depths.
Hiking With Llamas
Photo courtesy Wild Earth Llama Adventures.
Why? Because the gentle, sure-footed camelids carry your gear — and lunch — leaving you free to take in the pristine wilderness and seldom-explored areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos. Stuart Wilde, owner and chief guide of Wild Earth Llama Adventures, enriches the daylong outings with stories of natural and cultural history.