Highway 64 starts a short distance from the El Vado Lake State Park and heads east through Taos to the town of Raton, near the border with Colorado. You go through Carson National Forest, with golden aspen trees this time of year. Then there is a stretch of desert before Taos, where people are building some interesting underground homes with decorative roofs. After Taos, you head back into the Carson National Forest. There follows the town of Eagle Nest, with Eagle Nest Lake State Park at 8,200 feet elevation. Cimarron Canyon is next, with it’s own state park and wildlife management area. You then drive through a dry grassland area to reach Raton.
This is just a beautiful drive. I took it in 2007 and managed to run out of gas in the Carson Forest. The first and only time (so far) I’ve had this happen, although there have been many close calls. In subsequent years, it has been either too early or too late in the year to travel to northern New Mexico by the time I reached the state. This year I may well stay in north-central New Mexico until it gets to cold.
Above, some healthy looking pronghorns near Raton. There were even some on undeveloped land in the city limits.
Cotton from cottonwood trees seen in Taos and Raton.
I stayed in a BLM campground in the Colorado River Gorge next to Taos one night. Saw the bird above, which I believe is a canyon towhee.
Stayed at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton for a few days. It is on a site that was a company built coal mining town in the first part of the 20th century. There are two reservoirs there that are popular fishing spots. The forest is made up of cottonwood, oak, and ponderosa pine trees.
Above, a black-capped chickadee. Below, while birdwatching came upon two mule deer. Turned around and let them have the trail.
Below, Carson National Forest at the start of the west end of Highway 64. Cattle graze in the cleared grass area.