Situated among the Sangre de Creste Mountains, the town of Taos is one of New Mexico's most popular ski resorts. The town is located in the northern part of the state, only a short drive from the border with Colorado. Taos is the county seat of Taos County and covers an area of approximately 5.4 square miles. The town has an estimated population of around 5,700 people but attracts many more each year, especially during the winter.
Taos is named after the nearby location of Taos Pueblo, which has been occupied by Native American peoples for hundreds of years. The town was established in the late 18th century by Spanish settlers, who initially called it Don Fernando de Taos. It's one of the oldest European settlements in the area and was originally built as a fortress, with a plaza and several small buildings protected by defensive walls.
Nearby trappers and mountain men moved to the family, along with many Spanish immigrant families. The town prospered and grew, and many artists were drawn to the region in the early 20th century as well, with much of their work still visible today. As the years passed by, Taos also became known as a key skiing and recreational destination, offering all sorts of outdoor activities like llama trekking and no less than four nearby ski resorts to go along with its unique architecture and historical sites.
Elevation of Taos
Elevation is an important geographical statistic that can have a lot of importance for towns and cities around the world. The elevation of a location influences its weather conditions and can be an important factor when laying out a town and constructing new buildings. The elevation of Taos is 6,969 feet (2,124 m). The city's high elevation can be attributed to its inland location and surrounding landscapes, which include the aforementioned Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Residents and visitors to New Mexico are used to being at high elevations as the state is one of the highest in America. In terms of mean elevation, New Mexico is at 5,700 feet (1,740 m) above sea level, which makes it the fourth highest state behind Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. The elevation of Taos is therefore over 1,000 feet higher than the state average. The highest point in the state of New Mexico is Wheeler Peak, which has an elevation of 13,167 feet (4,013 m). Wheeler Peak is actually very close to Taos, being located in Taos County, and is a popular spot for climbers, hikers, and mountaineers. The lowest point in New Mexico is the Red Bluff Reservoir near the Texas border, which has an elevation of 2,844 feet (867 m).
Taos' elevation is very high, but the highest elevation town in the entire state is actually Taos Ski Valley, a small village located very close to Taos at an elevation of 9,321 feet (2,841). Some of the homes and buildings in this area are actually located at elevations of 10,000 feet (3,048 m) or higher. The state capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe, has an elevation of 7,199 feet (2,194 m), and some of the other major cities around the state include Albuquerque, which has an elevation of 5312 feet (1619 m) and Las Cruces, which has an elevation of 3,900 feet (1,200 m).
Climate and Things to Do in Taos
The town of Taos has a semi-arid climate, resulting in warm summers and cold winters, with temperatures changing massively between day and night. For example, the hottest month of the year is July, where temperatures can reach average highs of 86°F (30°C) in the days and drop down to 51°F (11°C) in the evenings. Average daily highs in winter can be around 41°F (5°C) while lows can be around 10°F (-12°C). Taos has light rainfall throughout the year but the primary form of precipitation is snow, with many inches falling from November through to early April.
There are various activities to enjoy in and around Taos, New Mexico. The town is known as a popular ski destination, with four different ski areas nearby: Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Sipapu, and Red River. All of these ski areas offer different runs of varying difficult, with cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, llama trekking, rafting, fishing, and ice fishing also being popular recreational activities around Taos. The town is also home to three different art museums, showing off some of the best work of Taos' resident artists from years gone by.