Taos, New Mexico

The town of Taos was founded by Spanish colonialists at the site of the Taos Pueblo. “Pueblo” means village in Spanish, and was the name given to Native American farming communities, to distinguish them from nomadic groups of Indians, such as the Apache. Taos Pueblo sits at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and is watered by a stream that rises from their sacred Blue Lake, which is included in their 95,000 acre reservation.

The residents of the 1000 year old Pueblo live in two multi-storied adobe structures, on either side of Red Willow Creek.The Pueblo was a meeting place and trading center for many Native American groups, and continued to serve that purpose after the arrival of the Spanish. The Pueblo people did not readily submit to Spanish rule, and revolted in 1660 and 1680. After New Mexico became part of the United States in 1847, the Pueblo again revolted and marched on Santa Fe.

Artists began settling in Taos as early as 1899, with the founding of the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. The town continued to develop as an artist colony, and that remains the case today. Taos was incorporated in 1934 and has a population of under 6000 persons. Today, along with art lovers, Taos attracts outdoor enthusiasts, with Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire and Sipapu ski areas close at hand for winter sports. In the summer, one can raft on the nearby Rio Grande river, hike and bike in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, balloon over the Rio Grande Gorge, zip line at Angel Fire, fish in numerous bodies of water and hunt elk and deer in the fall.

A few miles to the west of Taos is the Rio Grande Gorge, and the Rio Grande Gorge High Bridge. Raft trips take place in the gorge, and also downstream in the vicinity of Pilar. In March of 2013 the Rio Grande river and Gorge area were declared the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, with Taos the major town serving visitors to the Monument.

Fall is also a great time to visit, as the aspens and cottonwoods turn orange. Clear, crisp air is always in abundant supply, mingled with the aromatic scent of cedar wood smoke.