“Hiking” sounds a lot more difficult than, say, “walking”. But really what’s the difference? The American Heritage Dictionary defines a hike as “an extended walk for pleasure or exercise.” We prefer to focus on the “pleasure” part. And the views! From kaleidoscopic wildflowers to towering trees to high-mountain lakes to rugged snow-covered peaks, Red River is a hikers dream. The town is home to a number of easy treks – some right in town – for flatlanders, kids and anyone who just wants to get out. There is plenty of challenging terrain, too, but that is your choice!
Click here for a printable list of Red River area hiking trails.
Click here for more information about the hiking trails in the Questa Ranger District of Carson National Forest.
The Carson National Forest is revising their forest plan and they are seeking input from those who use the forest. Click here and complete a brief survey to provide your input.
The Red River Nature Trail starts right in town beside the Platinum Lift at Red River Ski Area on Pioneer Road and travels 2 miles mostly along the Red River to Goose Lake Road. This popular trail features trail-side interpretive signs. A short nature trail also follows the creek beginning at Mallette Park.
Columbine Trail, located at Columbine Campground on the south side of the road between Red River and Questa, can be an easy hike. The trail crosses several footbridges over Columbine Creek. Just before the Twining Trail junction (where the trail gets steep) there is an aspen grove that is an excellent spot for a picnic. From here the trail becomes more advanced — you can head all the way to Lobo Peak, Gold Hill or Taos Ski Valley or you can turn around before the trail really starts to climb.
Sawmill Park Trail, up the East Fork of the Red River off Forest Road 58A, is a nice day-hike through spruce, fir, aspen and 1,000 year old Bristol Cone pine in the meadow. Views include Wheeler Peak and Sawmill Park, Taos Peak and Taos Cone.
Middlefork Trail, up the West Fork of the Red River off Forest Road 58, is a nice, moderate hike to a lovely mountain lake amid rugged mountains.
Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, 3 ½ miles from Red River off NM38, offers rolling terrain and plenty of options from a short stroll to a 5-mile loop with views of the Moreno Valley, Touch-Me-Not, Baldy, the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, Gold Hill, Red River Ski Area and the Town of Red River.
Goose Creek Trail, like Columbine Trail, can be an easy hike if you hike until you feel like turning around. Located 2 ½ miles from Red River up State Road 578 on the west side of the road, the trail climbs 5 ½ miles to Goose Lake, a popular spot that is also accessible to four-by-four vehicles.
More difficult hikes around Red River include Lost Lake and Horseshoe Lake Trails in the Upper Red River Valley and Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. At 13,161 feet above sea level, on a clear day views extend all the way to Colorado. On the way to the summit, wildflowers cover the Alpine tundra landscape like a Monet painting, marmots and pika shout warnings from talus slopes and eagles circle overhead. By mountaineering standards, Wheeler is relatively easy, but this is not for wimps because of the altitude and a few slopes that require muscle strength going up — and down.
Wild Rivers Recreation Area, outside Questa offers a number of fun hikes including the new Pescado Trail, which heads from the Visitor Center to the Red River Fish Hatchery (or vice versa), the Riconada Loop Trail, which snakes along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge and Big Arsenic Trail with numerous petroglyphs. (These are intentionally unmarked to mitigate vandalism. Ask at the Visitor Center for directions.)
When heading outdoors in the mountains, always take water, wear sunscreen and take extra layers of clothing. Mountain weather can change abruptly!
For more hiking information, contact the Carson National Forest at 575-758-6200; the Questa Ranger District at 575-586-0520; the Bureau of Land Management at 575-758-8851 and the Red River Chamber of Commerce, 575-754-2366.
The Community House provides free family fun activities for Red River.
116 E. Main Street Red River, NM 87558
We're a big mountain hug, located in the Southern Rockies, just north of Taos, smack dab in the middle of the town of Red River, New Mexico.
We are a warm and friendly escape where you will always feel like part of our family. We offer winter & summer fun for everyone.
We're THAT place your family raves about.
400 Pioneer Road PO Box 900 Red River, NM 87558