Experience crisp autumn air, blue sky, and the rich culture of northern New Mexico on this popular eight-day loop. We’ll begin our journey in Albuquerque, named for its Spanish founder. From there, we’ll wind along the Turquoise Trail, through the artsy community of Madrid, and ancient Santa Fe, founded in 1607.
From Santa Fe, we’ll head north, taking the High Road to Taos, visiting the sacred El Santuario de Chimayo and passing through the town of Truchas, which served as the backdrop for the movie The Milagro Beanfield War. Continuing north, we’ll visit Questa and Red River, pedal back through Taos, and relax in the soothing hot waters of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. We’ll then meander along the Rio Ojo Caliente to Española and back to Santa Fe before returning by way of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express train to Albuquerque for a celebratory feast.
|Start Date:||Sep 07, 2014||End Date:||Sep 14, 2014|
|Start Location:||Albuquerque, NM||End Location:||Albuquerque, NM|
|Total Days:||8||Riding Days:||6|
|Rest Days:||2||Level of Support:||Van Supported|
|Miles:||340||Average Daily Mileage:||56.7|
|Elevation Alert:||9,800'||Airport:||Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ)|
|Tour Leader:||Tammy Schurr, Lynn Hamilton||Cost:||$1,239.00|
Albuquerque. For those arriving by plane, we’ll meet mid-morning at a designated location near the Albuquerque International Sunport before picking up our bikes at the bike shop and heading to our camping location for the evening.
Albuquerque to Santa Fe, 65 miles. Heading out on old Route 66 and passing through Carnuel and Tijeras Canyon, we’ll wind our way along the east side of the Sandia Mountains, passing through San Antonito, Golden, and the old mining town of Madrid before arriving in Santa Fe, the second oldest city in the U.S. Santa Fe cuisine is nothing short of spectacular, so tonight we might try to settle that age-old New Mexican debate: Which chile is better, green or red?
Santa Fe to Taos , 75 miles. If we’re lucky, we’ll rise to a red sky at dawn over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as we head north out of Santa Fe. After passing Pojoaque Pueblo, we’ll turn onto the High Road to Taos, commencing a ride you’ll never forget. In addition to the quiet beauty of the landscape, the road takes us through the old Hispano villages of Chimayo, Truchas, and Peñasco. After heading down to Ranchos de Taos, with a view of the Rio Grande Gorge looming in the distance, we’ll find our way to the Taos Valley RV Park where we’ll camp amidst the high-desert sage.
Taos, Layover Day. Today you can try to find the best Northern New Mexican cuisine at one of many local restaurants, visit the Harwood Museum of Fine Art, rub elbows with artists at a few of Taos’ galleries, hang out at the Moby Dickens bookstore, or take the van trip to Taos Pueblo, home to the largest surviving complex of multi-storied Pueblo dwellings in the United States. Taos Pueblo has a unique spirit, preserving a way of life ten centuries old as artists create handcrafted wares using techniques passed along through the generations.
Taos to Eagle Nest, 59 miles. After our respite we’ll head north through a string of ancient villages, including Questa. This village is situated close to the Kiowa trail, an old trade route that linked the Pueblo people in the south with the Kiowa, Ute, and Comanche to the north. Here we’ll turn east and follow the Red River to the tourist town by the same name, where we can enjoy a snack and a breather before tackling 9,820-foot Bobcat Pass. A 12-mile downhill will guide us to Eagle Nest Lake State Park and our campsite for the night.
Eagle Nest to Ojo Caliente, 70 miles. Today we’ll awaken to the rising sun illuminating the eastern slopes of 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain. In addition to outstanding views of the northern Sangre de Cristos, you can enjoy the mining history along the Enchanted Circle. Just north of Agua Fria and the junction for Angel Fire, we’ll ride past the Vietnam Veteran’s National Memorial, where the chapel is always unlocked, offering a quiet place for reflection. It’s said that all veterans who cross its threshold find a “place of peace, honor, and comfort.” After summiting Palo Flechada Pass, we’ll negotiate a meandering downhill through Taos Canyon. This time we’ll ride through Taos to our camp for the night, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, which claims to be the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water, each captured in a separate pool. Those steaming waters will feel amazing after a long day in the saddle.
Ojo Caliente to Santa Fe, 51 miles. Today we’ll follow the cottonwood-lined Ojo Caliente River to the might Rio Grande in Española. Heading south, we’ll negotiate a string of busy towns, each separated from the next by a surprising mishmash of deserted, graffiti-adorned adobes, doublewides, rustic art studios, and more. After we cross the Santa Fe county line, things slow down and the landscape becomes a ripple of high-desert ridges punctuated with the occasional elegant modern adobe and backed by distant peaks, the entire scene dappled with sunlight.
Santa Fe to Albuquerque, 20 miles. Just a short walk or ride from our hotel we’ll hop aboard the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, which takes us to the outskirts of Albuquerque at Ranchos de Albuquerque. Here we’ll re-board our bicycles and roll onto the Paseo de Bosque trail, which leads to downtown Albuquerque’s numerous attractions, including a zoo and aquarium. In Old Town we’ll meet for our celebratory dinner before hopping into the van and heading back to our point of origin.
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"The camraderie that developed between the riders orve the course of the tour was great. It was good to ride with different people over the course of the tour!"
2012 Tour Participant
"The food was great, the staff was great, and the trip was tons of fun. We met lots of interesting people!"
2009 Tour Participant
"15 strangers, 30 days, and 1,500 miles of coastline lay before me on ACA's Northwest Coast Tour in September of 2006...we all made it to San Francisco; afterwards, our group leader termed us 'superglue': we left camp each morning mostly together, we stopped at the same coffee shops and bakeries along the way, we ate lunch together. Three years later, we still send group emails back and forth. I came back from this trip raring to go on another one."
"It was great to meet people from different places and experiences who are all drawn to touring. Having that common thread put us all at ease right away."
2012 Tour Participant