THE VAST, RUGGED terrain and generous, free-spirited community call out to mountain lovers with a passion for outdoor thrills and cultural diversity. Here hiking and bicycling are king once the snow has melted away.
Hiking trails abound
The Williams Lake Trail is a popular trek accessed from the ski resort’s parking lot. Starting at about 10,000 feet elevation, you gain about a 1,000 feet more in elevation in just under 2 miles.
Englemann spruce stands dominate the beginning of the trail. As you get closer to the upper end, however, it opens up into meadowland and scattered rock fields. Another reward for reaching Williams Lake is the opportunity to continue on up to Wheeler Peak along the Wheeler Peak Trail, the highest point in New Mexico at 13,131 feet.
Other trails include Long Canyon/Bull-of-the-Woods at 3.6 miles; Gavilan at 2.4 miles; Italianos Canyon at 3.5 miles; Manzanita Canyon at 4.2 miles; and Yerba Canyon at 4 miles. For more details on the trails and maps, go online to skitaos.com.
Mountain biking magic
The popular Northside Trail is now a free, self-guided, private mountain-biking area, purchased from the Pattison family early last summer by Robert Corroon. The only requirement is that users each sign a liability waiver, located at the trailhead kiosk set about 1/4 of a mile in from the front entrance.
“I feel so lucky to be part of the TSV magic,” Corroon said by phone in May. “I used to live in Santa Fe so I fell in love with the ski valley a long time ago.”
Set on 1,200 acres of private recreational development, Northside is a mapped and signed trail system designed especially for mountain biking, composed of a looped trail network with spectacular overlooks, single- and double-track routes through blue spruce and aspen stands and expansive meadows. The terrain is best suited for the intermediate- and higher-level rider. Singletracks.com selected Northside as one of the 20 most scenic mountain bike trails in the Western United States.
For the even more adventurous, one can pedal to the top of Frazer Mountain, 12,163 feet, the highest point on the property at an average grade of less than 10 percent. Northside is open dawn to dusk from late June through October, weather permitting – keep in mind that the mornings and evenings are chilly. It’s wise to dress in layers.
Taos Ski Valley brings ancestry to life. It has become an unexpected cultural center comprised of Native American, Spanish and Anglo tradition. It’s like nowhere else.
Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce
10 Thunderbird Rd, Taos Ski Valley; (800) 517-9816