New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, captivates the soul with expansive desert landscapes, deep river gorges, red rock canyons, fiery food, rich history, and unique adobe architecture. We begin this immersive experience in the artistic and vibrant town of Santa Fe, with centuries of blended Native American and Spanish culture, art of all genres, and the forested Sangre de Cristo Mountains beckoning us for a hike through the glow of the aspens in autumn. From here we head North through the countryside to the charming town of Abiquiu and the former home of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Continuing onward, we reach Taos, a relaxed and eccentric town where we see nature’s inspiration in the art galleries and Native American pueblo architecture, all set amid the backdrop of towering mountains.
Our daily hikes are balanced with relaxing soaks in geothermal springs, visits to ancient sites, Southwestern art, and lively meals featuring fire-roasted red and green chiles. At day’s end we return to our charming accommodations to relax by the warm glow and captivating scent of pinon pine ablaze in kiva fireplaces.
Arrival in Santa Fe
Welcome to Santa Fe! We meet our fellow travelers and local guide for a welcome lunch and a preview of our activities in the days to come.
This afternoon, we explore the capital city on a walking tour with our guide. Founded by the Spanish in the early 1600s, the city has a traditional Plaza at its center surrounded by winding streets, historic buildings, and numerous art galleries. Hear colorful stories about unique characters and places that make Santa Fe "The City Different." Our tour concludes at a chocolate shop that infuses local ingredients, such as chile pinon nuts and lavender, into their treats.
This evening, we walk up Canyon Road, a historic, tree-lined street where artists show their works inside and outside more than 100 art galleries. Once just a trail used by local Pueblo people, the first adobe houses on this road were built by Spanish settlers in 1610. The street remained quiet and mainly residential until the late 1970s, when many of the homes were converted to galleries. An easy mile-long stroll, Canyon Road is one of the most picturesque areas in Santa Fe.
At the top of Canyon Road, we dine together at one of the oldest restaurants in the city, famous for its innovative Spanish tapas and live music.
La Fonda on the PlazaSanta Fe, USA
With its historic pueblo-inspired architecture and Spanish Revival style, this landmark Santa Fe hotel presides over the historic Plaza. Amenities include a courtyard restaurant, rooftop Bell Tower Bar, heated outdoor pool, and decadent spa.
Aspen Vista & Tesuque
After breakfast, we enjoy a scenic drive up Hyde Park Road to the start of the Aspen Vista trail, one of the best places to experience Santa Fe's forested Sangre de Cristo mountains. As the name suggests, this trail winds through an aspen forest, shimmering in a spectacular shade of gold in autumn. Our planned hike is 2 miles each way, however, there may be an opportunity for those who want to explore further if time allows.
After lunch at one of our favorite local restaurants, we head to the nearby village of Tesuque for a visit to an outdoor sculpture garden and glass blowing studio.
This evening, we master the flavors of the Southwest with a hands-on cooking class. We learn how to create a variety of traditional dishes and enjoy a mouth-watering feast for dinner.
Bandelier & Valles Caldera
Today, we head north to the Jemez Mountains for a day of exploration. Our first stop is Frijoles Canyon and Bandelier National Monument, one of the largest and most accessible cliff dwellings in New Mexico. Our trail leads us to caves, alcoves, and homes of Ancestral Puebloans, some only reachable by wooden ladders. We also see petroglyphs and pictographs telling the story of the region's evolution.
Afterwards, we discover Valles Caldera National Preserve, where a spectacular volcanic eruption created a thirteen-mile-wide circular depression. Known for mountain meadows and meandering streams, this preserve is home to abundant wildlife, such as elk, coyotes, prairie dogs, black bears, bald and golden eagles, wild turkeys, and other migratory birds.
Later, we arrive at our enchanting home for the next two nights, the Abiquiu Inn, tucked along the ancient Rio Chama.
Abiquiu InnAbiquiu, USA
Located along the ancient Rio Chama, north of Santa Fe, the Abiquiu Inn is the ideal gateway for exploring the magnificent landscape of this region, perfectly captured by Georgia O’Keeffe.
