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Best Day Trips in the Santa Fe Area


When you're planning a Santa Fe, New Mexico vacation, and you're wondering about things to do in the area, one of the things you will certainly want to include is a day trip to some of the fantastic nearby attractions. There just happen to be some extremely fascinating day trip venues very close to the city and this will allow you to not only have a great time at the venue itself, but you'll also love cruising through the fantastic landscape along the way, and making periodic stops to take photos of the spectacular scenery. Here are some of the best day trips for you to consider during your Santa Fe getaway:

Taos and the High Road

This is a round-trip journey of about 165 miles, and along the way, you'll see Chimayo, which is a traditional village of weavers who have won numerous awards for their artwork, and the 'miraculous dirt' surrounding church property, which is said to have healing powers. You pass through the towns of Córdoba, Truchas, and Ojo Sarco, each of which features galleries of pottery, rugs and local arts and crafts. Once you reach Taos itself, you'll be able to explore shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and the legendary historic Taos Pueblo.

The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway

The eight northern Indian pueblos

The eight northern Indian pueblos are situated between Santa Fe and Colorado, and all of them are set in spectacular mountain landscapes. Some of these pueblos date back to the 1300's when Native Americans dominated the entire region. You'll be able to learn about the rich history and culture of each of the other Indian tribes inhabiting the region, and if you plan your trip just right, you might be able to catch one of the celebratory tribal feast days or other annual events.

Christmas at the Taos Pueblo

Turquoise Trail and Madrid

This is a national scenic byway that takes its name from the gemstone which was mined by Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans in succession for centuries, right up to the present time. This day trip consists of a 150-mile round-trip excursion, and along the Turquoise Trail, there will be numerous art studios, galleries, shops, restaurants, and museums. The rich history of the area includes tales of outlaws and Confederate soldiers, as well as Kit Carson's infamous march of the Navajo people to Fort Sumner. Madrid was at one time a booming coal mining town, which diminished into a ghost town until its resurrection by artists in the 1970's when it was revived to include many different restaurants, studios, galleries, and even music concerts

Sunset in the Ortiz Preserve
Photo courtesy of Turquoise Trail Association

Pecos and Las Vegas

Comprised of a round trip of about 186 miles, this day trip includes a stop at Pecos National Historical Park, where you can explore the ruins of a Spanish mission church in the Pecos Pueblo. This spot also marks the gateway to the hiking and fly-fishing paradise known as the Pecos Wilderness. You'll also be able to visit the City of Las Vegas Museum, to get educated about regional history, including the participation of local residents with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

beautiful scenery through Glorieta Pass
Photo courtesy of National Park Service


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