For you running and jogging junkies who don’t take exercise breaks while on vacation and aren’t very familiar with the Taos environs, we asked some avid local trail warriors their favorite routes.
Guillermo Canedo, software/apps/web developer: 1. Rift Valley Loop Trail; 2. Devisadero Trail Loop; 3. South Boundary; 4. Horsethief Mesa Trail; 5. West Rim; 6. Trail No. 18 (Río Grande del Rancho Trail); and 7. Río Chiquito Road (South Boundary Trail area).
Kendra Reardon, “full-time mama”: The Rift Valley is my favorite and Devisadero my second favorite: Rift Valley because you can get some good distance while also working on pace as there’s not a lot of elevation gain. The views are spectacular and for me, personally, running in wide open spaces feels like a freedom hard to find anywhere else. Devisadero because it’s fun! There’s nothing like running full speed down a more technical trail, feeling like you’re bouncing from one rock to the next. The steepness of the ascent is a great challenge. It can be run basically year round and isn’t too far a drive from town.
Also, the trail for the Bull of the Woods Race is amazing. I think it’s private property so not as easily accessible, but one of the most beautiful trails I’ve run. It as great views and fun single-track trails through meadows and woods. (Note: Be mindful that the trail crosses private property; stay on the main trail and follow the signs for Wheeler Peak.)
Diane de Souza, retired: Any of the trails within the Wild and Scenic River Area. Beautiful views, some up and down, abound, and it is easy to do repeats and get water if one wants a longer run. In the summer or fall, I like the (Taos Ski Valley) loop up Wheeler Peak via the Williams Lake Trail and down via the Bull of the Woods Trail. The views are spectacular. You usually see some wildlife as a bonus. You are encouraged to not lollygag due to the thunderstorms, which can be a good thing. The trail up Latir Peak is also nice, but a little hard to get to. There aren’t a lot of people and again, the views are spectacular and there is a loop.
Leah Todd, Mountain West coordinator at Solutions Journalism Network: One of my favorite long runs in the summer is up to Gold Hill near Taos Ski Valley.
Dick Woods, Taos Trail Runners member: I would add Cabresto Lake Trail up to Heart Lake. The trail parallels a creek and you end up at Heart Lake. Beautiful area. It is shaded in the winter and summer. The trail is medium on degree of difficulty. My GPS watch said 10 miles round trip, but trail maps show it to be 8 miles. This trailhead is northeast of Questa. Flip a coin.
— Compiled by Scott Gerdes
Bull of the Woods Trail: The trail begins at the Taos Ski Valley upper parking lot. The trail is well marked.
Cabresto Lake Trail: Drive toward Questa from Taos on State Road 522. At the stoplight in Questa, go east on State Road 38. Take a right at the T intersection. This turns into Cabresto Lake Road 134A, which takes off in a northerly direction from Cabresto Canyon, State Road 563, about 5 miles from the intersection. It is about 2 miles to Cabresto Lake on 134A and the Lake Fork trailhead, Trail 82.
Devisadero Loop Trail: The trailhead is located on the left off U.S. Highway 64 toward Angel Fire. The highway can be accessed from Kit Carson Road or Paseo del Cañon.
Horsethief Mesa Trail: Take U.S. Highway 64 west out of Taos and follow State Road 522 toward Arroyo Hondo. Continue .8 miles after Arroyo Hondo road bridge and take a left on Old State Road 3 (B001). Take a quick right onto Tres Loma Road and follow to right and down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, stay left on the main road and go past substation. Drive up a short hill until the road intersects with barbed wire fence opening (small public lands sign). Take the road to the right and uphill, then follow downhill. There is a small clearing for parking. Look for the single track several yards ahead and to the right.
Latir Peak Wilderness Area: Take Paseo del Pueblo Norte out of Taos and continue onto State Road 522 toward Questa for about 24 miles. Turn east on State Road 38 and turn left onto Cabresto Road/State Road 563 after 0.25 miles. Drive on NM-563 until it becomes a gravel road, then turn right onto gravel Forest Service Road 134 (FS-134). Enter Carson National Forest and drive 3.3 miles to the junction with FS-134A. Turn left onto FS-134 and continue 2 miles to Cabresto Lake Trailhead. FS-134A is a primitive rough road, so a high clearance vehicle is recommended. Alternative Route from NM-38: If you missed the turn onto Cabresto Road/ State Road 563, you can continue on 38 for an additional half-mile and turn left onto Kiowa Road. After a mile of driving on Kiowa Road, you will reach a T-intersection with State Road 563. Turn right following the sign to Cabresto Lake. Take State Road 563 and Forest Road 134 to Forest Road 134A.
Rift Valley Loop Trail: Located south of Taos off State Road 68.
South Boundary Trail/Garcia Park Loop: Drive south on Paseo del Pueblo Sur to State Road 518 toward Talpa and take Río Chiquito Road to Forest Road 437.
Trail No. 18/Río Grande del Rancho Trail: Turning from State Road 518 to Forest Road 437, take the first right. There are two private roads with gates. Go around the gate to the right and head south on the road. Right before you see the next gate, go up and to the left to access the trail and you will see a “No Vehicle” sign.
West Rim Trail: This trek begins at the famed Río Grande Gorge Bridge and follows the river south. Take Paseo del Pueblo north out of town and take a left at US 64. Gorge is about 8 miles straight ahead. Go over the bridge and on the left is a rest area with ample parking. The trailhead is right there.
Wild and Scenic Rivers Recreation Area: From Taos, take State Road 522 through Questa. Three miles north of Questa, turn toward Cerro and follow the signs.