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Enchanted Circle, New Mexico


The "enchanted circle" is an area of northeast New Mexico where the mountains provide exception scenery.  Snow skiing is a major winter sport;  summers are filled with other mountain activities, plus fishing, hiking, and camping.  We have visited this area many times.  Several things you should keep in mind when visiting this area:

  • The key word is "manana," meaning "tomorrow."  No one gets in a hurry.

  • It is illegal to use a cell phone in New Mexico without using a hands-free unit.

  • In some states, you are required to move to the shoulder if you are going less than the speed limit on a 2-lane road and someone is behind you.  In New Mexico, this is illegal.  Their shoulders are very narrow.

  • Most locals drive about 20 mph over the speed limit, and apparently don't know what "no passing" zones are.  They will ride your bumper so close you can't see their grill.  On one day of our trip, we were passed 3 different times in "no passing" zones -- and we were driving the speed limit.

  • Perhaps the reason they drive so much over the speed limit is the speed limits appear to be ridiculously low.  Also, you can go down a steep mountain that has a 65 mph speed limit and find a 35 mph sign at the bottom.  Tell that to your brakes.  I heard "locals" complain about how badly Texans drive, but every car that passed us in a "no passing" zone had New Mexico plates.

  • No one uses turn signals.  I don't know why.

  • Don't let your tank get low ... you may drive hundreds of miles before you find another gas station or restaurant.

  • Bring a MasterCard or VISA -- very few places accept American Express.

  • Much of the area is not handicapped-friendly.  The buildings were built for skiers.  Many have at least a few steps.  Some are upstairs, with no elevator.

  • Gas was not as high as we thought it would be.  Red River was high, but Angel Fire and Eagle Nest were rather reasonable.  The Allsup's in Taos was lower, as was Valero.  The highest gas was at a truck-stop at I-70 and 58 as we left to go into the mountains.  We figured it was our last chance at a decent gas price, but it was the most we paid on the entire trip.

  • New Mexico has a stringent no-smoking law.

The scenery is amazing, and even more so from a hot-air balloon, a narrow gauge historic railroad, or an ATV tour of the Carson National Forest.


Most things are cheaper in the city of Taos, followed by Angel Fire and Eagle Nest.  Red River tends to be the most expensive.  Taos is not in the mountains, but by them.  It is generally warmer there.


In Angel Fire and Eagle Nest, stores treat you like they're glad to see you.  In Red River, they tolerate you.  In Taos, they wonder why you're there.


We've divided the area into the three major areas, plus driving tips.  Additionally, there are links to the other pages.






(Some may have been taken while moving, so please pardon them being a little blurry.)

Click on thumbnails to view full-size picture.


Falling what?

Red River, entering Bobcat Pass

Taking care of Texans

Eagle Nest

"Welcome to the Cemetery"

Red River








The formation in the center is "Devil's Mailbox"

How high is it?  This was taken up through the sun roof




Angel Fire

Angel Fire Excursions

Angel Fire Lift Ride

Driving in New Mexico

Hot-air Balloon

Red River


Scenic Railroad

Vietnam Memorial


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