Travel File: Scenic Route to Ghost Ranch

It was a day not like any other.  It was my last day as a 39-year-old, and I wanted to spend it doing something I love.  And I love taking a drive.  You know-seeing new landscapes; watching trees bind into a blur as we’re trekking past snow-covered caps.  Or watching the ocean variegate from foam green to midnight as my eyes wander from shore to horizon.  It’s all different.  It’s all wonderful.  This time, we turned northwest from our home base in Taos and looped around to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.

Taos Area Drive

We drove out of Taos, over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and continued up Hwy. 64.  It was early March, and although Taos was sunny and cool, the distant mountains were a cool blue dusted in white.

Taos area map

I also love photography.  Lucky for me, Matt’s really good about screeching to a halt or flipping a U-turn for a picturesque landscape!  As we started our ascent into the mountains, bits of snow popped up here and there.

Taos County drive 1

Taos County Road

The further we climbed, the more snow we encountered.

Taos Road

Until finally we were at the peak of our road before heading back south:

Taos County drive 2

At Tierra Amarilla we turned south on 64; it’s a windy road but totally worth the view.  I believe it is one of the prettiest drives to take in that area.  The clouds were heavy and the forecast was calling for rain/snow. But as we drove south, we left snow drifts behind in exchange for the warmer tones of the red rocks and hills that are synonymous with New Mexico’s landscape.

Echo Amphitheater was a great little pit-stop (aka “bathroom break”) before we found Ghost Ranch, and it was like we had never even been in the snow just an hour before!  It was beautiful and sunny!

Echo Amphitheater New Mexico

In my next post, I will share photos from Ghost Ranch.  We didn’t have a ton of time there, but it was just long enough to take a quick hike and see a few sights before dark clouds settled overhead.

Here are some tips and links if you plan on visiting this area:

This full loop drive from Taos, (Hwy 64 to Ghost Ranch to 96 to 285, then back to 64) back to Taos (see map above) takes about 4-ish hours.  The roads are windy, and if you have any weather (hail and rain are known to happen), it may take longer.  If you stop at Ghost Ranch, operating hours, hikes and tours can be found here.  Consider camping at nearby Echo Amphitheater Campground or lodging at Ghost Ranch.

Things worth mentioning in the nearby town of Abiquiu (I haven’t been to these places but they look super cool)
Christ in the Desert Monastery
Abiquiu Lake Recreation Area

Windows of the Earth Cave Sanctuary, Private cave tours ($25/person) and Guest Resort

Also, Ojo Caliente is close while you’re on this drive.  If you love hot springs, I definitely recommend it!  You can stay the night, eat at the restaurant and/or just stop in for a dip in all the different natural pools.

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