The best lodging bargain in the Taos area is The Abominable Snowmansion (Hwy. 150 in Arroyo Seco , 575/776-8298, $22 pp, www.abominablesnowmansion.com ). Conveniently set midway to the Taos Ski Valley , in bustling “downtown” Arroyo Seco, this is a cheerful HI hostel offering bunks in dorm rooms or, in the summertime, tepees. As the name suggests, winter sports fanatics are the main clientele; if you don’t want to be woken at the break of dawn by skiers racing for the Chile Line bus outside, opt for an individual cabin with shared bath, or a private room with en suite bathroom (the latter runs $54 in high ski season). There’s also room to camp in the summer, and breakfast is included in the price.
Tucked away in Arroyo Hondo , Mountain Light B&B is not only a great bargain (off Hwy. 522, 575/776-8474, www.mtnlight.com , $55 s, $85 d), but it’s also a wonderful place to feel like a real resident of the area. The owner, a photographer, is particularly encouraging to fellow artists (who can rent an Airstream trailer for longer retreats). Her beautiful tower-shaped house has two guest rooms, which share a bath; they’re cozy and simple, decorated with quilts and tucked in the natural curves of the house. You can eat breakfast out on the deck, with a stupendous view over Valle Valdez —one that hasn’t changed much in decades.
Out near Arroyo Hondo , the house-proud owner of Little Tree B&B (226 Hondo–Seco Rd., 575/776-8467, www.littletreebandb.com , $155 d) is a history buff—his expertise is a perk that comes with a stay at this snug inn with four rooms. The house and its small outbuilding are rare examples of old-school adobe (no stucco finish) without the stamp of history; a Taos Pueblo  expert built them in 1990 using a range of mud finishes and decorative techniques. The feeling is rustic, authentic, but also very comfortable. One room has a private hot tub, and three have wood-burning fireplaces or stoves; the one room without is priced at $125.