Santa Fe Day Trips & Tours
Discover Magnificent Landscapes and Diverse Cultures
During your Stay in Santa Fe, take some time to discover the magnificent landscapes and diverse cultures outside the city with unique day trips. Visit Native American pueblos, ancient ruins, high mountain towns, picturesque valley villages, Turquoise Trail mining areas and the majestic red rock country captured on canvas by Georgia O'Keeffe, one of America's greatest painters.
Taos and the High Road
Round trip of about 165 miles
Head north on US 84/285 and turn right on NM 503, which will take you to NM 76. Follow NM 76 to Chimayo, a traditional weaving village with galleries featuring work by award-winning weavers. Here you'll find the 19th-century Santuario de Chimayo, known as the "Lourdes of the Southwest" because it attracts thousands of pilgrims seeking the "miraculous dirt" on church property which is rumored to have healing powers.
Continue on NM 76 through Cordova, Truchas and Ojo Sarco, all towns with great galleries selling woodcarvings, pottery, rugs and other local arts and crafts. In Las Trampas, an 18th-century mission church is one of New Mexico's best-preserved examples of Spanish Colonial architecture. Pick up NM 518 at Peñasco and wind your way through the Carson National Forest to US 68 at Ranchos de Taos, where you'll see the famous San Francisco de Assisi Church, photographed and painted by many artists. Drive into Taos and explore museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and the historic Taos Pueblo.
Head back to Santa Fe on NM 68 following the Rio Grande as it drops dramatically from a broad mesa into a narrow canyon. River rafters and kayakers are often on this part of the river, where several miles of churning waters offer thrilling rides. Visit Embudo, a historic railroad stop, then drive through farmland dotted with roadside stands offering seasonal chile, fruit and other locally-grown foods before you turn south on US 84/285 in Española and return to Santa Fe.
Turquoise Trail and Madrid
Round trip of about 150 miles
From Santa Fe, drive south on NM 14, known as the Turquoise Trail. A National Scenic Byway, this trail takes its name from the gemstone that Native Americans, then Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans mined in this region for centuries.
NOTE: June 15, 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of the designation of NM Hwy 14, Albuquerque to Santa Fe and Hwy 536 to Sandia Crest as the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. Known as the "Artful Way to Santa Fe"; the 62 miles of the Turquoise Trail passes through the Ortiz, San Pedro and Sandia Mountains and their old mining towns and historic Spanish villages-turned-art-communities. Please come up and visit our National Scenic Byway, it's worth the trip.
Along the Turquoise Trail, you can explore the unique mining towns of Golden and Madrid offering restaurants, shops, lodging, artists' studios, galleries and museums. Prehistoric people made their homes here. Spanish missionaries explored the area and Civil War battles were fought over this land. Outlaws and Confederate soldiers camped in the area. Kit Carson marched Navajo people along the Trail in their "Long Walk" to incarceration at Fort Sumner. Mines were dug in the mining districts for native copper, lead, iron, gold and turquoise.