The Magnificent Colors of Taos

It was another road trip. From the artistic Santa Fe to a very unique Taos Pueblo. Walking through the village feels as if you have stepped into another time. The most surprising quality is the colors. Asides of the colorful doors, Taos Pueblo adobe houses are all in the intense desert tones. The houses literally become part of the landscape.

I found out that the sunshine in New Mexico could do almost anything with one: make one well if one felt ill, or change a dark mood and lighten it. It entered into one’s deepest places and melted the thick, slow densities. It made one feel good. That is, alive.

Mabel Dodge Luhan
Cow skull found in the Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo. Photo by Tijana.

Teal door - Taos Pueblo
These desert colors are beyond amazing. This is a straight shot. Love the red peppers! Photo by Tijana.

This was the creed of the American modernists who clustered in Taos in the early decades of the last century: Taos would be a fount of a new Americanism in art, an ever-flowing alternative to Europe. But Taos also had its appeal for Europeans. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung and Leopold Stokowski were only a few of the European artists and thinkers who found their way there. The reason they went was because of one pioneering American woman – Mabel Dodge Luhan — heiress, art patroness, and columnist. Read more.

Sleeping dog by desert pueblos
Love the sleeping dog by the door. Photo by Tijana.

Teal against clay - Taos Pueblo
Colors, colors. Photo by Tijana.

A Desert Treasure

There are only a few small artisan shops and cafés at the Pueblo. I found that the best part is to stroll and absorb the architecture and nature encompassing it. Everything that you see belongs there. I was very curious how inside of the residential house would look like. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to check it out. Pueblo is still inhabited – there is no electricity or running water, and no plumbing, by the tribal decree.

Desert white cross entrance - Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo. Photo by Tijana.

Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about 1 mile north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico. The pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.

Square of Taos Pueblo
At the square. Photo by Tijana.

Rustic desert pueblo house
Rustic desert vibes. Photo by Tijana.

Theres’s something about the first glimpse of the Taos Mesa as you travel north from Santa Fe, up the narrow canyon of the Rio Grande past Embudo. A series of long, sweeping bends brings you over a brow, and suddenly the view ahead opens out onto empty, bare land, with a smoky gorge cut into it like the Great Rift Valley of Africa.

Taos Pueblo
Pueblo blends with nature so beautifully. Photo by Tijana.

Desert mountain scenery around Taos. New Mexico.
Sometimes nature is a piece of art. This is again the straight shot (as the rest of the images above). Sangre de Cristo Mountains are considered holy by the Native Americans.
Photo by Tijana.

Taos Pueblo is the longest permanent settlement in North America. It is both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Insider Tips for Taos

Mabel Dodge Luhan

Don’t miss seeing Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house and reading about this fascinating woman. She was a famous art patroness and adventurer extraordinaire. Drawn to Taos Pueblo, she settled after her whirlwind world travels full of art patronages and began a literary colony. Within weeks she met, fell in love and eventually married Antonio Luhan, a Taos Pueblo Indian.

Mabel welcomed Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, dance choreographer Martha Graham, writers Aldous Huxley, Mary Austin, and D. H. Lawrence among many other artists and prominent contemporaries.

Where is It?


  • Heddy

    Really great photos and a place which comes to life through them.
    Good job, Tijana,

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you so much dear Heddy. It is such a unique place with those magnificent colors. And I loved so much the history of Mabel Dodge Luhan. You truly relax there. I loved the Santa Fe which nearby and is also so amazing. It is full of art and nature is truly spectacular in new Mexico. Many hugs!

  • Andrej

    Lovely sandy shades indeed. Kind of like a Western Capadoccia! I find those tones very fitting for human habitats. For instance, that light, peachy hue of red earth always reminds me of Rome, for some reason.

    Also, I wasn’t aware of Mabel Dodge Luhan before, so that’s another nice discovery. Thank you!

    • zestandcuriosity (author)

      Thank you for your kind words Andrej, and I am so happy that you enjoyed discovering Mabel. She was such a revelation for me. And what a fascinating life she led. Those colors of Taos really struck a chord in me. It was almost unreal. Like someone colored a world around me. Very interesting comparison with Capadoccia – and true, they resembled human habitats in sync with nature. It is interesting how earth tones remind you of Rome.

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