Santa Fe & Taos, NM
The Road to Taos
Most families do Taos as a day trip from Santa Fe. There's both a short route and a long route. We recommend trying each one. Either way, make sure the kids see Camel Rock, on the 84/285 stretch outside of Santa Fe. It's easy to spot the camel; it's located across from a large casino of the same name.
The Long Route (also known as the High Road). This route should be driven during the day since signage can be hard to follow. Take Hwy 84/285 to Hwy 503 to Hwy 76 to Hwy 518 north for about 100 miles. The trip takes a little more than two hours, not including stops. There are several worthwhile stops along the way:
- Nambe Pueblo and Nambe Falls Recreation Area. About 16 miles north of Santa Fe, turn off for the quarter-mile scenic hike (easy, but steep in places) to a waterfall. Kids will like the fact they can spot cactus and lizards along the way. The road also goes past intriguing rock formations.
- Chimayo at El Santuario de Chimayo church. Pilgrims visit the rustic church believing the soil has healing powers. Nearby Restaurante Rancho de Chimayo is an excellent spot to eat on an old homestead. The menu includes family recipes for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales, and green chili stew, as well as hamburgers and chicken salad for finicky eaters. Reservations are recommended. Country Road 98, 505-351-4444.
The Short Route. Head back to Santa Fe on Route 68, which reconnects with 84/285. Stop at Rancho de Taos along the way. That's where famous photographer Ansel Adams photographed the San Francisco de Asis church. The route follows the Rio Grande, where you can go river rafting in summer. (Keep your eyes peeled for eagles).