By Ellen Miller-Goins
No doubt about it, Red River’s changed through the years but the most striking thing about this small community is the way it hasn’t changed. Generations still come, year after year, to enjoy cool summer days, family friendly fun and abundant nature. Small shop, restaurant and lodge owners still greet returning customers by name.
Whatever your recreation or relaxation desire, this town provides. Little ones can frolic on state-of-the-art playground equipment at Brandenburg Park in the middle of town or Mallette Park, which rests amid tall shade trees and towering cliffs. Gun fights are a family tradition at Frye’s Old Town. The Red River Community House has a packed summer schedule with myriad free activities every day, including: Nature Hikes, Flower Walks, S’mores & Stories, Games on the Lawn, Movies in the Mountains, Music in the Mountains, Jammin’ on the Porch, fitness classes, crafts, line dancing, senior games, church, and more. See redrivercommunityhouse.com for more information.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life get ready to rumble for the annual rally. It’s one crazy party and one beautiful ride to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Angel Fire. redriver.org/events/memorial-day-motorcycle-rally
With U.S. Forest Service on all sides, Red River has hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding. At Red River Ski & Summer Area, visitors can ride a chairlift to the top, then explore Moonstar Mining Camp on the backside, “zip” down from the face to the town’s fishing ponds on the Pioneer Flyer or test their skills on the challenging Hidden Treasure Aerial Park. Guided Jeep Tours offer an entertaining trip into the area’s mining past. Four-wheel aficionados will find miles of roads to explore and, thanks to an ordinance approving their use — with restrictions — some off-highway vehicles can depart from most locations right in town (see wildlife.state.nm.us/download/ohv/local-ordinances/Red-River-ROV-Usage.pdf).
Just over the hill, visitors can enjoy a unique opportunity: The approximately 4,000-acre Robert Mutz Ranch, located in and around the former mining boomtown Elizabethtown in the Moreno Valley, is for sale but for now Red River Stables and Red River Mountain Adventures are offering a rare glimpse into this historic property — through guided tours by horseback or 4x4s.
Local guides offer horseback rides from short rides to all-day treks through some of the most scenic terrains in the Sangre de Cristos. Moreno Valley Cowboy Evenings on Bobcat Pass offer true western hospitality with Dutch-oven cooking and live entertainment.
Thanks to a great stocking program, the Red River offers excellent angling from the Upper Valley, to Fawn Lakes, all the way to the Red River Fish Hatchery outside Questa. Check out Middle Fork Lake, Lost Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Goose Lake, all good for native cutthroat.
Red River was born from mining. Much of the town’s mining history has disappeared like the prospectors who once sought gold, but it is still possible to find remnants of the past. The historic Little Red Schoolhouse houses a museum with numerous artifacts and photos from Red River’s past. The Young House also sports a fine collection of mementos from one of the town’s first settlers.
This summer, check out the brand new Red River Brewing Company. And for even more fun things to do, go online to redriverskiarea.com/summer/activities/.
May 19 Bacon & Brews
Kick off summer with the 1st annual Bacon & Brews event in Red River from noon-5 p.m. Come to Brandenburg Park for bacon, games, music and beers and wines from all across New Mexico, including the new Red River Brewing Company. There will also be select vendors offering everything from clothing to art and family-friendly tailgating games such as cornhole, over-sized Jenga and more. Poo Live Crew will be playing in the park all day. redriver.org
May 24-25 Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally
Hop on your bike to join some 20,000 riders Monday morning on the 25-mile parade to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire. Other festivities include the Harley Davidson Busted Knuckles Stunt Tour, live music and vendors. Held in Brandenburg Park. Proceeds benefit Beds4Kidz. (575) 754-1708; redriver.org/events/annual-events/memorial-day-motorcycle-rally
June 2 Classic Car Show
Red River’s annual car show features all years, makes and models of the hottest roadsters in the region. Three unique night parades, Hula Hoop contests, bubble gum-blowing contests, evening sock hop, raffles, cake walks and road rally. redriver.org/events/annual-events/classic-car-show
June 15-17 Red River Art & Wine Festival
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. tantalize your taste buds with fine wines and delicacies. This event features both silent and live auctions, art, pottery, photography, wine sampling and live music. Held at Brandenburg Park. redriver.org
July 4-8 Michael Martin Murphey’s American West Fest
This family-friendly festival at Brandenburg Park will include American Indian artists, mountain men and Old West cowboy historical re-enactment. Scheduled for daily sets are Ryan Murphey, Brennan Murphey, Carin Mari, American Indian prodigy Gareth Laffley and more. Get tickets online at smarturl.it/MMM_WestFest2018. For more information, visit redriver.org.
July 28 2nd Annual Wags & Wine Festival
A celebration of furry friends and wine. Some of the activities will be a Doggy Bake Sale; Yappy Hour; The Grand Fur Ball; accessory vendors; and wine tastings from top Southwest wineries. All donations for this event go toward funding a dog park for the town of Red River. Held in Brandenburg Park. redriver.org/events/wags-wine
Aug. 3 9th annual Buckaroo Ball
Pull out your finest Western duds for a night of food, festivities and fundraising. The gala hosts an evening of cocktails, food, live music, dancing and silent and live auctions to benefit the Red River Valley Foundation, a nonprofit created by and for the people of Red River. Tickets are $25 per person. Includes two drink tickets. Held at the Red River ConferenceCenter. redrivervalleyfoundation.org/events
Aug. 4 Dulcimer Festival
A day filled with workshops, concerts, singing, and jamming in Red River at the Community House. Don’t know what a dulcimer is? Sign up for a workshop and you’ll be playing in no time. redrivercommunityhouse.com
Aug. 4 Red River Half Marathon & 5k
Challenge yourself at this event with a race or fun run through Red River’s Upper Valley. The 13.1 mile race begins in town at 8,750 feet and climbs more than 700 feet with a turnaround point at just above 9,400 feet elevation. Runners take in amazing views including Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161 feet. Half marathon entry fee is $65; $40 for the 5k. redriver.org/events/annual-events/half-marathon-5k-run
Aug 16-18 Larry Joe Taylor’s “Hot Chili Days, Cool Mountain Nights” Music Festival & Cook-off
Red River’s rousing music scene can trace its roots back to Texas, mostly centered around Austin’s “red dirt rock.” True to this tradition, the annual event features live music all over town with Larry Joe Taylor & Friends, as well as multiple cook-offs in Brandenburg Park like the CASI “Red River Red” cook-off, the New Mexico State Green Chile Championship and the Lone Star BBQ Society cook-off. Held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information and tickets visit larryjoetaylor.com/red_river/music_lineup or redriver.org.
Sept. 13-16 The 44th Annual Southwest Pickers Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival
At this annual Red River event you can look forward to bluegrass, old time and Americana bands, instructional workshops, dancing, food, beer garden and vendors at various venues around town. southwestpickers-festival.org
Sept. 21-23 Aspencade Arts & Crafts Fair and Red River Folk Festival
Browse through booths of hand-crafted items, jewelry, home furnishings, food, art, pottery, and specialty goods while you enjoy food and live entertainment in Red River. Special 3-day pass to all events at The Motherlode and Brandenburg Park available for only $55 until Aug. 15. redriverfolk.com
Oct. 5-7 Oktoberfest in Red River
Authentic German food and music; arts and crafts exhibitors, microbreweries and wineries; games and contests; food vendors and family friendly activities. Get a commemorative taster mug or stein with your $5 admission fee. Held in Brandenburg Park. redriver.org/events/annual-events/oktoberfest