It was good that I started early, and that it was an off-season weekday. The highway from Coyote Creek to Angel Fire was very narrow, shoulderless and twisty. I don't know what I would have done if I'd encountered someone coming the other way, since driving into a tree or off a cliff would not have been acceptable. To me. It was pretty, though. And this is what it looks like at the 8,200' summit, once you break out of the canyon and there's a place to pull over:
Wheeler and/or Pueblo Peak(s), I think
Angel Fire is a ski and golf resort town. Today it was too warm for one, too cold and windy for the other. Not my kind of place anyway.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park, north of Angel Fire, is just a reservoir, a boat ramp, and parking spots for boat haulers and RVs surrounded by grassland. Like so many lakes in the drought-plagued west, the water level was way down, despite the spring thaw. But if you want to boat and fish, it's there for you.
Eagle Nest Lake
Turn east at Eagle Nest and you enter Cimarron Canyon. It's very dramatic. It will be even more appealing when the trees leaf out. (See, I'm here too early.) There are two disadvantages for my style of camping, though. The tightness of the canyon and the canopy of trees severely limit solar access. And there's no cell signal. I think I could adapt for a short stay.
As for Taos? It didn't really do anything for me. Maybe if it had been the '80s. However, the drive over the pass was pretty. Conversely, the drive from Taos to Santa Fe wasn't enjoyable at all. Are we there yet?
This all sounds negative, right? But it's part of the grand exploration. I had to go see for myself, knowing beforehand that some places won't appeal to me.