Thursday, June 8, 2017

Vacation 2017, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Toas, NM and surrounding area

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Lower Gorge

Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument Lower Gorge is surrounded by the high ridges of the Rio Grande Gorge providing a landscape that is truly remarkable. This is river rafting country with many outfitters and enthusiasts who enjoy water sports. There are several campground locations along the banks of the river that are very well equipped for the campers who either tent or trailer camp. We stayed at the Rio Bravo Campground which is one of the two in the park that have electric and water. We even had showers available for us at 4 quarters for four minutes. This was all available for us at the very reasonable price of $7 a night since we have the national park pass. Even at $15 a night this site is still a very reasonable way to camp out in one of the most spectacular canyons around in New Mexico.

Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center

Our campsite near the Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River Gorge

During our visit we drove out and out of the canyon on a alternate route to Taos, NM on a winding gravel road traversing step cliffs until we came to the rim of the canyon. We marveled at the view of the gorge stopping to take in the broad vistas of the canyon.

Road to the rim of the Gorge 

Rio Grande Gorge

Gravel Road leading the rim of The Rio Grande Gorge

Traveling north towards Taos we came across an interesting place called Earthship. The homes here are self sufficient made out of recyclable items such as old tires, bottles and cans. We were amazed on how far off the grid this place is by generating their own energy through solar and wind. Earthship also recycles their water after collecting the rain water and snow melt making their homes totally self sufficient. All the homes had green houses to grow there own food as well. This foundation has their methods down to a fine science and will build homes for those who want to invest in this concept and live off the grid. We were pleasantly surprised to have come across this new age vision that was obviously well thought out by the founder of Earthship.

Eathship Biotecture


Visitors Center at Earthship

Greenhouse structure built into the homes at Earthship

Earthdance Home

Earthdance community on the high plains west of Taos, NM 

After spending a bit of time at Earthship we headed east towards Taos, NM. On the way we stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the third highest bridge in the United Stater at about 650 feet above the Rio Grande River Gorge. The views from the bridge of the Gorge below were spectacular.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

View of the Rio Grande River from the bridge

Rio Grande Gorge from high up on the bridge

Me on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge enjoying the view of the river

After our visit to the Rio Grande Gorge bridge we drove the Enchanted Circle Drive around Taos, NM through the towns of Red River, Eagles Nest and Angle Fire. This is about a 60 mile loop which takes you over high mountain passes, beautiful mountain valleys and spectacular mountain lakes. In the town of Eagles Nest, NM we stopped by Eagle Nest State Park to take in the views around this beautiful lake surrounded by 10,000 foot mountains. Up here the air is thin and the sun is strong at over 8,500 feet in elevation. This is a great place to come and cool off from the summer weather that we experience in Florida.

Eagles Nest Lake

Downtown Eagles Nest, NM, population 280

A short distance from Eagle Nest, NM we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park located on a hill top overlooking the valley and ski slopes of Angel Fire, NM. It was a great experience as the wonderful benefactors who made this place possible put a lot of thought into making it a true memorial to those who fought and lost their lives during the war. The structure of the memorial with its sweeping design was highlighted by the chapel where relatives who lost their loved ones come to remember them for their sacrifice. 

Vietnam Memorial near Angel Fire, NM

Helicopter used during the war

Memorial near Angel Fire, NM

Inside the Chapel

We ended the day by traveling back to our campsite on the banks of Rio Grande after stopping at The Train Wreck Barbecue Grill  just up the road from the campground. We picked up a full rack of ribs. There were the best ribs we both have had in quite some while. It was a perfect way to end an active but delightful day of adventuring.

Jim the grill master & Juanita are the owners of the Train Wreck Barbecue just up the road from The Rio Grande National Monument Visitors Center. 

Barbara enjoying our meal of ribs

The next morning we traveled into Taos, NM  We were lucky enough to be there on a Saturday to visit the Farmers Market located in the town square. What a great experience as we were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful variety of produce, breads, cheeses. The shops surrounding the square had a variety of special merchandise that is unique to this area. We also visit the church of the Lady of the Guadalope, a truly special place. We had such a pleasant stay in northern New Mexico which created a longing to come back to this area to spend more time in our future travels.

Farmers Market in Taos, NM

La Fonda Hotel 


Organic Vegetable Vendors at the Farmers Market 

Live music reminding me of  BB King

Local native endor selling seeds and select produce

Farmers Market patron

Our Lady of the Guadalope Parish, Taos, NM

Alter at the Guadalpe Parish

Gardens at the Guadalope Parish

The Shops near the central plaza in Taos, NM

Taos Mercantile Company


  1. Great blog! Gives me some ideas to explore the next time I visit family in New Mexico.

  2. Just so you know---Sassy Hiker is Susan H.