One of the benefits of choosing to settle down in Golden Colorado is the proximity to some epic parts of the Rockies. Unfortunately the weather was looking bad last weekend, so we drove as far south as needed to get some sunshine and camping-friendly friendly conditions.
Alison and I had driven through Santa Fe on our way out to Golden a month ago and knew we would be back. The town is among the oldest in the country and is surrounded by some surprisingly big mountains.
Boasting over 250 art galleries and hundreds of high quality restaurants, we were looking forward to eating our weight in Santa Fe’s speciality – Green and Red Chile sauce smothered New Mexican food!
Our adventure went something like this for our five-day trip:
Day 1: Drive and camp for a night outside Santa Fe
Day 2: Do a long day hike in the Pecos Wilderness area within the Santa Fe National Forest and camp for another night
Day 3: Stay in Santa Fe for a night. Explore the shops, museums and art galleries. Visit: The Old Plaza Shops, Canyon Road Galleries, The Ark Bookstore and eat a TON OF CHILI SMOTHERED NEW MEXICAN FOOD!
Day 4: Start out the day with a hike up Atalaya Peak on the east side of Santa Fe, have lunch at the Blue Corn Cafe, then Visit Ojo Caliente hot springs and Sanctuario Chimayo Church, spend a night in Taos, NM just north of Santa Fe
Day 5: Spend most of the day exploring the cool art infused town of Taos, the Hanuman Temple, take in epic views of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, then drive home.
Part of the fun of not having “normal” jobs right now is the flexibility to adjust plans as we wish. We originally planned to stay just 4 days in Santa Fe, but decided to extend our trip for another day and visit Taos, the Ojo Caliente hot springs and Chimayo – we are glad we did!
It’s the most fun to explain our adventures through pictures…here we go!
Pecos Wilderness Hike
Exploring Santa Fe
Hiking up Atalaya Mountain
Before leaving Santa Fe we wanted to do another shorter hike. Atalaya is easily accessible from the east side of town. Just park in the St. Johns college parking lot and head out. It is 6 miles round trip with about 1500 feet of climbing. You can stop part way up if you don’t want to go to the top, and on a clear day have amazing views. We didn’t have clear weather, but hiked to the top anyway.
Duke went with us of course….and after the first half-mile we kept him off leash the entire way with no problems.
Sanctuario de Chimayo
We didn’t take any photos of the Ojo Caliente hot springs. It is definitely worth a visit! They have private and public natural hot spring fed pools. The private pools were of varying temperatures and mineral contents. They even had a mud pool! Worth spending a few hours here on a lazy afternoon or evening. There is also a bar, restaurant and accommodations for the well-heeled traveler.
We had heard a lot about Taos and were excited to check out this mountain town known for great food, cool art and spiritual pursuits. The drive up to Taos from Santa Fe is stunning. We did not take the HIGH ROAD TO TAOS, as we were coming from Ojo Caliente (a different direction). However, the high road is supposed to be a MUST DO ACTIVITY when visiting the area. We will try that next time!
The Drive Home
Driving from Santa Fe to the Denver Colorado area via Taos and the northern route is very scenic. We didn’t stop to take many photos, but it was awesome. Take our word for it!