RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway

Dec 16, 2016 View Comments by

High Road to Taos

Following U.S. 285 north from Santa Fe, and then SR 68, riders take the exit for New Mexico 76. The route travels through a landscape that is rich in history, culture, art, and scenic beauty.

Points of Interest:
Highlights of the three two-lane roads include:

  • SR 76: High desert terrain takes motorcyclists through the village of Chimayo, which is known for its weavers and the Plaza del Cerro. This intact Spanish plaza is reputed to be the oldest in New Mexico. Continuing on, riders see expansive views of the rocky Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
  • SR 75: After the village of Chamisal, you descend to the junction with SR 75, which is followed for a few miles before exiting north onto SR 518. This tree-lined, winding road, which passes through valleys and vistas, is a sight to behold.
  • SR 518: Riders will want to stop at some of the many overlooks, including the one with a panoramic view of Carson National Forest. In the fall the forested hillsides are particularly stunning when they are ablaze with color.

High Road to TaosBest Time to Go: Summer is peak season, but it’s also Taos’ monsoon season, so be prepared for changing weather. September and October are perfect for leaf peeping.
Curves: Numerous sweeping curves, many with elevation changes.
Traffic: Usually light, because SR 68 is a more direct, faster route to Taos.
Distance: Approximately 57 miles to the center of Taos.
Time Required: About one and a half hours when riding at a moderate speed.
Technical Difficulty: Medium because of frequency of curves and elevation changes.



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