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A frozen lake in Red River, NM

43 minute drive from Taos Regional Airport

Less than an hour’s drive northeast of Taos, the impossibly picturesque village of Red River lies cradled by the evergreen slopes of the Carson National Forest. With a long history of hunting, fishing, and trapping as well as mining for gold, silver, and copper, in many ways Red River is the ultimate western mountain town.

Wildlife abounds in and around Red River. It’s not unusual to see a herd of elk or bighorn sheep lounging by (or on) the road, and the river that gives the town its name is a paradise for trout. In summer, casting a line for those trout—in the river or in one of the many surrounding lakes—is an excellent way to spend the day, as is exploring the surrounding forests on a bike, on the back or a horse, or on your own two feet. The local ski area turns to a summer wonderland in warm weather, with a zip line, ropes course, and scenic lift rides so you can survey the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

The people in Red River know how to have a good time, and festivals occur year-round to prove it. As summer turns to fall, the Red River Folk Festival swings into gear, and local breweries (including the highest elevation brewery in New Mexico) start churning out brews for Oktoberfest every Columbus Day weekend. It’s a great excuse to sip a beer while grooving to some oompah music and taking in the incredible mountain views. The cool fall temperatures and golden aspen leaves fluttering to the forest floor make autumn a delicious time to visit Red River.

In winter, skiers and snowboarders head to Red River’s family friendly resort, with plenty of wide-open groomers for beginners, three terrain parks for the family daredevil, and more than a few powder stashes in the trees for the more experienced skiers and snowboarders. For a lower-octane experience, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can take you through some truly enchanting forests. The town’s high elevation (8,750 feet) brings plenty of snowfall every winter, transforming Red River into a sparkling Alpine paradise at the holidays, and folks flock from all over the southwest to bask in its charm.

Spring is a quieter time in Red River—that is, until Memorial Day Weekend rolls around, when 20,000 bikers from all over the country roar down Main Street. The Red River Memorial Motorcycle Rally boasts food, fun, tons of live music, and a chance to take in the incredible Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway from the back of a bike. It’s basically one big, beautiful, boisterous party.

Red River’s location, tucked into a green valley high in the mountains, gives it an ideal, small town, old west vibe. It’s a great place to step back from the hassles of everyday life and reconnect with friends and family, whatever the season. Cast a line, take a hike, swoosh down the slopes, or cruise the main drag—all are great ways to immerse yourself in this laid-back, high-mountain town.

Ground Transportation

Red River is most easily accessible by private vehicle, but the NCRTD Blue Bus does provide service between Red River, Questa, and Taos.

Lodging Options

A rustic riverside cabin with your own barbecue for grilling up the day’s catch. A ski-in/ski-out chalet that puts the mountain on your doorstep. Condos, lodges, hotels, luxury B&Bs, and campsites for RVs and tents. Whether it’s outdoor adventure or small town relaxation you’re looking for, Red River welcomes visitors with a range of accommodations for every traveler and price point. No matter which you choose, chances are you’ll be booking your next visit before you’ve even settled in.

Taos Air is a public/private partnership dedicated to providing air service to/from Taos and the Enchanted Circle region. Partners include: