If you want to explore at all beyond the town centers, you will have to do it by car—but driving New Mexico’s scenic byways is definitely one of the pleasures of traveling here. Parking can be somewhat limited in Santa Fe, and you can get around the center of town very easily on foot, so you may want to rent a car only for the days you plan to go out of the city. In Taos, though, only the very dedicated can get around by bus, and in Albuquerque, a car can give you a great deal more flexibility in your day. All of the major car-rental chains are at Albuquerque’s airport, in a single building; see the respective city chapters for other rental companies and offices.
All but a few roads we've described are passable year-round and don’t require four-wheel-drive, but be prepared in winter for ice and snow anywhere other than central Albuquerque. Plan on an hour’s drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe via I-25, and an hour and a half from Santa Fe to Taos via the low road.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition