The 86-mile Enchanted Circle loop into the Sangre de Christo mountains from Taos is a classic ride in three seasons, but probably best in the fall when the cottonwoods along the creeks pop red and yellow and the cinquefoil bruises purple. The route traces the popular century race that takes place each September, but skips a 14-mile out and back to Angel Fire ski area. The ride traverses mountainous canyons, flat farmlands, and tops 9,100-foot Palo Flechado and 9,820-foot Bobcat Pass.
WHEN TO GO: Get an eyeful of man-made splendor as well during the Taos Fall Arts Fest, September 27 to October 6.
ROUTE: Follow the well-marked scenic byway route east on Highway 64 out of Taos. Connect to Highway 38 and then head south on 522 at the Junction in Questa, which will bring you all the way back into town.
HOLY MOLE: Grab a shower before you go (and a reservation) because The Love Apple is a nice place. Order the Homemade Baked Tamale with Oaxacan Style Mole, which features the Apple’s special red chile mole sauce. Pair that with something from the extensive wine list. May we suggest a Cab Franc?