Santa Fe to Taos on the Highroad

The crown jewel of tiny Santa Cruz is the church built in 1733. The settlement itself has seen plenty of history under both territorial Mexican and American governments. Chimayó offers two wonderful attractions: Santuario de Chimayó, a site considered holy by many area residents, and the Ortega Weaving Compound. The Ortega family has been creating unique wool weavings for generations. Their shop and gallery is a "must see." Robert Redford's famous film, "The Milagro Beanfield War", was shot in and around Truchas. There are a number of small galleries, "tiendas", and studios here. Note the 13,101-foot Truchas Peak on the eastern horizon of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The Mission Church of San José de Gracia in Las Trampas is one of the Southwest's most beautiful Hispanic Catholic churches. Recently restored by villagers, note the letter from President Bush on display in the nave. Leaving the sleepy settlement of Peñasco, you will pass through tiny Placita. Turn left at NM 518 for your passage through the unspoiled beauty of Carson National Forest. Stop at the U.S. Hill turnout for a breathtaking vista of the surrounding virgin forests and peaks. On your way into Taos, pass through the quaint village of Talpa. Turn right on the clearly marked main highway into Taos. Be sure to turn into the Plaza at Ranchos de Taos. You will encircle the Church of San Francisco de Asis, a structure you may recognize. Its most famous view is that painted by Georgia O'Keefe. Arrive in Taos. Attractions in this famous art colony include the Martinez Adobe, the Millicent Rogers Museum, the Kit Carson Home and Museum, and the Harwood Foundation. The Plaza is one of the state's most vibrant, a terrific place for people-watching and gallery hopping. One of the town's highlights is actually outside the city limits to the east ... ancient Taos Pueblo. Enjoy your Taos adventure!

Begin your Taos adventure on St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe. Drive north to downtown Española. Heading east, look for the intersection of NM 68 and State Route (SR) 76. Drive east on SR 76 through the quaint settlement of Santa Cruz

SR 76 continues through the Española Valley, passing through a series of small artistic settlements, the largest of which is Chimayó. Note the area's many apple orchards.

SR 76 is known as "The High Road." You'll soon understand why as the mountain settlements of Truchas and Cordova come into view. Truchas is perched along the ridge. Its many old tin-roofed adobe homes offer an almost unchanged view of life in New Mexico during the last century.

Continue your scenic drive north on SR 76 through Las Trampas, Chamisal, and Peñasco. The Picuris Pueblo, smallest of New Mexico's pueblos, is famed for its clay pottery flecked with mica. Ojo Sarco ("dry eye") offers a fine locally owned pottery studio.

Turn left at NM 518 for your passage through the unspoiled beauty of Carson National Forest.On your way into Taos, pass through the quaint village of Talpa. Turn right on the clearly marked main highway into Taos.