Cycle New Mexico: Santa Fe & Taos
From 21/08/2022 to 29/09/2023
Starting and finishing in the creative hub of Santa Fe, your local cycling leader will introduce you to the town’s fascinating history as you cycle around its most spectacular sights.
When you’re not cycling you’ll explore New Mexico on foot, hiking through the dramatic landscapes of Bandelier National Monument, which hide ancient petroglyphs, rock-carved dwellings and masonry walls.
Challenge your legs and reward your eyes as you cycle the celebrated High Road to Taos, a scenic path that weaves through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos.
Ride through the iconic landscapes that inspired the works of Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe, including the San Francisco de Asis, one of the most photographed churches in the USA.
Discover New Mexico’s eclectic art scene as you pedal to the small communities that drive the local culture, including Arroyo Seco, home to artists, sculptors, jewellers and eateries.
Breakfasts Included: 5.
Simple Hotel/Motel (5 nights).
Bicycle (e-bike option available,subject to availability),Support vehicle.
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 1 - 12.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Santa Fe Welcome to Sante Fe, New Mexico, a city that marches to the beat of its own drum. Not only is Santa Fe the oldest and highest capital in the U.S, it’s also a hub for creativity, artistic endeavours and First Nations culture. Your adventure begins with a midday (12pm) welcome meeting where you’ll meet up with your local leader and fellow travellers. After your meeting, it’s time to get your wheels in motion with a warm-up ride around town, learning about its layered history and pedalling through the historic plaza, then head west of Santa Fe across New Mexico’s parched, rolling landscape. Take in endless views across the Caja del Rio Plateau before looping back and joining a small section of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail as you cycle back into town, soaking up stunning views of the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains all the way in. The evening is free for you to explore this fascinating city – perhaps stroll the art gallery-lined Canyon Road, the Railyard Arts District or enjoy a group dinner with your new cycling friends.
Day 2 - Bandelier National Monument After breakfast this morning, hit the road and make the 1-hour drive to the immense Bandelier National Monument. Swap your shoes from cycling to hiking as you explore sections of this incredible 33,000-acre site while your leader provides insight into ancient Ancestral Pueblo history. Hidden among yawning canyons and dramatic mesas you’ll find petroglyphs, rock-carved dwellings and masonry walls – evidence of human life stretching as far back as 11,000 years. Start at the Ancestral Pueblo village of Tsankawi to view cavates and petroglyphs, then drive up to the main site at Frijoles Canyon. Witness five centuries of history at the village of Tyuonyi, a circular pueblo site that once stood up to three stories tall, and the talus houses and cliff dwellings along the route. If you’re feeling energetic (and don’t have a fear of heights) perhaps push on to ascend the four wooden ladders up to the beautiful Alcove House before returning to Santa Fe for the evening.
Day 3 - Cycle Santa Fe to Taos Get ready for a challenging yet unforgettable ride today. Make the 40-minute drive north to the enchanting Santuario de Chimayo, a church often cited as the most important Catholic pilgrimage centre in the U.S, then saddle up and get on the aptly named High Road to Taos. After a short downhill, the road turn upwards, carving its way from stark desert up through the tree-lined Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the small town of Truchas. Take a rest and admire the views across the valley before continuing on undulating roads, then tackle the last climb of the day up through pine forest to the towering McGaffey ridge. At 2500 metres/8000 feet this is the high point of today’s ride and the rare air rather than the gradient is usually the biggest test. With challenge comes a reward, and yours comes in the shape of a 25 km/15 mile gentle descent all the way into the mesmerising art colony town of Taos, your home for the next three nights.
Day 4 - Taos After yesterday’s challenging ride, it’s time to take it easy with a flatter route around the main attractions of this intriguing town – you’ll soon discover why these landscapes inspired the legendary works of photographer Ansel Adams and artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The morning ride begins at your hotel and winds through Taos to San Francisco de Asis, one of the most photographed and iconic churches in the U.S. Continue past Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark, then finish up at the soaring Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the second highest bridge on the U.S. Highway System. From here, it’s a quick 20-minute drive back into town where the afternoon is free for you to explore the Taos Historic District. The streets are full of interesting traditional history, art galleries and shops, plus there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to enjoy a quiet (or lively!) evening.
Day 5 - Cycle to Arroyo Seco to Taos Ski Valley The spectacular hills of New Mexico are waiting for today’s ride. Along with the mountainous surroundings, this area is known for its eclectic arts scene, and today you’ll explore some of the small communities that help drive this local industry, including the tiny artisanal village of Arroyo Seco. This colourful village is home to artists, sculptors, jewellers and a tempting array of eateries, making it a great place to fuel up before climbing up to the famed Taos Ski Valley in the heart of New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle. Located just 50 miles south of the Colorado border, Taos Ski Valley is one of the highest municipalities in the US and a fantastic place to test your legs (and lungs) as the road makes its way skywards. Enjoy a well-earned rest and refreshment at the summit, then turn around for a cruisy 30 kilometre/18 mile mostly downhill ride all the way back into Taos. As ever, if you’d prefer the thrill of the downhill without the climb, you can hitch a ride in the support vehicle.
Day 6 - Cycle Eagle Nest to Taos, return to Santa Fe Rise bright and early, departing after breakfast for one last magical ride in New Mexico. A short drive over the mountains leads to the sparse landscapes of the Eagle Nest State Park, then it’s back onto your bike for the ride back to Taos. Retrace your tires’ tracks alongside the flat and stark surrounds of the lake, then it’s back up through the pines and switchbacks to Palo Fletchado Pass. From here you can rest your legs and enjoy a gentle 30kms/19 mile descent, following the Fernando de Taos River all the way back down to Taos. Finish up with ample time to return to the hotel and freshen up, then make the 1.5-hour drive back to Santa Fe, where on arrival your cycling adventure comes to an end.
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