Questa sits at a hub of beautiful roads in all directions.
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
The monument’s beautiful, paved road is to our west. Look for hwy. 378 to Cerro just 2.6 miles north of our only traffic light in Questa. This will be a leisurely one-hour excursion off hwy 522, including time to stretch one’s legs at the various trailheads and enjoy the dramatic view at the La Junta overlook where the Red River flows into the Rio Grande (handicap accessible).
Want to step over the Colorado state line? It’s only 35 minutes to our north, and there really are wild horses on Wild Horse Mesa (the informal name for the stretch of highway north of Costilla, NM).
The tiny, historic towns of San Luis or Fort Garland over the border will at least offer an ice-cream cone as a welcome reward. (or, perhaps some legal cannabis will be more soothing…)
Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway
To our east begins the famous necklace of towns settled around the highest mountain peak in New Mexico. Leaving Questa, on highway 38, you will wind through a forested mountain road to reach the shops and cafés of the old mining town of Red River. Continue east over the dramatic Bobcat Pass toward more open scenery to the historic town of Eagle Nest with its beautiful lake, then on to the gorgeous resort town of Angel Fire with its ski area, zip line, golf course, and famous Veterans’ Memorial. This circle drive returns to the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Taos, with its cozy B&B’s, fine dining, and the not-to-be-missed Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Area.
Discover more information about the Enchanted Circle HERE.
D.H. Lawrence House
The vintage homesteader’s cabin and memorial of this great writer is a twenty minutes’s drive south of Questa. In the mid 1920s, Lawrence and his wife Frieda lived a pioneer lifestyle at the ranch that was givento them by Mabel Dodge Lujan. Lawrence was inspired by the savage beauty of the landscape, and wrote many short stories and poems, while also painting here. He repaired buildings, made furniture, chopped fire wood, and baking bread in an horno oven. The crisp clear air at 8,500′ helped his consumptive lungs.
Drive south on Highway 522 and continue for about 10 minutes to the southern entrance into San Cristobal, road B-009, (look for the historical marker). Turn east here and drive straight for 5 miles, to the end of the good dirt road, Forest Rd. 9. The grounds are open during the summer for a self-guided tour Thursday-Friday 10am-2pm, and Saturday from 10am-4pm. Free. Find more information HERE.
Along the Enchanted Circle, you will reach Taos in one and a half hours. For a more straightforward drive to Taos, drive directly south from Questa and enjoy the dramatic open scenery across the barely-visible river gorge. This route of rolling hills takes only a half-hour.
Many shops, galleries, museums, and fine restaurants await.
*Do not miss visiting the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Find more info HERE.
The High Road
If you’ve enjoyed seeing Questa’s historic adobe church and wish to see more; don’t miss the famous St. Francis church on the Ranchos de Taos plaza south of Taos. Then jog back a quarter-mile to highway 518 toward Talpa and follow the old High Road that winds through the hills southeast of Taos along highways 75 then 76, passing the old church plazas of Truchas, Las Trampas, and the Santaurio de Chimayó. One can return east out of Chimayó to rejoin the main Santa Fe-Taos highway in Española, or continue further south to Nambé, with its pretty waterfalls, then return north on the main highway.