Families and the Enchanted Circle
Now that it’s getting warmer, there’s even more to do in the EC. (We love our winter activities here, but that’s not all we offer.) And there’s no shortage of kid-friendly, family-friendly adventures either. Whether it’s taking the family for a hike through the mountains surrounding Questa at the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument or heading over to Angel Fire for a Zipline Adventure Tour of trekking over the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside Taos on llamas. The EC has all that and a bag of frito pie chips.
Below are some suggestions on where to do what. And where to stay while you’re here. Or there.
Most kids love horses. And at Red River Stables, even those who’ve never ridden before or spent much time around these equine creatures can get a good first-hand experience of them with a one-hour ride (roundtrip) out to Bittercreek Canyon. The trail climbs 400+ feet, and features views of Red River, Bittercreek Canyon, and the ski area. Over at Bobcat Pass Wilderness Adventures, you can go old-school (horseback) or mechanized, Bobcat offers both the traditional saddle ride and ATVs and T-Rexes (the T-Rex is a four-passenger ATV). Both take guests through the Carson National Forest and Valle Vidal then back to the Old Red River Pass. Another Red River road outfit is Red River Offroad. Their preferred mode of transportation is the Jeep. A four-wheel, off-road, open-air exploit. The most fitting of which (for younger riders) would be the more mild, more scenic drive up to Greenie Peak. Families can also rent Jeep or UTV from Mike’s Fun Place; and the New Mexico Adventure Company will even do the driving for you.
Red River accommodations:
Best Western River’s Edge is right next to the Platinum chair lift; the Auslander has units right next to the ski area and offers a fire pit and horseshoes; the Three Bears Lodge is right on Main Street and is only a block away from the Copper chair lift; and the Copper King Lodge is next to the Copper chair lift and right on the river—where ducks and deer often come right up to your front door.
Taos Ski Valley
Hiking the Williams Lake Trail is a good start for the entire family. Or take the family for a horseback ride courtesy of Big Al’s Horseback Riding or go rock climbing with bighorn sheep-like staff of Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Adventures, or bike riding through the wilderness with bikes supplied by Northside Mountain Bike. And afterward, everyone can head down to the Thunderbird Village for a good New Mexican lunch at the Stray Dog Cantina—and maybe afterward (window) shop for Southwestern and Native American Jewelry at Mesa’s Edge, search for handcrafted goods from around the world at Andean Software, or, find the perfect hiking (or biking) gear at Boot Drs. There’s also the scenic chair rides at the ski lift, volleyball and Frisbee golf over at the Scenic Chairlift (where rides begin June 24) and at The Bavarian Lodge (a European-style ski alm at the base of Kachina Peak—and a great spot for food and rest),
Taos Ski Valley accommodations:
For lodging in Taos Ski Valley, ask the friendly advisors at TSV Chamber of Commerce. If you're in the mood for luxury, try The Bavarian Lodge. By winter 2017 the new Blake Hotel will be open for business right in the base area.
There’s plenty of hiking and biking all around Taos, but in Taos proper there are also plenty of options for the whole family as well. In-town, not far from the Plaza, there’s Twirl, a “play and discovery space” that has plenty of preschool classes (music and ballet), community events, camps (building with Legos, taking apart and building simple machines), and workshops (robotics and 3D printing). Right on the Plaza itself, there’s the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (specializing in . . . you guessed it, all things chocolatey), and Pizanos Pizza & Pasta, which has a nice spot on the patio overseeing the Plaza, where, beginning May 26, the Taos County Chamber of Commerce produces free concerts every Thursday from 6-8.
Further afield, if everyone’s wanting something with a bit more of a jolt to it, book a raft trip down the Rio Grande with Los Rios River Runners. Guaranteed fun. Or for something more exotic: llama trekking with Wild Earth Llama Adventures, where the sure-footed llamas carry your gear for you and your guide gives you an eco-tour, all along the Rio Grande Gorge and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Also on the outskirts of town are the Earthships, those curious-looking adobe-ish buildings gurgling up from the earth. Guests can either visit or stay in the biotectures.
Back in town, there’s also the KTAOS Solar Center—the backyard of the town’s local radio station. Bands play here, weddings are held here, and the adjoining pavilion and sprawling lawn, with its views of Taos Mountain, are perfect for kids and parents. And then there’s Kit Carson Park, where every Wednesday from May through September at dusk, the town hosts Movies on the Green—a free outdoor screening of something celluloid for everyone. Even better, there’s a Kid Zone right there as well, with a Bounce House, a Velcro Wall, and a Bungie Run.
Find family-friendly accommodations on the Official Taos Vacation-Planning website or choose a lodging member of Taos County Chamber of Commerce.
Questa’s surrounded by nature. There’s the Rio Grande del Norte National monument; there’s hiking down the Big Arsenic Springs trail, where at the bottom are a cache of petroglyphs; there’s fishing at Eagle Rock Lake on the east side of the village (free for kids under 12—and if you’ve forgotten your fishing gear or didn’t bring any or you need a license, all can be had at Questa Lumber and Hardware); and fishing at Cabresto Lake just above the village; camping at La Junta Point, gorge-side—or in the gorge itself (!); and good New Mexican food at Tia’s Café in Cerro.
Rooms at the Sangre de Cristo Motel and cabins at the Questa Lodge.
Roadrunner Tours offers horseback rides and gold panning for the whole family. Angel Fire Resort Mountain Bike Park has mountain biking trails and bike rentals for all ages and sizes. Head over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park for hands-on exhibits and visual reminders of those who served in that conflict. And for families with pre-teens to adult, there’s the famous Angel Fire Resort Zipline Adventure; and for the little ones and the handicapped, they can let loose on the Pioneer Flyer Zipline in Red River. Afterward, try some of the Southwestern-influenced New American fare at H2 Uptown.
Angel Fire accommodations:
Find lodging for the family in Angel Fire at the Visitor Center, The Lodge at Angel Fire, or ask the experts at Resort Properties of Angel Fire about vacation rentals.