By Ellen Miller-Goins
Visitors soon appreciate what “Angel Fire” means the first time they witness a sunset — one of those spectacles of red, orange, violet, pink, gray, white and blue that are so magic your smart phone cannot capture its spirit and you end up wishing you had brought your paints. Angel Fire is cool, comfortable, even tranquil in the summer, but opportunities for fun are plentiful with summer art exhibitions, chamber music, free outdoor summer concerts, art/farmers’ markets, movies in the park, shopping, birding, wildlife tours, horseback rides, sightseeing at nearby ghost towns, and so much more.
What to do
Angel Fire Resort offers a par 72, 6,653-yard, 18-hole golf course, disc golf, scenic chairlift rides, a swimming pool and fitness center, tennis center, climbing wall, Euro-Bungy Jumper and a playground at Olympic Park. Monte Verde Lake is an ideal place to hike, fish, boat, or relax on shore.
Those looking for a bit more adventure can rent stand-up paddle boards. Extra wide boards make this activity easy for beginners to learn. Fishing equipment, bait and pedal boats are also available for those wanting a family fish fry and the lake is stocked with rainbow lake trout throughout the summer.
The top-rated Angel Fire Bike Park is giving Bike Park season pass holders four buddy passes so they can introduce their friends to the park at a discount. Angel Fire maintains more than 100 miles of downhill and cross-country green belt trails for all ability levels that also tie into the National Forest trail network, including the popular South Boundary Trail.
This summer, the Resort’s Rocky Mountain Zipline Adventure Tour is unveiling the new Family Flyer with two ziplines that will offer younger kids who don’t weigh enough for the full adventure tour a chance to experience the excitement of mountain-top ziplining. Look for a newly redesigned PDGA Approved Disc Golf course located at the top of the Chile Express chairlift.
Balloons Over Angel Fire 2018 returns Father’s Day weekend, June 15-17, and will include the inaugural Festival Eclectica, a fundraiser for the Shuter Library of Angel Fire, June 16 at the balloon venue, Colfax County Airport, Angel Fire. The festival will feature renowned Zydeco accordionist, singer/songwriter and Grammy-nominee, Dwayne Dopsie with his group the Zydeco Hellraisers, Taos singer/songwriter, Max Gomez, the award-winning pan-Latin group Baracutanga, and other exciting acts. For more information, see FestivalEclectica.com.
Angel Fire is home to the nation’s first monument to honor veterans of the Vietnam War. On U.S. 64, just north of Angel Fire the Vietnam Veterans Memorial features a chapel, visitor center and museum, a veterans’ walk and a “Huey” helicopter on display. (575) 377-2293, vietnamveteransmemorial.org
What’s in a name
Angel Fire is nestled on the other side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from Taos in the Moreno Valley. One story of how Angel Fire got its name is credited to plains Indians because of the lightning and the St. Elmo’s fire that illuminated the surrounding peaks. Another widely held legend records that it was named by Moache Utes who gathered there to renew their ancestral ties with the Great Spirit who they saw as the sun’s rays that danced upon a mountain peak or the “fire of the gods.” The legend further says that nomadic Franciscan friars Christianized the Ute name into “breath of angels.” Frontiersman Kit Carson is often credited with changing the name to Angel Fire in 1845.
At 8,382 feet, Angel Fire Airport is the fifth-highest airport in the continental U.S. and the highest in New Mexico. The 8,900 x 100-foot runway is adequate for smaller planes and private jets. Landing and taking off can be tricky. Precautions and safety tips are posted for pilots’ perusal.
June 15-Aug. 31 Cool Summer Nights Concerts in the Park
Every Friday night the Cool Summer Nights Concert Series in Angel Fire’s Frontier Park will offer a free night of live music from regional acts along with a Kids Zone with giant Jenga, cornhole, face painting and games. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. angelfirecoolsummer.com
June 17-Sept. 2 Art & Farmers Market in Angel Fire, Sundays
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Regional produce, arts and crafts and live entertainment at Frontier Park.
Aug. 17-Sept. 1
Music From Angel Fire
During this 35th season, world-renowned musicians perform chamber music from classical, romantic, baroque and contemporary masters. See musicfromangelfire.org for locations, times and to buy tickets.
