Don't let the fact that it passes through unpromising Española put you off. This is a spectacular route that follows the Rio Grande Gorge, between towering walls of granite, sculpted volcanic tuff and black basalt. The river tumbles by, carrying white-water rafts downstream, while numerous waterfront pull-offs and picnic spots invite drivers to get out and admire the views.
Ultimately, the Low Road climbs steeply out of the gorge to emerge onto Taos Plateau. The first vista is truly awesome, with both the Sangre de Cristo Mountains straight ahead, and the awesome river canyon on your left, coming suddenly and simultaneously into view.