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Enchanted Circle Loop

Enchanted Circle Loop

#10 on our Great Rides list

Taos

In a far northern corner of New Mexico at the southern end of the Rockies in a Range known as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you will find an epic cycling route that circles the states’ tallest mountain, 13,167 foot Wheeler peak.

Location

Taos to Red River, New Mexico, USA

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Distance

85 miles / 137.4km

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Elevation Gain

5,902ft / 1,799m

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Best Time to Visit

Spring, Summer, Fall

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Surface

Paved Road

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Difficulty

Level 4

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Traffic

Level 2

Discover this ride on our New Mexico bike tour

Visit Santa Fe and the Pueblos of the Southwest

The Enchanted Circle begins and ends in Taos’s historic village and home to the 1000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Taos Pueblo.

The Enchanted Circle begins and ends in Taos’s historic village and home to the 1000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Taos Pueblo. The challenging loop is 85 miles and requires just under 6000 ft. of climbing over two passes: Palo Flechado Pass (9112 ft.) and Bobcat Pass (9820 ft.) On this ride, you will experience many landscapes, including the sage-covered desert plateau of the Rio Grande Rift Valley, Pine and Aspen lined valleys, and views of the highest snow-capped peaks in the state. Plan on making a stop at the powerful Viet Nam Memorial outside of Angel Fire, spotting birds of prey along Eagles Nest Lake, and grabbing a quick lunch in the little ski town of Red River. While the summiting of Bobcat pass marks the highest elevation of the trip and the end of the second pass, don’t be fooled! Following 18 miles of descending, just beyond the town of Questa, over the next 12 miles, you will encounter a set of short but steep climbs that often are subject to swift headwinds, heat, or both. As you crest the Taos Plateau near Arroyo Hondo, you will gaze upon the 800 ft. deep Rio Grande Gorge, and in just 10 more miles down a false flat descent, you will arrive back in the Taos. An epic day should be rewarded by an epic meal at one of Taos’s top-notch eateries.

What you need to know

RIDE DETAILS
Featuring 5900 ft of climbing, this ride is not for the faint of heart. It is an incredibly beautiful challenge that is worth every pedal stroke. The average grade is 3.5% but you will see gradients much higher and a max grade of 11%.

WEATHER
Plan to bring layers in line with the time of year. All seasons can see a range of wet and dry hot and cold at these elevations and it is a long road if you forget your jacket and knee warmers.

FUEL
While this is an Epic ride you will find a few places conveniently located to restock on water, snacks and even lunch in Eagles Nest, Red River, Questa and Arroyo Hondo. Be prepared to pedal for 32 miles and one mountain pass before your first snack and water stop. Good lunch options can be found in Red River at 49 miles.

While you’re in town

Fly to Albuquerque, NM and rent a car to drive 2.5 hours to the beautful town of Taos where there are a plethora of outdoor actvities to keep you busy. Raft the Rio Grande or fly-fish with a local outfitter, Hot air balloon over the gorge bridge, hike the many Sangre de Cristo Trails including to the summit of Wheeler peak. Visit galleries and shops in taos. Check out the Milicent Rogers museum or book at tour of the Earth Ships.

There are many hotels and B&B’s in the area but El Monte Sagrado is by far the most luxurious and contemporary. It has an amazing pool and grounds. Casa Benavides is a great B&B with the best breakfast in town and run by long time locals the Benavides Family.

Stroll down to the Taos Plaza and surrounding downtown area to find a range of great restaurants from local brew pubs to fine dining. For your last minute bike needs, check out Gearing Up Cycling and Taos Cycling in Taos or New Mexico Bike and Sport or Melo Velo in Santa Fe.

Ready to for this ride?

Book early and save. We reward our guests with lower pricing and more dates to choose from the earlier you book. Rest assured, once you book, your price is guaranteed.

Private

If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.

Luxury:

Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.

Explorer:

These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.

Combined:

On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.

Self-Guided

Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself