No matter the season, the Enchanted Circle in New Mexico makes for a scenic ride with fun activities and beautiful landmarks. A drive around the Enchanted Circle is a fantastic way to explore a somewhat lesser-known yet stunning part of New Mexico.
About the Enchanted Circle in New Mexico
Close to Santa Fe, the Enchanted Circle is an 84-mile loop circling Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain. The circle offers a scenic drive through some of the state’s most picturesque landscapes and historical settlements.
What To Do on Your Enchanted Circle Ride
The Enchanted Circle offers many opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, and adventuring year-round. Must-sees include:
Taos is the largest town on the Enchanted Circle and a traditional starting point for the ride, making it an excellent home base. Founded in the early 1800s as a frontier settlement, Taos is steeped in Spanish-era and Native American history. Start your visit with a stroll through the beautiful historic center with colonial-style architecture.
Next, ride down to Taos Pueblo just two miles northeast of the town. The Pueblo is one of the longest continually inhabited places in North America: Its adobe-like buildings were built around 1,000 years ago by the Tiwa people.
Taos also boasts a thriving arts community and mouthwatering cuisine. Check out the vibrant art galleries and grab a bite at the Taos Inn, which has been serving customers since 1936. You can also go for a dip in one of the many local spas and hot springs. Before you leave, remember to fill up your tank. There aren’t many gas stations along the Enchanted Circle.
Questa is the first stop on the loop. This peaceful village can be a breath of fresh air after some of the busier resort towns in the area. The town center is dominated by a magnificent church from the mid-1800s. The nearby lakes offer trout fishing for anglers at any skill level. If you prefer something more active, just hit one of the local trails.
Red River has a busy events calendar, from Mardi Gras in the mountains and a summer bluegrass festival to Oktoberfest and winter torchlight parades. Live bluegrass bands play year-round at the local bars and restaurants. But where the Red River really shines is in its outdoor activities. The town has a popular ski resort with an extensive trail system for hiking and mountain biking. In summer, you can go rafting and trout fishing in the rivers and lakes. Red River offers ziplines and aerial rope courses.
If you’re hungry, check out Bull O’ The Woods Saloon, a pioneer-style eatery, and Old Tymer’s Café, a motorcycle-friendly establishment with the best homemade burgers in town.
Towering at 8,200 feet above sea level, the aptly named final stop on the Enchanted Circle will give you a real taste of the Wild West. The main street of this old frontier town features a swinging-door saloon and shops for antiques, leather goods, Native American crafts, silver jewelry, pottery, and more.
Before you leave, go for a picnic at Eagle Nest Lake. It offers some of the best water views in the area, plus world-class trout fishing and wildlife viewing.
Past Eagle Nest, the road worsens between Angel Fire and Valle Escondido, so ride carefully. The pavement improves again toward Shady Brook. Once you reach Taos, you can return to Santa Fe or ride west through Carson National Forest.
Had a Motorcycle Accident? Call Law Tigers
Whether you’re driving the Enchanted Circle in New Mexico or in downtown Santa Fe, accidents can happen. If you are injured in an accident, call us at 1-888-863-7216. We will refer you to an experienced New Mexico personal injury attorney. They will advise whether you can seek compensation.