Seeking a transformative journey that will take you to great heights? Taos Pueblo is just a heartbeat away from Santa Fe. As a designated World Heritage Site and one of 19 Indian Pueblos in New Mexico, a visit to this special place will transport you to another time and immerse you in the living, breathing Pueblo culture and traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation since time immemorial.
Set against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Taos Mountain, the Pueblo flourishes as a vibrant farming and arts community. The iconic multi-story adobe structures on either side of the Red Willow Creek, which runs through the Pueblo, have been inhabited for over 1,000 years.
A short drive from Santa Fe, your trip to Taos will take you along the gorgeous Rio Grande through valleys and canyons in the mountainous terrain of Northern New Mexico. You will be tempted to stop and take pictures at scenic sites along the way.
As you come to the overlook that brings you into Taos, you will be greeted by a breathtaking view of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range ahead as well as the Rio Grande Gorge that cuts deeply through the land. The charming Town of Taos is an arts mecca, in some ways inspired by the landscape itself. Many historic notables, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Mabel Dodge Luhan, R.C. Gorman, D.H. Lawrence, Millicent Rogers, Dennis Hopper, and more, spent time appreciating and reflecting on the extraordinary natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
Taos Pueblo, adjacent to the Town of Taos, sits on Indian land, and features a vast horizon of open fields, wild horses, tall trees, red willows, and adobe structures that will capture your attention and your heart. When you enter the Pueblo itself, you will need to check in at the clearly marked admission window. Daily guided walking tours are offered and one must pay admission to enter the Pueblo, which permits picture-taking within guidelines. If you happen to arrive on a day when there are Pueblo cultural activities and dances occurring, photography will not be permitted.
Another cornerstone of the Pueblo is the San Geronimo de Taos Mission Church, established in 1850 after the original mission was destroyed in 1847. Post-contact with the Spanish colonizers, many Pueblos in New Mexico ultimately blended Indian and Catholic traditions. For example, the annual San Geronimo Feast Day on September 30 celebrates the patron saint of Taos Pueblo with a traditional pole climb and a large open-air arts and crafts market. There are many other seasonal celebrations that include dances, which occur year-round. Visit taospueblo.com for a Calendar of Events.
A particularly magical time to visit is during the holidays when you might find the Pueblo frosted in snow. Taos Pueblo is famous for its Christmas Eve mass and lighting of the bonfires and Christmas Day Corn and Deer Dances, which are open to the public. It is important, however, to be respectful of Pueblo members as these types of activities often have ceremonial origins and religious significance. While you will surely enjoy the sights and sounds, this is not meant to be entertainment.
One of the most special opportunities you will have for shopping on your trip is visiting the studios and stores of fine artists and craftspeople at the Pueblo. Tucked in the adobe dwellings on the historic plaza are numerous artisan studios and shops where you can find authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, leatherwork, furs, textiles, drums, flutes, Pueblo foods, and more.
The shop owners, many of whom are acclaimed Indian artists, are often on the premises, giving visitors the opportunity to learn from them about the history and provenance of items of interest, including origin of designs and materials. Additionally, buying direct from the makers, will likely make your overall shopping experience more affordable and rewarding, and will leave you with mementos and memories to take home and cherish.
After visiting the Pueblo take time in Taos wandering through the many fine art galleries and museums, and delving into the compelling multi-cultural history of the region. For the foodie in you, there are eateries and hotels that offer everything from fine dining, hearty diner comfort food and traditional Northern New Mexico fare.
There is so much to see and eat during your stay in The City Different and taking a Taos day trip will make your stay even more memorable. Taos is only a 1½ hour drive away. Start planning your trip to Santa Fe by ordering the new 2017 Santa Fe travel guide. While Santa Fe holds many secrets to be discovered, we want to share with you all the Deals and Specials our Santa Fe businesses have to offer you.
View more beautiful photography from Taos Pueblo and the Town of Taos in the slideshow below.
This blog was written in partnership with TOURISM Santa Fe and Rima Krisst, Tourism Santa Fe Tribal Liaison. (Rima Krisst photos)
Special thanks to the Taos Pueblo Tourism Department. Visit www.taospueblo.com for events calendar, closures, and other information.
It is always a good idea to confirm Pueblos are open for business before making your visit. Taos Pueblo Tourism (575) 758-1028