An Introduction to
Taos, New Mexico USA

The name rhymes withhouse and the setting is spectacular

Facts, Figures & Phone Numbers

Population (2000 Census) Town 4,700 — Taos County 30,000

Elevation Town sits 6,967 feet above sea level
Taos Ski Valley base is 9,207 feet above sea level rising to 11,819 feet

Climate High desert, intense sunlight. Very dry. Taos averages 12 inches of rainfall a year—and 35 inches of snow (in town). Taos Ski Valley averages 320 inches of snow per year. Acclimating to high altitude can take a few days—don't be surprised if you feel fatigue, unusual thirst or slight dizziness at first. Also, sunscreen and a hat are advisable year round. Nights and early mornings are cool, even in July and August.

A few representative temperatures: June 82° F during the day, 45° F at night; in January 40° F during the day, 9° F night; colder in the Ski Valley. Ski season extends from Thanksgiving until first week of April each year.

Taos forecast and current weather conditions remote site
from The Weather Channel

Getting to Taos

Taos is 125 miles north of Albuquerque; 70 miles north of Santa Fe. Located on US 64 and New Mexico Highway 68.

The Albuquerque International Sunport remote Many visitors to New Mexico arrive at the Albuquerque Airport and rent a car (most national agencies are conveniently located in the baggage claim area).

Southwest Airlines remote has many flights a day serving Albuquerque International Sunport.

Driving time to Taos from Albuquerque is approximately 3 hours (about half that time from Santa Fe). Parking and traffic can be a problem even in Taos during high tourist season (June-August) and on many weekends. Most tourist attractions are within walking distance of lodging places. If you plan to stay outside of town, consider renting a car.

FYI New Mexico State law requires that all passengers traveling in a moving vehicle wear a safety belt. Any child under one year and under must be in a child restraint seat in the back seat. Any child five years and under riding in the front seat must also be in a child seat secured by a safety belt. (A recent article in The Taos News reported that an estimated 48 percent of Taos County drivers are uninsured.)

Plans & Reservations

Lodging dirgif Make hotel reservations in advance. Weekends in the summer are usually near capacity.

Dining dirgif Reservations are suggested, though not required a most Taos restaurants. Casual dress is fine.

Information Sources & Web Links

Taos Virtual Vacation Guide remote site

Taos County Chamber of Commerce remote 800-732-TAOS

TaosGuide remote A directory of vacation information for Taos, New Mexico.

Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau remote 800-284-2282

New Mexico Sno-phone 575-984-0606

New Mexico State Tourism Division remote 800-545-2042

Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau remote 800-777-2489

Ski New Mexico remote 575-982-5300 | 800-755-7669

The Taos News remote site Published every Thursday.

Taos Ski Valley remote site 575-776-2291

Weather and Road Conditions 800-432-4269. Life in the mountains can be unpredictable at best. Rain in Albuquerque can be a snow storm in Santa Fe and a blizzard in Taos—even in late April. But a few hours later the sun will shine!

Dates in Taos History

900 CE Descendents of the Anasazi (Ancient Ones) arrive in the area.

1540 Taos Indians already occupy the current Taos Pueblo site when conquistador Hernando de Alvarado follows the Rio Grande north to Taos.

1600s Padre de Zamore founds the first Catholic mission.

1680 Pueblo people unite to revolt against the Spanish.

1696 Don Diego de Vargas subdues the Taos Indians and the Spanish resettle around Taos Pueblo, Taos Plaza and Ranchos de Taos.

1716 Ranchos de Taos, a village just south of Taos is settled. San Francisco de Asis, the mission church built in 1815, is probably the most photographed and painted church in the United States.

1723 Annual Trade Fairs are established by royal decree at the Pueblos of Taos and Pecos.

1847 Governor Bent, a trader and the first territorial governor of NM, is killed in his home by an angry mob protesting American rule.

1848 US claims the New Mexico territory for its own.

1898 Artists Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips stop in Taos with a broken wagon wheel, and fall in love with the land. They settle here and start a migration of artists that continues today.

1912 New Mexico is admitted to the US as the 47th state.

1927–1933 Nicholai Fechin, artist and Russian immigrant remodels the interior of his adobe home, adding his own distinctly Russian wood carvings. The Fechin home is open for tours during the summer.

1947 Heiress and collector Millicent Rogers arrives in Taos to collect Native American arts and crafts, which now make up the core collection at the Millicent Rogers Museum.

1998 Centennial article of founding of the Taos Art Colony.

Visit the Calendar of Events Search Page for complete exhibit and performance information.

LAST MODIFIED December 1, 2009

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