FATMAP by Strava

Taos Vortex

If you're looking for a beat down without even leaving the foothills of Taos, look no further than the so-called Taos Vortex route.

Trail Running Difficult

24 km
678 m
678 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
2.5 km
Taos Vortex Map

If you're looking for a beat down without even leaving the foothills of Taos, look no further than the so-called Taos Vortex route.


The Vortex radiates from the ever-popular El Nogal Trailhead. This route is essentially a double-loop from this trailhead, with the singletrack swirling and eddying around this hotspot of fantastic, yet challenging singletrack.

The first loop on the route departs the trailhead via the paved road and loops around the backside of Devisadero Peak. It ascends the peak from the north via the Hot Shots trail. Hot Shots is a grueling climb that seems to shoot straight up from the alley floor, gaining about 850 vertical feet in just 2 miles. A few sections are entertaining, but the main goal is simply to reach the peak. Note that trail markings are largely non-existent on this trail, so watch for a couple of cairns, and be sure to download this map for offline use.

Once at the junction with North Boundary and the Devisadero Peak Loop, it's time to have some fun! The trail continues to climb to reach said peak, and then it's time to open the legs up on some downhill running!

Devisadero Peak Loop is a technical test piece of a trail. While the segment mapped here is definitely runnable downhill, the rocks will test your footwork. There are some respectable ledge drops, brutal rock gardens, slab rolls, loose rocks, and plenty of sharp switchbacked corners.

Once back at the center of the vortex, fuel up at your car and head out to tackle the Talpa Traverse Trail. To get there, you'll have to climb up Nogal to Ojitos, then watch this map carefully for the unmarked turn onto the Traverse Trail. The trail is well-traveled—better traveled than Hot Shots—but trail markings are largely an afterthought here in Taos.

This final stretch of singletrack can feel punishing after all the work you've already done, but in actuality, it's a rolling, mellow singletrack that bobs and weaves through the pinon pines. If you were fresh, it wouldn't be quite so bad, but after a beat down from going up Hot Shots, the never-ending climbs and descents along the traverse trail could very well push you over the edge.

After several miles of this, you'll drop down to a paved road, and follow the route back to the trailhead on pavement.

Congratulations—you've conquered the Taos Vortex!



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between April and November

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area