Mount Taylor is the tallest mountain in Northwest New Mexico at 11,301 feet above sea level. It's a former stratovolcano, active perhaps 2-4 million years ago. The caldera is now a lush region called Water Canyon. Lava rock of various kinds dominate the geology of the mountain, which sits on a basalt capped platform of mesas (Horace Mesa, La Jara Mesa are visible from Grants).

The mountain is easily accessed from Grants via NM 547, which begins as Lobo Canyon Road in Grants. The pavement ends at the top of La Jara Mesa, but from there a network of forest roads wanders all over the mountain. For those with cars, it's best to stick to FR239 and the upper portion of FR193. FR239 will take travelers along the west slopes of the mountain and then down to the village of San Mateo where they can rejoin paved roads. FR193 provides access to the Gooseberry Springs trailhead. The Gooseberry Springs trail leads all the way to the summit of the mountain, and also provides big views once it breaks out of the forest. This hike is 6 miles roundtrip and is quite strenuous due to the elevation gain.

Two Forest Service campgrounds exist on the mountain; both are off the Lobo Canyon road. Coal Mine Campground is fully developed with picnic tables and restrooms, but no hookups. Lobo Canyon Campground is more primitive, and located off the lower section of FR193.

For the adventurous, FR453 past La Mosca gets you almost to the top; from the saddle it's one very hard mile to the summit. FR451 provides access to the lovely Spud Patch meadow, rimmed with volcanic hoodoos. FR453 also takes jeepers past Cerro Pelon, a bald hill with an elevation over 10,000 feet. Climb to the top for some views that extend all the way to Colorado on a clear day.

Fall color on Mount Taylor is fabulous. Plan on being in the area in late September - early October for the best show. Stands of Aspens and Gambel Oak put on a great color show. FR193, FR453, and FR451 provide access to some of these groves.