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 (opens May 16), disc golf, scenic chairlift rides, a swimming pool and fitness center, tennis center, kids’ 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 opens May 17. Angel Fire maintains more than 100 miles of downhill and cross-country 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 (open May 17) 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. Those weighing 90 pounds and above can participate in the full six-line tour. The tour is the second highest elevation zipline tour in the U.S. and the largest in New Mexico. Look for a newly redesigned PDGA Approved Disc Golf 18-hole course located at Agua Fria Peak via the Chile Express chairlift (chairlift opens May 17).
Rather keep your feet on the ground? The Greenbelt is a free-access trail system where you can mountain bike, run, hike or horseback ride. The trails are located around the Village of Angel Fire.
After resting dormant for nearly a decade, Angel Fire Bike Park & Red Bull will reignite the Burner on June 22. The legendary gravity fueled endurance event will be set off on the summer solstice. Testing riders physical and mental fortitude in both team and solo formats, The Return of the Burner will be the must attend event of the summer.
Popular returning events include Balloons Over Angel Fire, Cool Summer Nights Concert Series, Music From Angel Fire, Sunday morning Art & Farmers Market, Movies in the Park and Run for the Wall.
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.
— Scott Gerdes contributed to this article.
Kid’s Fishing Derby
Angel Fire Golf Course Opening Day
To book a tee time, call (575) 377-4488. angelfireresort.com
Run for the Wall/Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Fire 5 Race #1 and Demo Daze
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, special ceremony, 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 16-Sept. 1
Art & Farmers Market in Angel Fire
Sunday mornings in Frontier Park. angelfireresort.com
Cool Summer Nights Concert Series. Opens with the Ry Taylor Band. Free. angelfirecoolsummer.com
June 14-16 Balloons Over Angel Fire
June 15 and July 6
Movies in the Park. Head to Frontier Park with blankets, chairs and picnic baskets. Free. angelfireresort.com
June 16-Sept. 1
Angel Fire Farmers Market, Sundays in Frontier Park
The Return of the Burner. Bicycle event powered by Red Bull.
Music Festival Eclectica
Wine and Wagyu Weekend. The three-day Western-themed food and wine event.
Music From Angel Fire
Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Fire 5 Race #2
2019 Trek Dirt Series Camps
Angel Fire Studio Tour
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fire 5 Race #3