If you don’t go hiking, mountain biking, or skiing in Taos , you’re missing a lot of the town’s appeal—the wild setting presses in all around, and Taos Mountain looms behind every town view.
Downhill skiing is the main draw in the winter, just a 45-minute drive from central Taos, but you can also try more solitary snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
In summer, peak baggers will want to strike out for Wheeler Peak, the state’s highest, while rafters, rock climbers, and mountain bikers can head the other direction to the dramatic basalt cliffs of the Rio Grande Gorge , where river runners defy death in the churning rapids of the legendary Taos Box  (late May and early June is the best season for this).
Stop in at the Carson National Forest Supervisor’s Office (208 Cruz Alta Rd., 575/758-6200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/carson , 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) for advice, booklets on recommended trails, and maps.
Just down the street, the Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office (226 Cruz Alta Rd., 575/758-8851, www.nm.blm.gov , 7:45 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) can help you prepare for a rafting or longer camping trip, with plenty of maps and brochures.
A complete list of tour operators can be found online at Taos Outdoor Recreation (www.taosoutdoorrecreation.com ).
Sudden thunderstorms are common in the summer, as are flash floods and even freak blizzards. Well into May, snow can blanket some of the higher passes, so wherever you go, always carry more warm clothing than you think you’ll need, and don’t skimp on the sunscreen, even when it’s below freezing.