This morning, we visit Ghost Ranch, made famous by painter Georgia O'Keeffe and encompassing 21,000 acres of towering rock walls, vivid colors, and vast skies. People from all over the world come here to paint, write, hike, ride horses, research, and to rest and renew their spirits. O'Keeffe instantly fell in love with the Southwestern scenery. "As soon as I saw it, I knew I must have it," she said of the adobe house at Ghost Ranch. Here, she often climbed a hand-hewn wooden ladder to the roof to entertain guests or sleep under the stars. O'Keeffe's artwork, inspired by the high-desert landscape, led to her popularity and acclaim during the 1940s. In 1949, she moved to New Mexico permanently, spending most of her time at Ghost Ranch.
Our hike takes us to the top of a mesa, where we have an eye-level view of the impressive Chimney Rock and a stunning vista of the Piedra Lumbre basin with Abiquiu Lake in the distance. As a bonus, we can see O'Keeffe's home from our lofty perch.
Later today, we drive to a restricted area of the ranch where O'Keeffe lived and painted many of her best known landscapes. Along the way, we hear stories about her life there and stop to take in the beauty and perspectives that she found so inspiring.
This evening, we return to our tranquil accommodations for dinner and relaxation beside your personal kiva fireplace.
Plaza Blanca & Ojo Caliente
We begin our day with a short hike in a more remote area known for its immense white rock formations. The terrain is almost otherworldly and the views are breathtaking. From here, we head north to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. This historic spa, with its sulfur-free geothermal healing waters, traces its roots back thousands of years to pilgrimages by Native American tribes and the area's first Spanish settlers. In 1868, a bathhouse at Ojo Caliente ("warm eye" in Spanish) was built, establishing the place as one of the country's first natural health resorts.
Upon our arrival, we dine at the on-site farm-to-table restaurant with herbs and produce sourced directly from the property's two-acre farm. This afternoon, you may choose to relax in the restorative waters of the twelve mineral baths and perhaps enjoy a spa treatment, or hike on the surrounding trails overlooking the river valley and high desert mesas.
As the day wanes, we continue our drive to Taos, a relaxed and eccentric town nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
El Monte SagradoTaos, USA
Just three blocks from the historic Taos Plaza, El Monte Sagrado takes hacienda living to a new level. Rooms feature adobe-style fireplaces, hardwood or tile floors, and intricately carved furniture. Visit the property’s award-winning Living Spa for luxury treatments and services.
Taos Pueblo & Hike
This morning, we visit the historic Taos Pueblo - the only living Native American community designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. Taos Pueblo is home to impressive multi-story adobe buildings that have been continuously inhabited for over a 1,000 years. We also find art galleries and artisan shops, and our visit here offers a glimpse into traditional life of a Southwestern Native American society. Tourism is an important part of the Pueblo's economy, and visitors are welcome.
As the day begins to warm up, we head out for a hike in Carson National Forest or Rio Grande del Norte National Park depending on the group's interest. One hike takes us to an alpine lake, and the other to a deep river gorge. We take some time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings and a picnic lunch before heading back to town.
This evening, you are free to explore Taos and enjoy dinner on your own at one of the town's many restaurants. Our guides are happy to make recommendations for you.
Chimayo & Santa Fe
Today, we make our way to the historic weaving center of Chimayo. In this small village, families still maintain the tradition of creating hand-woven textiles initiated by their ancestors in the early 1800s. We visit one of the weaving shops in town and the historic El Santuario de Chimayo church, ascribed with miraculous powers of healing. The church has attracted thousands of pilgrims since its completion in 1816. Up to 30,000 people participate in the annual Good Friday pilgrimage, many walking from as far away as Albuquerque (almost 100 miles).
Lunch in town is followed by our return drive to Santa Fe, where we arrive in time to meander town and shop before reconvening for dinner this evening.
On our final night together, we celebrate our week with a memorable meal at one of the most lauded restaurants in town. You may be asked one last time, "Red or green?" - referring to which chile you prefer - as we raise a glass to our adventures in this uniquely beautiful and historically rich region.
