Elevation changes from 6,848 ft. to 9,823 ft.
Though you can begin your cycle trip from anywhere on the Enchanted Circle we’ll begin this itinerary in Red River, the starting point of the Enchanted Circle Century Tour each September. This annual event draws close to 1,000 cyclists and goes from Red River to Questa, Taos, Angel Fire, out to Black Lake and back, then through Eagle Nest, up Bobcat Pass and back to Red River. The Century Tour is a full 100 miles, but if you choose to stay on the actual Enchanted Circle and omit the trip to Black Lake you can expect a beautiful 83-mile tour.
Red River is an old mining town that boomed nearly a century ago when gold was discovered in surrounding mountains. Today it is home to two ski areas and known for relaxation and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. From your start in Red River proceed sharply downhill 13 miles, passing several national Forest campgrounds and a large molybdenum mine operation on your way to Questa.
To stay on the Enchanted Circle you will make a left turn at the traffic signal in Questa, but for a scenic side trip you can turn right and travel 3 miles on Hwy. 522 to BLM’s “Wild and Scenic Rivers Recreation Area.” Back on the Enchanted Circle you will continue south approximately 22 miles towards Taos where you will climb up and over Garrapata Ridge. You will see the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range change from forest conditions to a semi-arid environment. After you travel over Arroyo Hondo Hill you will proceed along fairly flat mesa country for several miles. The first stoplight is the northern boundary of El Prado. Continue straight through this light and proceed towards Taos to stay on the Enchanted Circle, or make a left on Hwy. 150/Ski Valley Road for a 15-mile side trip up through Arroyo Seco to the world-renowned Taos Ski Valley.
Back on Hwy 64 head south into Taos where you will pass a second stoplight where the highway turns into Paseo del Pueblo Sur. The community of Taos is home to the Taos Pueblo, a World Heritage Site, and many of the nation's finest artists. Continuing straight ahead, the road takes a fairly sharp turn to the right. Watch for Kit Carson Park on your left and prepare to turn left on Kit Carson Road (Hwy 64), directly across from the historic Taos Plaza.
Continue on Hwy 64 east back into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. You will have a steady climb inside the Taos Canyon for approximately 15 miles to the top of Palo Flechado Pass, elevation 9,100 feet. This road is narrow and traditionally has a lot of automobile traffic. It is smart to ride single file and allow vehicles to pass. We have included additional information about Palo Flechaldo below.
Leaving Palo Flechado, you will descend into the Angel Fire/Moreno Valley area. At the bottom of the series of switchbacks from Palo Flechado you will have the opportunity to turn right on Highway 434 to visit the mountain community of Angel Fire. There are plenty of shops and restaurants, along with numerous year-round activities for visitors.
After returning to Hwy 64 from Angel Fire proceed ten miles through the Moreno Valley to Eagle Nest, a charming community lined with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. Along the way you will see Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico, on your left and Eagle Nest Lake and the new State Park Visitor Center on your right. To stay on the Enchanted Circle turn left at the junction of Hwy 64 and Hwy 38. At this point you will be heading away from Eagle Nest Lake. For another side trip you can continue on Hwy. 64 trough the Cimarron Canyon into the Villages of Ute Lake and Cimarron.
Back on the Circle, you will start to experience a 14-mile steady climb beginning at Highway 38 in Eagle Nest on your way up to Bobcat Pass (9,820 feet). Along the way you will pass the entrance to the historic gold mining community of Elizabethtown at mile marker 24. Once you reach the top of Bobcat Pass you have an easy 3-mile coast past the Enchanted Forest Cross-Country Ski Area back to Red River. Congratulations!
PALO FLECHADO WARNING
Riders, BE AWARE when descending Palo Flechado. In the past, this treacherous pass has been the site of several accidents and injuries. ALL were caused by cyclists going too fast. The road is rough, narrow, has gravel on the shoulder, steep, and has hairpin turns that can be dangerous if you are going too fast. New Mexico motorists are not accustomed to sharing this particular piece of road with bicyclists. Absolutely DO NOT swing out into the other lane. Pull over frequently and let the motorists pass.
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