MotorcyclingMotorcycle Trip Around The Enchanted Circle
Explore the Enchanted Circle scenic byway through valleys, mesa, mountains, rivers, lakes and national forest... all unique to north central New Mexico.
If Taos is your base, your motorcycling headquarters is Dave’s Custom Cycles, LLC, a Harley-only shop, 214 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 575-758-3206. Dave’s is your headquarters for equipment, service and repair items and one of the best places to start your trip around the Enchanted Circle.
Follow the signs as you enjoy an 85 mile, full day New Mexico/US Forest Service Scenic Byway connecting Taos and Questa with the resort communities of Red River, Eagle Nest, and Angel Fire. This beautiful countryside offers dramatic mountain vistas of aspen and pine in the shadow of 13,161 foot Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest point.
Driving north from downtown Taos on NM 68 you’ll want to make time for Taos Pueblo, the only Living UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United States to begin your Enchanted Circle Ride. Turn right at the light at Dry Creek Road to reach the Pueblo parking lot, and plan on spending at least 30 minutes to an hour touring the Pueblo. Returning the way you came, head north on Highway 68 to the next traffic light. Two side trips await you here: turn left at the light to Highway 64 for the 7 mile drive west to the Taos Gorge Bridge, one of the highest spans in North America. Just 4miles beyond to the west, visit the Greater World Earthship Community, spend a bit of time at their new visitor center and tour the latest advances in rammed earth, off the grid technology. Or, turning right at the light on Hwy 150, you would find yourself bordering Pueblo land as you enter the quirky village of Arroyo Seco with its charming shops and restaurants. Continue up Hwy 150 and you’ll find yourself at Taos Ski Valley, which offers a choice of many summer activities in addition to winter snowboarding and skiing.
Back at the intersection of these highways, as you head north you will now be on Hwy 522.
At San Cristobal, look for signs to the D.H. Lawrence Ranch and Shrine. The famous writer is buried here, though the ranch is no longer open to visit. The mountain range to the east is the Sangre de Cristo. The state's highest mountain, Wheeler Peak (13,161 feet), is visible at this point of your trip.
Travel through the scenic Arroyo Hondo area and continue to Questa. For a dramatic side trip, head north out of Questa to the Wild Rivers area of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, where the Rio Grande and the Red River join forces. There are panoramic views from the overlooks and rare river access for those wishing to descend into the canyon. Back in Questa, you’ll turn east toward the mountains on NM 38.
The steep ascent into Red River is unusually scenic, offering stirring vistas of spruce and aspen and colorful canyon walls. This Old West town itself offers more than two dozen lodges and of course plenty of restaurants and gift shops. Ski runs rise steeply just off the single main street. This community is home to the Annual Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally – a 30 year tradition.
Continue on to Taos via the balance of “The Enchanted Circle” (NM 38 to NM 64), passing the gold rush ghost town of Elizabeth Town to Eagle Nest, turn left to discover the old west charm of Eagle Nest, with its unique shops, restaurants and the Enchanted Circle Gateway Museum. You even have the opportunity to pan for gold here. For a scenic side trip, continue east to Cimarron State Park where you will find the spectacular Palisades on your left. Returning south on NM 64, you will again pass through Eagle Nest to Eagle Nest Lake State Park with spectacular scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains, from the Visitor Center. This spectacular 2,400 acre lake offers trout, yellow perch and kokanee salmon fishing. The area offers bountiful boating, hiking and cross country skiing. A beautiful location to see an abundance of birds and wildlife to include elk, deer, bear and eagles!
Continue west on NM 64 towards Angel Fire, an excellent family resort with skiing, golf, tennis, hiking, ATV rides, biking, and fishing. Be sure to stop at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial State Park north of Angel Fire on Hwy 64. Built by one family as a shrine to their fallen son, the site is one of unusual emotion and presence and the first such memorial in the nation honoring Viet Nam Veterans.
As you continue back toward Taos on NM 64, you will drive the spectacular Taos Canyon, a downhill thrill ride of serious curves and dramatic scenery. Watch for wildlife in its verdant mountain meadows and pastures, Coyote, elk, owl, golden and bald eagles and even the Mexican Gray Wolf have been sighted here.
Arrive back in Taos in time to shake off the road with a relaxing hot rock massage and a gourmet meal at any of our fine spas and restaurants. Finish the evening with music at the Adobe Bar, the Sagebrush Inn’s Bar or the funky Alley Cantina.
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