By Ellen Miller-Goins
No doubt about it, Red River’s changed since its beginnings as a mining town 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 amid an Old West vibe. 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 a myriad of free activities every day, including: Guided nature hikes, boat building, Games on the Lawn, S’mores & Stories, Movies in the Mountains, Hobbies in the House, fitness, line dancing, geocaching, Senior Games 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. Visit redriver.org.
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 or even slide down the Baby Blue hill on inner tubes. 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).
Local guides offer horseback excursions 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.
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 Red River Brewing Company, the newest addition in town. This year marks the 80th anniversary of a Red River landmark, the Bull O’ the Woods Saloon (read more in the “It’s not just a bar, it’s an institution” article under Authentic). And for even more fun things to do, go online to redriverskiarea.com and redriver.org.
Bacon & Brews
37th Annual Memorial Motorcycle Rally
Classic Car Show
Red River Art & Wine Festival
Fourth of July Parade and Celebration — parade starts at 10 a.m. followed by special events in Brandenburg Park and the Red River Community House
Michael Martin Murphey’s American West Fest
Red River Valley 10th Annual Buckaroo Ball
Red River High Mountain Run
Larry Joe Taylor’s Hot Chili Days, Cool Mountain Nights
The 45th Annual Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival
2nd Annual Wags & Wine Event
Red River Folk Festival at Aspencade
Oktoberfest in Red River