Monday, August 11, 2008

Red River, New Mexico--Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

Hi Everyone,
Today I'd like to tell you a little bit about the next city on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway--Red River, New Mexico. Red River sits in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at an elevation of 8,750 ft (2,677 m). The town is situated in an alpine valley, surrounded by the Carson National Forest, and not far from the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area. This is a beautiful part of the Enchanted Circle byway--it is very much like parts of Colorado--filled with pines, aspens, streams, hiking trails, etc. My family has spent much time in and around Red River--there is always something fun to do or see there!

Red River's history goes back hundreds of years. The Ute and Jicarilla Apaches lived in this area, and waged war on the pueblos in the area around Taos. Next came the fur trappers and explorers, and then, in the 1870's the gold rush brought thousands of prospectors to the area, and Red River became a boom town with a population of 3,000! There were many mines in the area--mostly gold, silver and copper mines. It is possible to find some of these abandoned mines today and even find some rocks with small bits of gold! During the boom town times, Red River was quite busy--and even had a red light district, complete with several saloons! Once the mines played out, the population began to wane. But many homesteaders came to the area and the upper Moreno Valley to start ranches. The town also turned to tourism and became a mountain retreat in the early 1920's and 1930's.

Today, Red River is a thriving mountain town. It has many distinctive small shops and restaurants, and has a great convention center. The town also boasts a famous ski resort--Red River Ski Resort. Visiting Red River is a like a breath of fresh air any time, but especially during the hot summer months. Most of my pictures are packed away, but I was able to locate some good pictures online--please click here to view Red River.

My family "found" Red River by accident one summer. My parents and the kids and I were going to take a trip to see the Grand Canyon. We stopped over night in Taos, and then decided that maybe it would be fun to spend a couple of days there, before heading to the Grand Canyon! While we were there, we took a drive into the mountains, on the Enchanted Circle byway, and came across Red River. It was so beautiful and cool up there! We spent an afternoon there, and then decided to move from Taos up to Red River to spend a couple of days. We rented a condo on the Red River (that runs near Red River) and it was so wonderful! The kids were delighted with the river nearby, and saw many deer come down to drink and eat there...the kids were also excited by the mountains! They had never seen such mountains before! So, my parents and I decided that we liked it there so much, we would extend our stay...and never did make it to the Grand Canyon!

We were so happy to be in Red River! Every day was a new adventure for all of us. We took in the hiking trails, the shops...and even rode horses (at the local stables) on trails around Red River. The views are beautiful. We also found a road, leading out of town, that took us to a trail head--Lost Lake. This is a fantastic trail. Its a bit of a challenge, but well-worth the effort. The trail is about 4 miles long, and ends at an elevation of 11,495 ft--at a lake--Lost Lake. This area is very scenic--it sits at the base of Wheeler Peak, in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area. It is possible to picnic, camp and fish there. We just hiked around the lake, and found huge piles of snow--in mid July that year! We had so much fun! This is an all day hike--one that we have repeated often since that first time.

There is so much more I could write about our adventures in and around Red River! I highly recommend a visit to this mountain town--Red River--to experience its history and idyllic mountain setting!

Next time, I'll write about the village of Angel Fire, New Mexico...another beautiful resort area on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

You all have a great day!

God bless,
Sherry :0)

For more information about the hiking trails around Red River, please click here.

The pictures in the slide show, above, were taken on a road near the Lost Lake trail head. This was last February 2008...there was a lot of snow...the plow drifts were up to 6ft high and higher! This is a residential area...but many of the homes are not occupied in the winter. There was one house where people were living--it was waaaaaayyyyy down the road...this one house was shoveled out, but all the other houses along that road were covered in snow! It was pretty cold that day, that's why I have a mask on. The mask helps to protect my lungs from the frigid air--and keeps me from having an asthma attack!

(c) 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath

All photos (slideshow) are the property of S. A. Vacik

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