July is National Picnic Month. Now is the perfect time to spend outdoors with friends and family, so pack a picnic basket and head to your favorite spot. We've included some of our favorite places to help plan the ultimate picnic in Taos.
Rio Grande Gorge "High Bridge" and West Rim Trail
The High Bridge offers stunning views at every turn. On the west side of the bridge is a rest area where you will find parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and the trailhead for the eight-mile West Rim Trail. The monument includes approximately 242,555 acres of public land, most of which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The landscape is comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones, and cut by steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths. The Río Grande carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. Among the volcanic cones in the Monument, Ute Mountain is the highest, reaching to 10,093 feet.
Wild Rivers Area
The Rio Grande rushes 800 feet below the spectacular La Junta Point at the Wild Rivers Area. Wild Rivers offers a universally-accessible visitor center, overlook, picnic areas with tables and grills, drinking fountains, and restrooms. The unique setting of the Monument provides a wealth of recreational opportunities. Whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking are some of the more outstanding activities that can be enjoyed in the Monument. The Wild Rivers Recreation Area at the confluence of the Río Grande and Red River includes campgrounds, scenic viewpoints, and hiking trails. La Junta Point, at Wild Rivers, provides a dramatic vista of the confluence of the two rivers, and is wheelchair accessible. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area includes campgrounds near the river’s edge, as well as boat launches. The Taos Valley overlook provides stunning views and trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Enjoying nature in Taos doesn’t necessarily mean a drive into the mountains or a trek into the wilderness. Taos boasts beautiful parks and recreation sites right here within the city limits. Shoot some hoops, play a game of catch or a round of soccer, fire up the barbecue and have a picnic while the kids cavort on the playground, or have a walk around with your four-legged friend and enjoy the tall trees and lush green grass (yes, grass!).
If you want to get out of town a bit more, picnic shelters can also be found throughout the Carson National Forest and up and down the Rio Grande River. All have stunning scenery and many also have campsites you can reserve for longer stays—probably a good idea because once you’re perched alongside the river or nestled in among the pines, you won’t want to leave!
Although the weather in Taos is legendarily lovely, on that rare day when outdoors isn’t an option, head to the Taos Youth & Family Center. There’s an indoor pool for splashing around and, in the winter, the best (okay, only) ice skating in town. There’s also an outdoor skate park with bowls, rails, jumps, and benches, open every day of the year. There’s plenty of recreation to be had for the whole family in Taos.