The mountains are a sub chain outcropping of the Rocky Mountains.
The Rocky Mountains were first home to Paleo-Indians and then to indigenous peoples, including the Apache, Arapaho, Bannock, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Dunneza, Flathead, Kutenai, Sekani, Shoshoni, Sioux, Ute and others.
Taos Mountain, which is included in this chain, is known locally as Pueblo Peak. It is 12,305' high. Sometimes it is called Mó-ha-loh or Má-ha-lu by the inhabitants of Taos Pueblo.
Spanish residents refer to it as La Sierra de los Indios, and tourists tend to call it Skull Mountain, for the curious skull shape seen on its southeastern slope after a good snow fall.
Local belief and lore attributes power to the Mountain. Many people who have come to settle in Taos and have had successful businesses or relationships here claim that it happened because the Mountain allowed it.
Conversely, whenever something goes array it is because the Mountain rejects me. Some even attribute The Taos Hum, a mysterious and to most people unknown, phenomenon to the electromagnetic vibrations emanating from the mountain. There is even a famous luxury hotel in town named El Monte Sagrado after the Sacred Mountain.
The idea of Taos Mountain as a sacred site was popularized by Mabel Dodge Luhan, tutelary goddess to and financial supporter of many literary and artistic luminaries from the 1920s through the 1950s.
It was said that she learned to appreciate the power of the Mountain from her consort Tony Luján of Taos Pueblo.
However, her divorce papers from Maurice Sterne were filed in the Taos County Clerk's Office and Mabel and Tony's marriage license was issued in Taos by his life long friend Enrico Gonzales. The couple were married in 1923.
Despite Mabel's vast publicity about Taos Mountain's sacredness and spirituality, tourists today are no longer allowed to scale it. In 1970 it was included as part of the Blue Lake settlement between President Richard Nixon's administration and the people of Taos Pueblo.
The mountain slopes leading up to Blue Lake have traditionally been held to be the place of the ancestral dead. That makes the Mountain holy.
These Faceless Ones appear wrapped in blankets and stand against trees there.
They watch over the yearly treks that many Pueblo residents make through the Mountain on their way to Blue Lake. Taos Mountain was witness to the Encebado Canyon Fire that took place on the 4th of July, 2003.
The fire was caused by lightning and grew into a 5,400 acre forest fire. For 11 days the fire spread East into the mountains and the Rio Pueblo watershed by many accounts in The Taos News.
When many people think of the personification of Sacredness on Earth, immediately Taos Mountain jumps to the fore.
It is visual reminder, in a concept that is both Native and Franciscan, that the splendor of God is manifested in His most glorious natural creations.