back to articles | August 11, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

10 Best Spots to See the Fall Colors in Northern New Mexico

For a long time, most people have enjoyed seeing the fall colors on the east coast. However, Northern New Mexico is becoming one of the best and most popular places to view the fall foliage. The glorious red, yellow, purple, bronze and orange colors that fill up Northern New Mexico during fall are a must-see.


The gorgeous colors from the maple, beech and oak trees will leave you in awe and abundance. The perfect time for you to visit Northern New Mexico for this lifetime experience is between the end of September all the way to early October. Here are some of the best spots for seeing the fall colors in Northern New Mexico.

1. The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway

The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway is one of the most accessible and most visited routes during fall in Northern New Mexico. This driveway is found on the north-south of Ranchos de Taos and runs to Santa Fe. It passes through the renowned Chimayo.

By driving through this scenic route, you will get a chance to see the spectacular scenery of the badlands that are usually filled with pinons and junipers colorful during fall. Without stops, a drive through this route takes about three hours. It is also an ideal route to see the deserts, small farms, villages, hills and spectacular canyon views.

2. The Enchanted Circle Loop

As the name suggests, the Enchanted Circle is a circular loop that covers eighty-five miles. The loop goes through Taos, Questa, Angel Fire and Red River. It is another excellent route that covers the majestic views of mountains, canyons and ranches. For spectacular fall foliage, this is one of the must-take routes. The fact that this route passes through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is a fantastic adventure for you to view the stunning scenery of the old towns.

Remember to carry your camera while using this route, as there are a lot of beautiful scenes for you to capture. You can also make a stop at Chimayo to enjoy the adored Mexican food. You can explore this route starting from Taos, then head to the Eagle Nest through Highway 38, where you can find some of the best views.

You can take Highway 64 on the south and drive back to Taos. The optimal time to visit this loop is mid-October, when the fall foliage is at its peak.

3. Tierra Amarilla

The driveway between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla is one of the most scenic drives you can take in Northern New Mexico during fall. The drive gives you a chance to go to the countryside. The route also winds over the mountains as you go to Tres Piedras, which provide an eye-popping view of farms and ranches.

This route is considered the most scenic as it clearly shows the bright yellow aspen groves and red oak trees. You can also take the chance to view the Brazos Cliffs. The beautiful Hopewell Lake is also found along this scenic byway, and you can take a moment to have a picnic or fish in the lake. The route also boasts the historic Tierra Wools weaving studio. Here, you can see old-age wool spinning and shop for shawls, woollen hats and rugs.

4. Taos to Santa Fe

The high road between Taos and Santa Fe covers 56 miles and hosts a scenic view through the Carson National Forest. This is a route that gives breathtaking scenic points during fall.

The road offers great views to see trees change colors and a glimpse of New Mexico's towns, Spanish villages and small farms. The best views of trees changing colors can be seen along the Rio Grande River while using this high road.

5. The Cumbres and Toltec Railroad

The Cumbres and Toltec railroad trip is trendy during fall. The trip gives an ultimate fall colors experience, mainly due to the dramatic altitude changes along this route that make colors change in varying ways. The train offers a spectacular view of the eye-catching countryside, making it perfect for photography.

With the growing popularity of this trip, tickets sell out quickly, and you need to book yours early enough through the Cumbres & Toltec website. This will help you avoid missing out on this memorable fall colors trip.

6. Angel Fire Resort

The Angel Fire Resort is a family-friendly destination if you want to experience the fall colors in Northern New Mexico. The resort offers gorgeous scenery during fall.

One of the best ways to get absorbed in the fantastic fall colors is by booking the renowned Chile Express Chairlift. The lift takes you up to two miles above, where you can enjoy the full view of brilliant yellow aspens, white oaks and cottonwoods. The resort also offers immaculate rooms and delicious food.

7. Columbine Trail

The Taos and the Enchanted Circle offer several scenic hiking trails during fall, but the Columbine Trail is the most preferred one by locals and tourists. It is situated on the west of Red River. It is usually classified as an easy to moderate hike, but this depends on the distance you decide to hike. The hiking trail has aspen groves and colorful wildflowers, offering a perfect picnic site.

8. Hyde Memorial State Park

Another great spot for fall color sightseeing in Northern New Mexico is the Hyde Memorial State Park, located at the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The park is an ideal camping ground during fall for you to get immersed in the incredible colors of the aspens and crimsons. You can also enjoy these spectacular views by biking, skiing and riding through the park. Just be sure to carry a map to guide you through.

9. The Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway

The Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway is about 165 miles and starts from San Ysidro town. However, this route only covers a little of the Santa Fe National Forest. What makes the trail unique is that it gives a mix of fall foliage and a splendid view of historical formations and ruins.

10. Taos Ski Valley

The most popular way of experiencing fall color views at the Taos Ski Valley is by driving Highway 150 through the village. The route covers dazzling fall colors from the aspens that give you natural relaxation. It is also essential to note that apart from driving, the Taos Ski Valley has spectacular hiking trails you can explore with your family and friends.

Bottom Line

Where there are oaks and aspens, there is plenty of autumn colors, and Northern New Mexico has all the awe-striking abundance. With its blend of badlands and mountains, desert rocks and thick forests, the state offers beautiful fall colors come mid-September, particularly in the higher elevations. Plan a visit to Northern New Mexico and join the locals and other visitors in delighting as the aspens dramatically turn from green to gold.

For incredible world-class off-road trips, consider getting a Triumph Tiger Explorer or Honda CB500X. This will give you many things to experience in the vibrant cities of Northern New Mexico. There is also no reason to wait if you are considering financing your used or new motorcycle for your trip. Apply now to get up to 4 quotes.