Serene and unspoiled
This tiny, historic village, on the northwest shoulder of the Enchanted Circle, is undergoing an awakening. After its main source of income ended in 2014 with the closing of the Chevron-owned molybdenum mine, long-neglected qualities have blossomed. What local Taos County residents have always known is that the unspoiled outdoors surrounding Questa offer some of the most dramatic and serene hiking, camping and fishing in Northern New Mexico. Just a half-hour drive north of Taos, Questa makes for a great getaway for the afternoon, or longer.
Questa is a good jumping off point for excursions into the the Río Grande del Norte National Monument whether by foot or all-terrain vehicles. This ‘Wild Rivers’ area is where the Red River joins the Río Grande in its deep and dramatic gorge and is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.
Anglers will love Eagle Rock Lake on the east side of Questa and the section of the Red River that feeds into and out of the lake. With mountain lakes up above and two river chasms to fish for northern pike and several varieties of trout below, Questa is an angler’s paradise for sure.
In the heart of town is the restored San Antonio church. This historic, adobe structure has stood at the heart of the village since the mid-1800s. “Questa” was an Anglo attempt at simplification but became an official misspelling of the Spanish “cuesta,” referring to the “inclines” on the south of town and the ridge where the old church plaza stands.
A new generation of artists and craftspeople are creating quite a name for this rugged community via some very sophisticated special events including the Wild Rivers Plein Air Paint-Out June 22-24. Artists congregate at the Wild Rivers Recreation Park in Questa to paint outside during this second annual event. On June 22, the event begins with canvas stamping at Sheep’s Crossing (the first park turnout) from 6-9 a.m. Artist R. Gregory Summers will hold a demonstration at a time and place to be announced. A meet and greet pot luck will be held at El Aguaje Campground from 5-7 p.m. On June 23, stamping will continue at OCHO Gallery in Questa from 6-9 a.m. Artist Carrie Schultz will hold a demonstration at a time and place to be announced and painting demonstrations will be held all around the Questa area, including at the historic St. Anthony’s Church. On June 24, an opening reception and awards ceremony will be held at OCHO Gallery in Questa from 5-7 p.m. The OCHO Gallery show will run June 24-July 23. For more information, go online to wildriverspleinair.com, or facebook.com/Wild-Rivers-Plein-Air-Paint-Out-173054286401478/.
Speaking of the arts, Questa’s Studio Tour, “Where Artistic Traditions Meet,” will be held Aug. 19-20. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, local “far-fling” artists and more from surrounding communities open their studios or gather in satellite locations throughout the village featuring their traditional and contemporary artwork. More details are available online at questastudiotour.com.
Getting to Questa:
About 24 miles from Taos, take Paseo del Pueblo Norte/U.S. Highway 64 to State Highway 522 north.
Village of Questa
Bureau of Land Management field office