On Stands Now
July 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Photo by Ellen Miller-Goins View of Wheeler Peak from Bobcat Pass on NM38.

Guest Editors Letter

Mid-summer in northern New Mexico can be challenging, packed as it is with visitors escaping sweltering temperatures at home, but those in the know, locals and tourists alike, find October the most glorious time to be in the mountains: The days are typically sunny, but cool, the nights chilly and clear (perfect for stargazing) — and, of course, the entire region can be ablaze with color! Many come to this area just to see the way aspen leaves shimmer and glisten like gold in late afternoon sunlight. Northern New Mexico can be dazzling in the fall as the trees give their last shout of joy before winter and snow begins to cap local peaks.

For driving pleasures, the Enchanted Circle around Wheeler Peak is a “no brainer.” This 86-mile trek can begin and end in Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Questa, Red River or Taos and takes visitors past some of the finest aspen viewing anywhere with, of course, vistas of Wheeler Peak, Gold Hill, Touch-Me-Not Baldy, Taos Mountain and more. For more Alpine glory, take side trips to the Upper Red River Valley, Taos Ski Valley, or Cimarron Canyon.

The Valle Vidal unit of the Carson National Forest from Amalia to Cimarron (or vice versa) is another great road trip. Unlike the others, this is mostly on an unpaved road (though you do not need a four-wheel drive vehicle). Valle Vidal is home to a magnificent elk herd and other abundant wildlife. Its vistas of high peaks, forests, and alpine meadows are breathtaking. From Questa, head north on N.M. 552 to Costilla then turn east onto N.M. 196 past Amalia onto F.R. 1950 to F.R. 1900, then F.R. 1910 and onto N.M. 204 to U.S. 64 and Cimarron. Just past Cimarron on U.S. 64, take N.M. 204 to Forest Road 1910, F.R. 1900 and, finally, F.R. 1950 to Costilla. Info, (505) 586-0520.

For another gravel road trek past high country gold, take Mallette Road in Red River to F.R. 54 all the way to the 360-degree views of Greenie Peak, then head down Cabresto Canyon Road to Questa.
For 4×4 adventures, don’t miss Cabresto Lake, Goose Lake, or the Old Red River Pass.(for more on the Red River Pass. The Red River Pass, built in 1916, was considered an engineering feat at the time. Workers built a gradual slope by switching the road back and forth up the mountain. It took two summers to build it using teams of mules with blades and a mule team driver. At the top it’s almost 10,000 feet high and you have a scenic view of the town of Red River and Red River Ski Area. (see our September 2022 story on the Red River Pass https://questanews.com/how-red-river-changed-after-the-gold-rush/)

If you like hiking a “yellow brick road” of fallen leaves, head for Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Area, Red River Nature Trail, Goose Creek Trail, Columbine Canyon Trail, or the Pescado Trail by the Red River Fish Hatchery south of Questa.

Be sure you have a camera (or camera phone) handy!

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