Questa’s wildlife and wilderness may slumber in the winter, but there are still opportunities to experience this beautiful Northern New Mexico scenery. You won’t find man-made ski areas here; it’s all about the weather and timing. Mother Nature rules!
What the locals know is that access to the Río Grande del Norte National Monument never closes. If you wake up to snow, and the temperature is staying cool; throw your cross-county skis in the car and head for the Rinconada Loop Trail to enjoy six miles of flat skiing with stunning gorge views (and only a $3 fee to park). The trail can be entered at any of the campground parking lots and it’s easy to create smaller loops to match your time or stamina.
For many, hiking down into the gorge here is a favorite outing. On a clear and cool autumn, winter or spring day, these steep 1-mile-down trails become a pleasure — with the reward of a sparkling river and hidden petroglyphs at the bottom.
Questa is also the gateway to the many Forest Service trails along State Road 38 toward the town of Red River. Columbine Canyon is not only a favorite for dry-weather hiking, but is a wonderful place to strap on your snowshoes and trek as near or far as your heart desires. The higher altitude here and thick surrounding pines hold the snowpack well. Call the Questa Ranger Station for the latest conditions.
For more information; check out the Village of Questa website at Questa-NM.com, or phone the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, Mon.-Fri., at (575) 586-0520, open year round. And the BLM Wild Rivers Visitors Center at (575) 586-1150 (reduced hours off-season, but informative phone messages are posted).