Santa Fe to Taos- Transportation and Scenic Routes

Looking to get from Santa Fe to Taos? While driving is the easiest option, you do have a bus option as well. But I recommend driving. This way you can choose form the historic and scenic High Road to Taos route or for the slightly quicker but still beautiful Low Road route.

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Either route is great and gives you great views as you drive from Santa Fe to Taos, but if you want to make a road trip out of it and have some great stops along the way, I recommend the high road.

Read on for your options and stops along the way from Santa Fe to Taos, New Mexico.

Pinnable image of Getting from Santa Fe to Taos, Routes and transport.  Includes 4 image collage view of a river behind a guard rail, view of road ahead about to slightly curve with a guard rail on the left and river to the side of it, an adobe style chapel behind a gate on a bright summer day, mountain peaks in snow with grey clouds above

Transportation Options

Car

Driving is the most convenient was to get from Santa Fe to Taos. You can leave on your own schedule and make (or skip) any stops along the way that interest you.

There are two main routes between Taos and Santa Fe, both noted below with more detail. You can take the high road or the low road. Neither is a judgment of your character 馃槈

Take the Bus from Santa Fe to Taos

The bus is another option of getting between Taos and Santa Fe. The public transit bus, North Central RTD, provides fare-free rides on weekdays (except holidays). You can catch the 200 Santa Fe –> 300 Taos bus route to make your transfer.

This is super convenient in that it won’t cost you and you don’t have to drive. However, the ride is between 2-1/2 and 3+ hours, depending on when you go.

Another bus option is to take the Rail Runner shuttle. While the Rail Runner train connects Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it does not connect up to Taos. However, you can board a shuttle right at the Santa Fe Depot Station in Santa Fe to get you to Taos.

This bus connection only runs on Saturdays and Sundays, which is perfect since the other bus can be used on weekdays.

For bus routes, check here and click on the guide under “Bus Connections”.

Santa Fe to Taos High Road

Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (if driven with no stops)

Distance: 77 miles

The High Road is the route you can take if you really want a scenic byway to Taos from Santa Fe. This road will lead you through little villages and big views.

From Santa Fe, head north on US-84 (which turns into US-285). When you get in San Pedro, you’ll continue north on S Riverside Dr. This road will go through some name changes, but stay on it and it will lead you right up the route of the scenic High Road all the way into Taos.

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Stops along/near the High Road Route

Tesuque

About ten miles north of Santa Fe you’ll reach the Tesuque Pueblo.

With over 17,000 acres to the pueblo and only 800 people, Tesuque is a great pueblo to visit on your way from Santa Fe to Taos. It has a casino for those wanting to test their luck, but families will fare better browsing the pottery, clothing, silver work, paintings, and more among the art stops.

Find the Glenn Green Gallery and Sculpture Gardens as well as Tesuque Glassworks just east of US-84.

Nambe Falls

To get to Nambe Falls, exit US-84 in Pojoaque onto NM-503 east. Turn right onto Poechunu Poe and stay on that road and turn right at the Nambe Reservoir office and continue down the road to the trailhead area.

For one of the coolest waterfalls in the southwest, don’t miss a stop at Nambe Falls.

Part of the Pueblo of Namb茅, the waterfall is just a short hike from the Ramada area. Whether you’d like to view from the top of the falls or from the bottom, you’ll have just a short quarter-mile hike to either.

Be prepared to get a little wet on the lower trail, which may be refreshing on a hot summer day. Water sandals recommended, entrance fee required.

an adobe church in Chimayo, New Mexico. Adobe style arch with doors as a gate to the courtyard, two bell towers with crosses on the top. A beautiful summer day with bright skies and greenery along the edges of the photo

Chimay贸

Chimay贸 is the first stop once you are on the actual High Road to Taos.

The most popular site to visit here is the Santuario de Chimay贸, or Holy Chimay贸. This spot encompasses two chapels, a visitor center, gift shop, and more.

You can see the Holy Family chapel first, home to Lord of Esquipulas chapel, which is believed to have been built on holy dirt. Part of this site is also the Santo Ni帽o de Atocha chapel which was built in 1857 and is a popular Easter pilgrimage site.

