Big River Raft Trips owner Billy Miller, who has more than 10,000 river miles logged on his personal odometer, leads a team of expert guides that steers full- and half-day rafting trips along the Rio Grande. Big River Raft Trips categorizes each tour by its difficulty, delivering aquatic thrills to paddlers of all skill levels through placid, sightseeing rides for beginners as well as heart-racing treks through Class IV+ rapids for experts and human-dinghy hybrids. All rafting equipment is included for all trip.
The trained and certified naturalists at Wild Earth Llama Adventures guide adventurers of all ages and fitness levels across southern Rocky Mountain terrains with a team of amiable, sure-hooved llamas hauling their gear. Groups of 8–12 tour-goers and their noble beasts journey throughout the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge, soaking in breathtaking vistas of peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests.
A premier resort with 113 trails and a peak elevation of 12,481 feet, Taos Ski Valley was conceived at an even higher elevation: in the sky above the New Mexico peaks. While flying his Cessna 170 from Santa Fe Ski Basin to a Southern Colorado resort where he worked, Ernie Blake would scour the peaks for an area that could suit his dream of opening his own ski resort. He eventually found the right spot?a snow basin so perfectly formed that he at first thought it was an "optical illusion," he reported in Ski Pioneers?and, in 1955, he and his family began grooming the terrain that would eventually become a world-class resort.
With a base elevation of 9,207 feet, the resort makes it difficult for storm systems to pass by without dumping some fresh powder. The mountain records an annual snowfall of 305 inches without sacrificing consistently navigable conditions; the sun shines on the slopes more than 300 days each year. The slopes present skiable terrain for all levels, though they skew towards more experienced skiers, comprising 50% expert-level terrain and 50% suitable for beginners and intermediates.
In the summer, the melting snow gives way to a new landscape for outdoor recreation. The same slopes host heart-stopping mountain bike races, serviced by the lifts, as well as a disc-golf course. Scenic chairlift rides take guests gliding to the top of the mountain, where they can enjoy views of Wheeler Peak, West Basin Ridge, and the colorful blotches of wildflowers. Picnic tables await at the summit, providing a venue for alfresco dining or practicing Bigfoot calls.
The two tasting rooms of Vivac Winery are solely dedicated to presenting menus for sipping. At the adobe-style tasting room in Dixon, glasses clink on the sunny patio, where visitors swirl pours from the extensive menu of wines. Behind the bar, the staff leads groups through tasting "tours," which group specific varietals together, or pour samples of a la carte tastes. Alternatively, guests can sip away at a second tasting room inside the Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion, where glasses perch on a sleek stainless-steel bar. Bottles available for purchase at both sites include the dry, earthy Tempranillo or the light, slightly sweet Riesling.
Touting a special permit for access to the Carson National Forest, licensed fishing guide Jeff Fagan spearheads private half- or full-day fishing trips for novice or experienced anglers. Fagan unveils fertile ice-fishing holes and fly-fishing spots where license-toting guests can seize fish with included rods, tackle, waders, and well-forged arrest warrants from Poseidon.
With four museums and six monuments, the nonprofit Museum of New Mexico Foundation keeps the state's artistic and cultural heritage alive with enthralling permanent collections, exhibits, and events. Art aficionados can marvel at more than 20,000 works by artists with strong ties to the state in the New Mexico Museum of Art, check out more than 1,300 artifacts in the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and attempt to tape their “lost cat” flyers to more than 100,000 items culled from 100 countries at the Museum of International Folk Art. Meanwhile, the New Mexico History Museum’s 30,000-square-foot exhibition space covers topics ranging from the Santa Fe Trail to World War II through art, maps, and photographs.
After each museum visit, guests can stop by the Coronado State Monument, which marks the spot where Coronado and his crew entered the Rio Grande Valley in search of the Seven Cities of Gold and their lost car keys. The foundation's sextet of monuments also includes the stone ruins of a 500-year-old Indian village at Jemez and exhibits on frontier and military life at Fort Selden.