When to Go
With 300 days of sunshine annually, New Mexico doesn’t have a bad time to visit. High season is mid-May to mid-September.
Starting in July, the day’s heat is squelched with a strong, brief rainstorm in the afternoon, and nights are still cool.
Summer is the only time to hike at higher elevations, as many trails are still snow-covered as late as May. If you want to go rafting, plan on late May and early June, when the snowmelt makes the rivers run high and wild.
Winter sees a surge of visitors heading straight to the ski trails, but the towns stay uncrowded, and traditional celebrations preceding Christmas are wonderful; many sights are closed or have limited hours, however.
The shoulder seasons have their own appeal and can be cheaper, particularly in April, when ski season has wound down, and in November, when it hasn’t gotten started. But note that Taos Pueblo is closed to visitors for about 10 weeks between February and April; the precise dates change every year.
Spring weather can also be extreme, varying from snowfall to ceaseless, hot winds—and lots of mud.
In the fall, the crowds disperse, leaving crisp temperatures and generally clear skies through late October. In the mountains, the aspen leaves turn a brilliant yellow, accessible by the many beautiful hiking trails.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition