Happy almost-Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week so far and are excited about the weekend to come! Today I’m sharing more about our trip to enchanting New Mexico, with one of North America’s most scenic byways, the High Road to Taos. We absolutely loved our time in Taos (see that here), but as it turns out, the journey there was just as stunning as the destination.
The main route to Taos (NM 68, the so-called ‘Low Road’) is a dramatic drive if you’ve got limited time, but the most spectacular way is via what’s known as the ‘High Road’. The journey from Santa Fe to Taos is only about 100 miles, but the drive takes you through a range of terrain from badlands of stark, weathered rock (where numerous Westerns have been filmed), to rolling foothills, lush canyons, and finally into pine forests. Traditional Spanish pueblos and villages, each steeped with culture and history, are dotted along the way and worth a stop, as well.
After a leisurely morning in Santa Fe, we headed north along the High Road to Taos. Many of the stops are on sacred tribal land or historic chapels, so we respected them with photos of only the outside, but you can still see the beauty.
one // Pueblo of Nambe
About 15 miles north of Santa Fe is an ancient Tewa Pueblo, a registered National Historic Landmark that dates back to around 1300. There’s also a short trail to the Nambe Falls Recreation Area, home to one of the most magnificent waterfalls in New Mexico, but it was closed for the season already.
The weather fluctuated with the terrain, so we were grateful we’d packed our Backcountry favorites. I was warm and cozy in my Patagonia pullover (how fun is this new color, now on sale!?), and added the vest for an extra layer. (Code SUGARPLUM15 saves you 15% off your first Backcountry order!)
I chose the Beyond Yoga leggings for their thicker material and stellar reviews. They are incredibly comfortable with a high-waist and soft, brushed fabric that feels a little like flannel. They were honestly really warm, even more so than jeans I wore on another day, and a great option for outdoor!
Fit Tip: I size up in pullovers and jackets, and am wearing a small in both. Leggings are true to size, I’m wearing ‘darkest night’ color in XS.
two // El Santuario de Chimayo
Chimayo is one of the most popular stops on the Santa Fe-to-Taos trek, made famous by El Santuario de Chimayo, a tiny church that some believe is filled with healing earth. Crosses, photos, and even crutches line the walls, left by people who claim to have been healed.
three // Truchas
At the top of a relatively remote mesa, is the small town of Truchas. The view of New Mexico’s second-tallest mountain is reason enough to stop here, but don’t miss the historical Nuestra Senora del Rosario church, with 19th-century santero art.
Adidas Terrex are my favorite hiking shoes… they’re not too heavy or clunky, and have incredible traction on so many surfaces. Plus, they can handle the mud and snow and easily wash off. I’ve worn them on every National Park and active trip we’ve taken!
Fit Tip: I size down half
four // Carson National Forest
In the span of a few short miles, you go from desert mesas to lush pine forests in Carson National Forest. I’m sure there are formal stops, but with spotty cell service throughout much of the drive, we just pulled over and explored near the road.
It was significantly colder in the snowy forest, so I added my quilted puffer coat as an extra layer. This coat is shockingly warm considering the size, and is perfect for travel since it packs into a compact ball. And it’s on sale, too!
Fit Tip: I size up, I’m wearing a small.
five // Talpa
The highlight of the small, ancient village of Talpa is a tiny church with a big name, Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos del Rio Chiquito, built in 1828. You can’t attend service in this church, but you can enjoy the beautiful and historical exterior.
From there, we drove through Ranchos de Taos and finally Taos Village, before stopping for the night at Cielo Taos Bed & Breakfast. You can see why they call New Mexico enchanting!
These are by no means the only memorable sights encountered along the High Road, but the highlights of our drive. We had the best day just exploring and wandering the peaceful roads and villages, and it felt as if we had the world to ourselves! We drove the ‘Low Road’ back to Santa Fe a few days later, and it was gorgeous, too.
Have you driven the High Road to Taos? What are some of your favorite scenic drives in the United States or beyond? We’re always looking to add to our list!
Don’t forget, save 15% off your first Backcountry order with code SUGARPLUM15 (some exclusions apply)! Both of our kids have Patagonia pullovers on their Christmas Wish Lists, so we’ll be shopping for several gifts at Backcountry! You can find their early Black Friday deals here, with amazing finds like this Patagonia jacket!
*All photos taken with our iPhone and edited with ColorStory app. This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and ShopStyle, but all product selections, styling, and snow-frolicking are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*