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  • Writer's picturewwambrose

Two Taos Trails

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

We are always on the lookout for nearby trails that allow dogs, and we found two outside of Taos that fit the bill. They were both categorized as 'easy' by Alltrails, but the overnight snowfall added a wildcard element. Both were located along river canyons where the Rio Pueblo de Taos joined the Rio Grande. We were somewhat disappointed on the drive down from Taos as the snow was quickly disappearing at the lower elevations. But when we got there, we were blown away by the beauty.

The Slide Trail was named after a rockslide that rendered impassable a narrow road rising up the canyon wall -- bad news for drivers but great news for hikers. After a short drive along the river, passing a scattering of tents, we reached the trailhead. We were the first and only ones there.

Rio Pueblo de Taos in the background, a piece of the road can be seen top right.

These photos don't really capture the expansive view, the feeling that we were in some distant wilderness with not a soul around. The only concern on our mind was the possibility that Charlie was going to dart over the edge and land on the rocks below -- it was very steep. We debated whether I would risk my life to go down and recover her crumpled body, and how Amy would feel with both of our crumpled bodies down there.

After the hike down we drove back through the scattered tents and noticed that many were the same make and color. Campers were moving about, all young women. We passed one young woman at the bottom of the trail breaking rocks in a T-shirt. We hypothesized that the group was either a geology class doing research or a cult.

The second hike, La Vista Verde Trail, was a larger version of the first as it extended along the Rio Grande gorge. Wider vistas, and somewhat greener as the name would suggest although it must be unbelievably verdant in summer. The trail snaked through scrub and grasslands, occasionally poking out for insane views. Once again we were totally alone in this fairytale landscape.

The trip back was a bit muddy (see video) but we felt very lucky to have found this beauty. Charlie was happy too, although the combined 5+ miles wiped her out. Taos -- like Pinos Altos, Gila National Forest, and Santa Fe -- has given us many reasons to return to New Mexico.

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