May 16 Angel Fire Golf Course Opening Day
Tee off at 8,500 feet on this par 72, 6,653 yard, 18-hole golf course. To book a tee time, call (575) 377-4488. angelfireresort.com
May 22 Ambush Commemoration
A gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle in Con Thien, South Vietnam. The ceremonies will focus on the men who died and the next of kin and battle survivors they left behind. The public is invited. vietnamveteransmemorial.org
May 26-27 Mountain Bike Demo Daze
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Try an extensive selection of the latest mountain bikes and test ride to your heart’s content on real trails. The only lift-access summer bike demo in the Southwest. Held at Angel Fire Bike Park. angelfirebikepark.com
May 28 Memorial Day Ceremonies
9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Veterans and their friends and families come from all around the country to honor our fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War. Featured are a Flag March (9 a.m.), special ceremony (11 a.m.), speakers, book signings, tours and a morning motorcycle run from Red River. The Flag March starts at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and State Road 434 and proceeds up the hill to the memorial. All events held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire. The public is invited to participate. vietnamveteransmemorial.org
June 9-10 Scott Enduro Cup Mountain Bike Race
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
In 2017, this race drew 200 professional and amateur racers to the Angel Fire Resort Mountain Bike Park and surrounding trails to prove their skills on the trails. endurocupmtb.com
June 15-17 Balloons Over Angel Fire
7 a.m.-9 p.m.
This year, 40 hot-air balloons will fly over Angel Fire throughout the weekend with a special Balloon Glow on Saturday evening. Free admission. This year, Festival Eclectica coincides with the ballon festival. This inaugural fundraiser for the local library features Dwayne Dopsie with his group the Zydeco Hellraisers, Taos singer/songwriter, Max Gomez, the award-winning pan-Latin group Baracutanga, and other acts. For more information, see FestivalEclectica.com and balloonsoverangelfire.com.
June 15-17 Angel Fire Endurance Run
The only 100-mile running event in New Mexico. Held on the Angel Fire Resort property, runners have the option at sign up to enter a 25k, 50k, 50-mile, 100k or 100-mile race. angelfireresort.com
July 1 Angel Fire Adventure Marathon
6 a.m.-6 p.m.
Join in on the experience of the 4th annual Angel Fire Adventure Marathon, Half Marathon 5k and Happy Feet Kids’ Run. facebook.com/AngelFireAdventure/
July 7-8 Angel Fire ArtsFest
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.
Now in its 37th year, this is one of the longest-running arts festivals in Northern New Mexico. Artists from all over the Southwest come to Angel Fire to display their works. Art, food, entertainment and a silent auction. Held at the Angel Fire Community Center. artup-nnm.org/artsfest/
July 21 Angel Fire Garden Club Tour
8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Visit some of the most beautiful mountain gardens in the Southwest. angelfirefun.com/events/view/9914
Aug. 4-5 Habla Tamale Festival
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce hosts tamale-makers from around Northern New Mexico to show off their talents. Tamale cook-off competition, tamale-eating contest, Wally & Molly tamale contest, kids’ area, music, arts and crafts vendors. angelfirechamber.org
Sept. 1 Brick Laying — Run for the Wall Reunion
Run For The Wall friends return to lay bricks into the Memorial Walkway at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire as part of their annual reunion. RFTW lays about 400 bricks annually, including eight Medal of Honor Bricks. The public is welcome to attend. Call (575) 377-6900 or visit vietnamveteransmemorial.org.
Sept. 29 Angel Fire Studio Tour
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Featuring many of Moreno Valley artists and craftspeople in their studio environment including Angel Fire, Black Lake, Taos Canyon, Eagle Nest and Valle Escondido. For a tour map and more information, visit angelfirestudiotour.org.
Sept. 29-30 The Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camp
This instructional weekend camp for riders of all ages returns to Angel Fire. It features technical skill development sessions, small group instructional rides and a program highlighting maintenance clinics and bike set up. dirtseries.com
Nov. 11 Veterans Day Ceremony at Angel Fire
The annual Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire. Weather permitting, the ceremony will be held outside in the Amphitheater. For updates on the keynote speaker and other details about the ceremony, visit vietnamveteransmemorial.org.