While in Chimay贸, make sure to stop at Ortega’s Weaving Shop. This is home to hand-woven products like rugs and shawls that carry the cultural tradition.

Cordova

Cordova is along the main route and quick turn off as you take the High Road to Taos. Here you’ll find one of many historic churches along your route, the San Antonio de Padua Church.

The church features a beautiful altar screen created by Rafael Aragon. It underwent a conservation project a few years ago to restore the art, making it take on a beautiful appearance close to the original.

Truchas

Head back onto the main route for just a few miles to reach your next stop.

Along the High Road to Taos you will drive through Truchas. The main stopping destination here is to witness the Nuestra Se帽ora del Rosario church. The land in Truchas was established in 1754 via a land grant, and the church was originally built in 1764 (though some sources say 1805).

Today it is undergoing renovation and repair, but you can witness this historic building as you drive through.

Trampas

After Truchas, you’ll continue driving about 10 minutes before you reach Las Trampas.

The best place for a stop in Las Trampas is the San Jose de Gracia church. This church is a historically significant stop as it began construction in 1760. The town was originally inhabited by 12 families back in the 1750’s. Today, it is a national historic district.

Regardless of the number of towns you choose to stop in, you’ll get scenic views and national forest land as you drive from Santa Fe to Taos on the High Road to Taos.

view from passenger seat driving from Santa Fe to Taos.  A road ahead with a tall gas station sign in the distance, a couple random small buildings on the side of the road

Near Espa帽ola

Santa Fe to Taos Low Road

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Distance: 70 miles

To make this journey, you’ll head north on US-84, later turning into 285. You’ll drive along the east side of Espa帽ola and keep heading north on NM-68. This will take you right into Taos.

While the Low Road to Taos may not be as popular in terms of scenic driving, it’s actually still quite beautiful.

The low road is the slightly quicker route, so if you are on a time crunch, you’ll want this route.

There aren’t a ton of places to stop along this route, but the beauty of following the winding Rio Grande river is a nice site to watch as you drive. The road is pretty separate from towns and civilization for the majority of the trip. You’ll wind along the river, alongside a mountain for a gorgeous drive.

a 2 lane road connecting Santa Fe to Taos with a short mountain on the right, a railguard on the left with a river below

An easy, peaceful drive along the Low Road to Taos

Quickest Route from Santa Fe to Taos

The quickest option for getting from Santa Fe to Taos (or likewise, Taos to Santa Fe) is taking the Low Road route. It’s direct and easy as you don’t have to drive up mountain roads.

Santa Fe to Taos Day Trip

Can you make a day trip from Santa Fe to Taos? Yes, absolutely!

Taos is only about 1-1/2 hours away, leaving you plenty of time to explore the town. If you are hoping to ski, the resort is a bit farther, but it is still doable as a day trip from Santa Fe.

There are plenty of things to do in Taos that can keep you busy for a great day trip.

Driving from Santa Fe to Taos

As you can see, you have a couple options for driving from Santa Fe to Taos. Do you want the quicker route, or the scenic route? The distance and travel time doesn’t vary terribly between the two, and it’s a beautiful drive with either choice.

If you are making a round-trip journey, consider taking the low road from Santa Fe to Taos and then the High Road from Taos to Santa Fe. This will get you the best of both worlds.

While there are plenty of activities to enjoy in Santa Fe, driving the High Road makes a great day trip from Santa Fe, getting you out of the city and into the history and culture of the surrounding, less-visited areas.

馃憠馃徏 Make sure to check out this fun Self-Guided Walking Tour in Santa Fe!

Discover more of New Mexico:

One Day in White Sands National Park

13 Best Things to do NEAR White Sands

How to Spend One Day At Carlsbad Caverns

Best Places to Stay Near Carlsbad Caverns

Getting from White Sands to Carlsbad Caverns

What to do in Albuquerque with Kids

Pinnable image of Getting from Santa Fe to Taos, Routes and transport. Includes 4 image collage view of a river behind a guard rail, view of road ahead about to slightly curve with a guard rail on the left and river to the side of it, an adobe style chapel behind a gate on a bright summer day, mountain peaks in snow with grey clouds above

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