Top Ten Winter Outdoor Family Getaways

Southwestern Style: Taos, New Mexico
By Elyse Green
Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo (Corel)

Taos is a magical place, one that has enchanted nomads, explorers, outdoorsmen, intellectuals and artists for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years (Kit Carson, D.H. Lawrence, and Conquistador Hernando de Alvarado, to name a few). The harmony of its adobe architecture and Sangre de Cristos mountain backdrop is otherworldly in its presentation of what is essentially two towns: Taos itself and Taos Pueblo, the best preserved American pueblo still in existence.

Taos Pueblo—a World Heritage Site—appears today much as it did when the first Spanish explorers arrived in 1540, believing it to be one of the fabled seven Cities of Gold. Open to the public year-round, the still-inhabited pueblo and its residents have gone to great lengths to preserve their way of life, their culture and their art. You can view tribal dances, or see pottery made as it has been in this region for ten centuries. Your kids will learn more in one afternoon on the pueblo than you could ever imagine.

The modern city of Taos is an eclectic, bustling ski town: downhill at Taos Ski Valley or Angel Fire, or cross-country ski and snowshoe at the Enchanted Circle. Carson National Forest is nearby, offering unlimited possibilities year-round, or go for a hot air balloon ride—a New Mexican specialty!—over the Rio Grande Gorge. Families with small children might love a half- or full-day llama trekking trip with a local outfitter. For a special treat, nothing beats a winter hike-n-swim in one of the area's natural hot springs.

Whichever of Taos' charms you choose to partake of, is one vacation your family will never forget.


Taos, New Mexico

Taos' downhill spots include Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Red River, and Sipapu.

The best place to cross country ski is nearby Carson National Forest and the Enchanted Circle (the area around the base of Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico). You can hike, snowshoe or snowmobile there, as well.

Two publicly accessible hot springs in the Taos area are Manby and Blackrock, but there are others. Contact the New Mexico Office of Tourism at 1-800-733-6396 ext. 0643, or visit their fabulous Website at for a wealth of well-organized information on Taos and all of New Mexico.

You thought we were kidding about the llama trekking, didn't you? El Paseo Llama Expeditions—renowned for their care in working with families and children—offers winter half- and full-day llama excursions through the lower elevations of the New Mexican Rockies. Contact them at 800-4-LLAMAS, or visit their website at

See Taos as it sits in relation to New Mexico's countless natural and historic points of interest.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Land of Enchantment. Enjoy your trip!


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