North Central Region
Welcome to a region we call North to Adventure and Central to Everything. Bring your energy and enthusiasm to enjoy endless recreational activities, art, history, and great cuisine. This is the landscape that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe's startlingly colorful and shapely paintings. Allow it to do the same to you - ski or snowboard on our powdery snow (Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, Angel Fire Resort, Red River, and many others), climb our highest mountain, Wheeler Peak (13,161 feet), or raft through the cavernous Rio Grande Gorge. Hard to miss, it dominates the landscape of the Enchanted Circle (a too-short, very scenic 86-mile drive) between the towns of Taos and Angel Fire. Also hard to miss is Santa Fe, our state's capital and home to North America's oldest church and world-renowned art galleries, marketplaces, and performance venues.
The adventure of this region begins in the many mountains that characterize the landscape. Hike, camp, and hunt in the eastern Sangre de Cristo Mountains - (meaning "blood of Christ") so called because of the red hues they take on at sunrise and sunset - or the northern San Juan Mountains, or the western Jémez Mountains, volcanic in origin and considered sacred and legendary to the people of many pueblos. Here, don your hiking boots and check out Bandelier National Monument, outside of Los Alamos (where the famous Los Alamos National Laboratories are located) and discover 12th-century Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings.
If sightseeing is more your interest, you'll find this region is central to many pueblos, including, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Jémez, Zia, Tesuque, Pojoaque, and Nambé. Our capital city, so called the "City Different" has all the markings of a cosmopolitan city in its offering of art, culture, and cuisine, but still has a small-town feel. A smaller-town feel can be found north in Taos, gateway to the Enchanted Circle and the Ski Valley, and home to the multistoried Taos Pueblo (continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years), recently designated a World Heritage Site. And be sure to make a stop in the town of Chimayo to see the early 1800s-shrine, Santuario de Chimayó - the area is famous for its miraculous healing earth and Good Friday pilgrimages.