High Road to Taos Scenic Byway, Sangre de Christo Mountains, New Mexico
Concierge.com's insider take:
Informally known as the High Road, this beautiful drive is 67 miles of interconnecting two-lane roads running along the crest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos, passing through villages first colonized by the Spanish in the 17th century. One of these, Chimayó, is home to the church of El Santuario de Chimayó, pictured, where pilgrims scoop up the sacred earth in the hope of curing disease. (You might also stop for the stellar New Mexican food at the Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó). Another picturesque village is Truchas, where Robert Redford filmed his 1988 movie The Milagro Beanfield War. Allow three hours for the drive, if not longer, so you can take in the views of the desert valley far below. And drive safely: The roads are serpentine, and you'll see plenty of descansos, beautiful but sad roadside crosses that mark the sites where other motorists have met a bad end.
If you're looking for a quick route between Santa Fe and Taos, use US-285 and US-84, which take about half the time, and pass through the town of Espanola, famous for its low-rider cars.