Santa Fe is lovely in February. A little bit of snow, lots of sun and cold temperatures! I have made several day trips from Santa Fe, which I thought I would share. The drive in and out of the city is quite interesting.

new mexico
The beauty of New Mexico

Best Day Trip from Santa Fe

Taos, NM: is famous for its spiritual traditions and thriving art colony, not to mention a world-renown ski resort! We made the drive over from Santa Fe in about 1 ½ hours. I would recommend taking the “high” road on your way over and the “low” road on the return trip.

The high road, also known as the National Scenic Byway, is full of gorgeous mountain vistas and steep winding roads. Make sure you stop at one of the pull-offs along the side of the road and take in the sweeping views and great photo ops.

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Statue in Taos, NM
taos, nm
View of Sangre de Cristo Mountains

There are plenty of parking options when you arrive in Taos. There are free municipal parking lots, as well as paid meter parking closer to the shops and galleries. It’s a very quaint downtown area, the people are super friendly and the shops are unique. Almost every single store iin Taos is dog friendly, so feel free to take your pup along with you for the adventure. Check out the Plaza for the history and the shops around the Plaza for art, clothes, jewelry, etc. We spent a couple of hours wandering in and out of shops and stopped for lunch.

Things to see between Taos and Santa Fe

Head out to Gorge Bridge and check out the 5th highest bridge in the US spanning the Rio Grande. Drive back on the low road and check out the historic San Francisco de Asis in Ranchos de Taos.

According to Visit Taos “In the historic adobe churches of Taos and northern New Mexico, one observes the melding of 500 years of multiculturalism. These sometimes humble structures are the very heart of the communities they serve.

Celebrating over 200 years, the historic San Francisco de Asis in Ranchos de Taos was built in the early 1800s and is the only original church that remains intact in the Taos area. It has been artistically recorded by 20th Century artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams, who were fascinated by its adobe contours and sculptural buttresses. Their artful depictions of the rustic architecture of San Francisco de Asis have made the church internationally famous.”

Take your time driving the low road back to Santa Fe and enjoy all the beauty of the Rio Grande River surrounded by glorious mountains.

Other Cities in New Mexico You Can Drive From Santa Fe in less than 2 hours

Albuquerque, NM: is about an hour trip from Santa Fe. The drive is over is easy, so it’s perfect for a day trip. Once in the city check out the Old Town for quiet hidden patios, winding brick paths, gardens and balconies. While you are visiting, enjoy a hike near Sandia Peak. Its particularly stunning and there are several easy trails that would be a perfect way to spend a couple of hours. Albuquerque home to the International Balloon Fiesta, held each October which is a sight to behold (I am told!).

Old Town Albuequerque
San Felipe de Neri Church

Los Alamos: is an hour’s drive through the Jemez mountains. My ears popped the entire trip up! Los Alamos is home to the super-secret Manhattan Project because of its need to “operate secretly in an isolated area but allow free exchange of ideas among the scientists on the staff.” It is a cool part of history to explore high in the Jemez mountains.

Manhattan Project gate

Chimayo: is on the high road to Taos. Chimayo is home to El Santuario de Chimayó. Thousands of pilgrims make their way to Chimayo every Good Friday. The energy and spiritual atmosphere is hard to describe, it should be experienced. While in town, be sure to visit the famous weaving shops and have lunch at Rancho de Chimayo, which is dog friendly!

Santuario de Chimayo

Historic Sites less than a 1 hour drive from Santa Fe

Bandelier National Monument: The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. It is a nice hike to visit the cliff dwellings of the Puebloans. Note it is not dog friendly! All the locals recommend a visit to this lovely spot.

Ancestral Sites Trail in Pecos National Historic Park: This is a 1.2 Mile loop trail that is super easy. Check in at the Vistors center to get the brochure about the sites along the trail. It’s $2 and totally worth it to learn about all the anciet sites you will visit along the trail.

These are just a few ideas of day trips you can take from Santa Fe. If you are visting Santa Fe, check out my post on things to do in Santa Fe. Let me know if you visit any of these towns and what you think of them!