The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

August 29, 2022 

42 deg at 6:00, high 79

Listed as one of the top things to do in Taos is to drive The Enchanted Circle. It is a 2.5 hour drive if you don’t stop, or an all-day trip if you take your time and enjoy the sites, which is what we did. 

Heading east, we crossed into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and down into beautiful Moreno Valley, stopping at Eagle’s Nest State Park along Eagle’s Nest Lake, fed by the Cimarron River. At 8,200’ it is an alpine lake that is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, Kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and northern pike.

We poked around in the little town of Eagle’s Nest, but it was early. There were some cute, little shops and a coffee place, all of which weren’t open yet. Eye of The Jewelry was open, so we checked it out. A very nice, gregarious lady greeted us and showed us around. They had some interesting things, including a whole wall of cast iron cookware, both new and old. There was an interesting assortment of baskets. Martha bought some soap that looked like mineral rocks.

This is a ski area in winter and a place to escape the heat in summer. We continued north through this beautiful valley on 38, but had we continued east on 64 across the Sangre De Cristo mountains, it would have also been beautiful. This follows an alternate of the Santa Fe Trail. 

We arrived at Red River and walked both sides of the street. Once a gold and silver boom town, its income is now derived from tourists, with skiing and cool summer weather. 

Next stop on the tour, now heading back west, was Questa. We expected a town similar to Red Rock, but it was much smaller. Googling a good place to have lunch, Wildcat’s Den came up. It’s a small diner where four highway crew workers were waiting for their orders. A cute, young girl took our orders. The Bobcat Burger seemed to be the highlighted choice. I was disappointed to hear it was a hamburger. With fries and a soda, it was $6.95.

We wondered about our choice as more locals came in, many placing take-out orders. For a while there was only one guy cooking and the girl taking orders and calling names when it was ready. Fortunately, another cook came in as the line got a bit longer. It was probably 15-20 minutes before our order was ready. It was good, and it was great people watching – a happening for sure.

We turned south on 522, crossing the Red River. About 20 miles later, we turned northeast to Arroyo Seco. The little mountain town is only about a block square, but it is very cute, with nice, little shops and a great ice cream place with chairs and tables out back by a small stream. A big storm loomed in the background as we enjoyed our ice cream. We got rained out before we had a chance to really explore. Maybe we’ll come back tomorrow. 

  2 comments for “The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

  1. Karen
    September 27, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Ice cream without the kids – they will be upset!

  2. September 28, 2022 at 5:38 am

    😀 Miss you guys! It was good ice cream too!

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