After breakfast, join our group departure to the airport or arrange your own transfer at your leisure.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Oct 8-15, 2022
From $4,995 Per Person
First two reserved:$525
See single supplement policy below.
MAKE IT PRIVATE
9+ Guests: $4,995 per person
4 to 8 Guests: $5,995 per person
Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure, and a positive attitude. This trip is rated a 3, moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). Walking and hiking 3-6 miles, 3-5 hours per day, with elevation gain and loss on two days of approximately 1000'. Please note, Santa Fe sits at just over 7,000', with a couple of hikes in the 10,000'-11,000' range. Although most people will do fine at this altitude, you may want to arrive a day or two prior to the start of your tour to give your body time to adjust. It is also important to stay hydrated and ease into activities so that you can feel your best.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe or Albuquerque, New Mexico
Northern New Mexico has a very dry, high desert climate with intense sunlight. On average, one can expect more than 300 sunny days per year. Summers are generally warm (low 80s°F) and very pleasant, while winters get quite cold (low 40s°F) and see plenty of snow in the mountains. The rainy season is generally July through August when thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon. Snow occurs from November through April, with an average of 32 inches in towns and up to 300 inches in the ski areas.
Anyone who has fallen in love with New Mexico will say that there is no bad time to visit. That being said, if you want to avoid summer heat or cool winter days your best bets are spring and fall. Fall tends to be a quieter time of year, when the golden leaves of aspens brilliantly light up the mountainside, and you can delight in the aroma of roasting chiles in street side tumblers.
New Mexican cooking is a product of Southwestern history: a centuries-old distillation of Native foraging and cultivation, Spanish colonial imports, and a long period of geographic isolation.
The basic ingredients of northern New Mexican cuisine are three indispensable, locally-grown foods: chile, beans, and corn. Chile, of course, is the most essential — even sacred — ingredient in New Mexican dishes. When placing your order, be prepared to answer the classic New Mexican question: "Red or green?" referring to which chile you prefer. If you're unsure, try "Christmas," which includes some of both.
Blue corn is especially popular, with colors ranging from light grey to almost black. You may see blue corn pancakes or blue corn tamales on menus. It's slightly sweeter than white or yellow corn and has 20% more protein.
Sopapillas are light and airy fried pastries that are often served with honey. This fluffy side dish is ideal for sopping up chile sauce or wrapping around tender carne asada. They are an unforgettable part of any meal.
Other staples include beef and chicken enchiladas, carne adovada (red chile-marinated pork), burritos, huevos rancheros, posole (hominy-based stew), and chiles rellenos (green chiles stuffed with cheese then deep fried).
Known as "the Margarita Capital of the World," Santa Fe takes this libation seriously. If you're not used to the altitude, residents suggest sticking with just one margarita until you see how it affects you. The altitude tends to amplify the effects of alcohol.
Originally from California, Monique received her Masters Degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. She found her way to New Mexico in 1988 and never left. As a tour guide for over 20 years, Monique enjoys introducing travelers to her adopted home. Many guests refer to her as a walking encyclopedia, but much more entertaining!
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Moderate hiking, 2-5 hours per day with elevation gain up to 950′
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
By: Katya d'Angelo
No exploration of a new destination is complete without interacting with and learning about the culture. Culture affects the landscape and vice versa. For us, a well-rounded, fulfilling journey means…
Read This Article
- or -
See Related Articles
Downtown Burlington is a short distance from the airport, and the historic center can easily be managed on foot. Home to the University of Vermont and Champlain College, Burlington has…
New York: Adirondack Mountains EscapeBeloved for centuries by avid Northeastern hikers looking to delve into a vast and rustic wilderness, the Adirondack Mountains are a patchwork of primitive forests, preserved…
Our dedicated team of travel experts are here to help.
Top 5 World's Best Tour OperatorsMulti-year Recipient
50 Tours Of A LifetimeMulti-year Recipient
Best Adventure Travel Company Winner