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Taos, New Mexico Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Aug-01-2013, Hits: 2,411, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Taos, New Mexico Travel Guide Hotels and Lodging (42)
Restaurants (47)
Bars and Nightlife (13)
Attractions (41)
Services (9)
Maps (5)
Links (3)
New Mexico Travel Forum (3)
Red River, New Mexico Travel Guide
 
Location: North America
Geography: Desert, City
Vacation Type: Adventure, Culture and History
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path, Moderate Tourism
Costs: Budget, Moderate
Attractions: Skiing, Spa & Wellness, Hiking, Fishing, Festivals, Cultural Attractions, Camping, Scenery, Historical Sites, Rafting

Facts and Stats:
Population: 5,525
Land Area: 5.4 square miles
Elevation: 6,969 feet
Country Dialing Code: 1
Area Code: 575
Languages: English
Electricity: 110V
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time (MST): UTC-7 (Summer: UTC-6)
Current Time:

Scope:
In addition to Taos, this travel guide also covers the communities of:
  • Angel Fire - Pop. 1,126
  • Arroyo Seco - Pop. 1,149
  • Questa - Pop. 1,770
  • Rancho de Taos - Pop. 2,518
Introduction:
Taos is one of the most popular destinations in New Mexico, receiving hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Pronounced 'T-ouse', Taos is a town steeped in history and beauty. It attracts many types of people whom are drawn to the area for its beauty and historical significance. A long history of artists have flocked to Taos and the surrounding area. Taos alone has 3 art museums and over 80 art galleries. Georgia O Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Agnes Martin and R.C. Gorman and Ernest L. Blumenschein are just a few of the artists well known for their work in New Mexico. Other notables that lived in Taos include writer D.H. Lawrence and frontiersman Kit Carson.

In addition to the steeped history and art, Taos has a beautiful backyard. Many come to partake in the abundance of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, white water rafting and skiing.

Geography:
Taos is located in the North Central region of New Mexico. It is about 5.4 square miles, and is located 55 miles northeast of Santa Fe. Taos is 6,900 feet above sea level, the highest point is Wheeler Peak at 13,161 feet, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which are a subrange of the Rocky Mountains. Taos is nestled in the Taos Valley, and snuggles next to the Rio Grande with white water rafting excursions, hiking trails and more. Several mountain ranges provide the backdrop for Taos, which include 4 ski areas: Red River, Sipapu, Angel Fire and Taos Ski Valley.

Taos itself consists of three settlements. The main settlement is the village of Taos (Don Fernando de Taos). Four miles south of the town is an Indian farming community called Ranches of Taos (Ranchos De Taos). Three miles to the north of Taos is Taos pueblo, which is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.

Brief History:
Rock art has been found along the Rio Grande in Taos County dating as far back as 5500 BC. Around 1050 AD, Pueblos began to build structures in the Taos area. Taos Pueblo was built between 1050-1450 AD, and not only still stands to this day, but is also occupied. It is the oldest continuously habitated community in the United States. It is a combination of many separate homes with common walls. There are about 1,900 people who reside there part time, and about 150 people who live there year round. The Taos Pueblo is considered to be one of the most significant landmarks in the world.

Taos was first noted by the Spaniards in 1540, when Capitan Hernando Alvarado arrived in the Taos Valley. The exchanges between the Tiwa Indians and the Spaniards were initially amicable. The area was referred to as Taos, a Tiwa word meaning 'red willow' or 'our village'.

Over time, tensions arose due to differing religious beliefs. The Tiwa joined the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Spanish citizens of New Mexico retreated to El Paso where they remained in exile for twelve years.

In 1693, after careful negotiations, some Spaniards were permitted back to build a church. Subsequently, Spanish government authorized agricultural land grants to Spaniards to settle in the area. The area was officially declared part of Mexico in 1821.

In 1848, Mexico ceded the region to the United States in the Treaty of Guadualupe Hidalgo after the Mexican-American war. New Mexico officially became a state in 1912.

People & Culture:
Taoseños feel very strongly that Taos is special. There is an emphasis on wellness, alternative medicine and the arts. With regards to art, Taos and Santa Fe combined comprise the third largest art market in the United States.

The vibe is tranquil, low key and laid back, and the ski resorts are more rugged than glitzy. The area is strongly influenced by both Spanish and Native American cultures, and also by counter culture, mysticism, and art of all kinds.

Taos has a small town feel, with the culture of a big city. People love that you can still get to know people in a town the size of Taos, it isn't crowded and people have time for one another.

Food & Nightlife:
Taoseños take offense to labeling their cuisine as Mexican or Southwestern (we did anyway). They will tell you that New Mexican cuisine has influences from Spanish and Native American cultures, and at the center of it all is the New Mexican chile, in both red and green varieties, which is used in everything from enchiladas to pizza to burgers. The chiles here, particularly the Hatch variety, are so good, every chile you have elsewhere will be a letdown.

Taos is not a town known for a roaring night life. You can enjoy live music, but you won't find any clubs. There are a lot of festivals in Taos throughout the year, and a lot of music year round.

Money & Costs:
Accomodations in Taos tend to be moderately priced, athough there are a number of luxury and budget options available. Dining costs are more in the budget to moderate range.

The state sales tax rate is 5.125%, and Tipping is a U.S. standard rate of 15%-20%.

Getting There & Around:
Taos Regional Airport is located about 5 miles north of the town of Taos. At the airport you can rent a car, or take a taxi or a shuttle into the town of Taos. If you are coming from Santa Fe, there is a shuttle called the Taos Express that runs from the Santa Fe Airport to Taos on the weekends.

The table below shows the driving distances from nearby cities.

City Miles
Santa Fe, NM 70
Alamosa, CO 90
Albuquerque, NM 132
Pueblo, CO 177
Colorado Springs, CO 218

Once you have arrived, you will find Taos easy to drive around in. There is one main road from one side of town to the other. Downtown Taos is very walk friendly. There is the Taos Trolley Tours bus that serves most of the local attractions. The Chile Line is the public transportation system.

Weather:
Taos has a semi-arid continental climate with an average annual rainfall of 12" and average annual snowfall of 35". The average annual snowfall at Taos Ski Valley is 312". The summers days are hot with cool evenings, and the winters are chilly. There are wide temperature swings from day to night in all seasons.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Taos.


The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 42 47 55 63 73 83 87 84 78 66 53 43
Avg Low 11 18 24 30 39 47 52 51 43 32 21 12
Precipitation 0.62" 0.57" 0.79" 0.80" 1.14" 0.98" 1.49" 2.06" 1.49" 1.31" 0.80" 0.74"

Important Contacts:
  • Emergency - 911
  • Operator - 0
  • Directory Assistance - 411
  • Police (non-emergency) - 575-758-4656
  • Visitor Center - 575-758-3873
Tips & Additional Information:
  • Like most small towns, Taos is very safe. Use common sense and usual precautions to protect your possessions.
  • When hiking in New Mexico, watch where you step to avoid rattlesnakes. Typically, they will rattle to alert you to their presence and try to avoid you, but accidentally stepping on one or getting too close could spell trouble.





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