Found in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the midst of the Carson National Forest in New Mexico, the town of Red River attracts visitors with its cool summer climate and Rocky Mountain views. Red River is open for business in both the winter and summer. In the winter, you and your family can indulge in winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing. During the summer season, enjoy the local rivers and many lakes through rafting, tubing, and fishing. Hike the Goose Lake, Wheeler Peak, or Red River Nature trails; saddle up and go horseback riding in the mountains; or take out fishing gear to catch some trout.
The restaurants in Red River are cozy with American and Southwestern fare. Accordingly, eateries that cater to vegetarians include Old Tymers Cafe, Capo’s Corner, and Mountain Treasures. Pick up dessert at the Dairy Bar, and start the day with a fresh cup of joe at The Way Coffee.
Red River vacation rentals range from rustic cabins nestled in the mountains to houses that feel like a home away from home. Book a stay today. Check out the most picturesque areas in and around Red River.
Questa is a town rich in history and surrounded by beauty. It’s one of the gateways to the Rio Grande del Norte Monument, an area of over 245,000 acres recently declared a national monument. When you go, you’ll find wildlife such as pronghorn, mule deer, elk, bobcats, and coyotes. Since Questa is also part of the Carson National Forest, it offers the same hiking, rafting, fishing, and horseback riding activities as Red River. It also has its own celebrations such as the Alumbra de Questa, the annual Fiesta, and the Mud Bogg. The Mud Bogg is one of those events where trucks with huge tires try to outdo each other in a mud puddle. The kids will love it.
2. Eagle Nest
This charming little village is the home of Eagle Nest Lake State Park. If you and yours love to fish, the lake is full of rainbow trout and a type of salmon called kokanee. You may be able to take your catch back to your vacation rental for dinner. As in Red River, the restaurants are cozy and serve hearty, American, Southwestern or Mexican meals. They include Calamity Jane’s and Kaw-Lijas.
3. Tres Piedras
Also found at the edge of Carson National Forest and named for three prominent outcroppings of granite, Tres Piedras is a great site for bouldering. Come in the autumn to enjoy the crisp air and blazing foliage. Hike the Cruces Basin Wilderness and take a picture of the water tower that used to serve the railroad. At the end of the day, you and the family can chow down on burritos at the Chili Line Depot.
This large town/small city was the home of an artists’ colony and loves to celebrate. If you’re in town the third weekend of July, attend the fiesta for the town’s patron saints and stay for the crowning of the Queen of the Fiesta. Visit the downtown historic district and check out the houses of Governor Bent and Kit Carson. The legend of Governor Bent is delightfully spooky, so let the kids know. The studios and homes of Taos artists such as Leon Gaspard and Mabel Dodge Luhan are open to visitors. If there’s still time, find the works of these artists at Taos art museums.
Found close to the Colorado border, Costilla is about 32 miles north of Red River. Fish, hike and horseback ride along Latir Creek in Rio Costilla Park. Artists also lived and worked in this little town, and tours of their homes and studios are available.
6. Arroyo Seco
Found just outside the Carson National Forest, Arroyo Seco is dominated by Lucero Peak and is known for the D.H. Lawrence story it inspired. It also puts on a crack Fourth of July celebration, so try to attend. Visit the shops and buy work made by the local artists. At day’s end, have a cup of tea or coffee at Aureate Plum or grill at Sabroso.
The spirit of Kit Carson is everywhere in this part of the world, and Rayado is no exception. Rayado is thought of as a ghost town but it really isn’t. Take the kids to visit the Kit Carson Museum, and if you are really Doughty and have lots of time, go on the trek sponsored by the Philmont Scout Ranch. It lasts for 12 days, and you’ll cover as much as 106 miles. It’s daunting, but participants love it.
8. Angel Fire
This evocatively named town is famous for its winter sports, but as summer temps are mild its a good place to go during the warm months. Indeed, the annual summer chamber music concerts are renown. Another reason to come during the winter is you might see the “angel fire,” the rosy-orange brilliance that illuminates Agua Fria Peak.
This historic old town sites on the Cimarron River and boasts a good number of vacation rentals. They range from rustic cabins, cottages or modern houses with window walls that give you a view. Walk around Old Town and visit historic buildings like the Old Mill. Grab a cold brewski at the Colfax Tavern or a snack at the Cimarron Art Gallery Soda Fountain.