- 84 miles (135 km)
- 4 hours
- There are no fees to drive the byway; however, attractions (such as skiing) may have fees.
Circling Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway loops 84 miles through the Carson National Forest. Highlighting astonishing wooded valleys, magnificent mountain passes, and rich Wild West history and culture, Enchanted Circle makes an exciting day trip or an amusing vacation destination.
Entrapping visitors in an immense appreciation for nature's extraordinary wonders, Enchanted Circle abounds in alluring vistas and awe-inspiring views. The Carson National Forest provides recreational opportunities for travelers throughout all seasons of the year. The arresting and mountainous countryside and refreshing summer temperatures bewitch all guests. Summer travelers appreciate the quiet and serene forest while indulging in an afternoon of fishing or a hike among verdant woods of ponderosa pines, fir, spruce, aspen and copious riparian vegetation. Campers enjoy established camping grounds or hiking through the forest and pitch sites. Winter sportsmen triumph over challenging ski slopes and rigorous cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling trails. About 12 miles south of Taos, the Snowplay Area: US Hill attracts families and young sledders.
Enchanted Circle is also an area bursting with old West culture and history. Travelers can visit Elizabethtown, the abandoned county seat of Colfax County. This ghost town is only a mere shadow of its crowning glory. Visitors can meander through its ruins and learn more about its founding and history at the Elizabethtown Museum. Taos and the Pueblo de Taos Indian Reservation offer guests a glimpse at ancient living. Pueblo de Taos is an unchanged Indian adobe village. Visitors can explore the village's historic plaza, its buildings, and its side streets.
Captivating panoramas and unlimited and exciting recreational activities make Enchanted Circle a favorite spot with many vacationers. Many have found that a variety of adventures await you along Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in the Carson National Forest. Elevations rise from 6,000 feet to 13,161 feet at Wheeler Peak, the highest in New Mexico.
Elizabethtown, or E-Town as it came to be known, began as a tent city in the 1860s when gold prospectors converged on Baldy Mountain. As the settlement grew, it boasted enough enterprise (including seven salooons and three dance halls) to make it the Colfax County ceat. By 1871, however, the mining operations had all but run dry, and a fire in 1903 spelled the end of the town.
Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area (NM)
Lying along the top of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range Wheeler Peak Wilderness is characterized by high rugged terrain where elevations range from 7,650 feet to 13,16l. Wheeler Peak is the highest point in the state of New Mexico.
Wheeler Peak can be reached by hiking trails or by taking NM 150 north off of NM 522.
Wild Rivers Recreation Area (NM)
Wild Rivers Recreation Area, located 35 miles north of Taos, has been set aside to help you experience the wild majesty of New Mexico countryside.
Take SR 378 off of SR 522 north of Questa.