This tiny, historic village on the northwest shoulder of the Enchanted Circle, is undergoing an awakening.
After its main source of income ended in 2014 with the closing of the Chevron-owned molybdenum mine, long-neglected qualities have blossomed. What local Taos County residents have always known is that the unspoiled outdoors surrounding Questa offer some of the most dramatic and serene hiking, rock climbing, camping and fishing in Northern New Mexico. Only a half-hour drive north of Taos, Questa makes for a great getaway for the afternoon, or longer.
Questa is a good jumping off point for excursions into the the Río Grande del Norte National Monument whether by foot or all-terrain vehicles. This “Wild Rivers” area is where the Red River joins the Río Grande in its deep and dramatic gorge and is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. This year marks its fifth year of designation by President Obama. The roughly 242,000 acres is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the West. It is home to many hiking trails, grass and sagebrush mesas, American Indian archaeological sites, volcanic peaks and forest. Fishing and bird and wildlife watching are some of the other popular activities here.
Anglers will love Eagle Rock Lake on the east side of Questa and the section of the Red River that feeds into and out of the lake. With mountain lakes up above and two river chasms to fish for northern pike and several varieties of trout below, Questa is an angler’s paradise for sure.
In the heart of town is the beautifully restored San Antonio del Río Colorado Catholic Church. This historic, adobe structure has stood at the heart of the village since the mid-1800s. But it needed help. The fundraising effort for its resurrection was organized by the community. Its restoration was done by volunteers over about five years and who logged more than 40,000 hours.
Questa is about 24 miles from Taos, take Paseo del Pueblo Norte/U.S. Highway 64 to State Highway 522 north. For more information about the area, call the Village of Questa at (575) 586-0694; go online to visitquesta.com or contact the Bureau of Land Management field office at (575) 758-8851.
June 4-Oct.14 Questa Farmer’s Market
Held every Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. near the intersection of State Roads 38 and 522 at the Questa Visitor Center/QEDF Parking Area.
June 2 National Trails Day, Questa History Walk
Join local historian Flavio Cisneros for a free, .6m loop along the Questa History & Community Trail. A 5000-year timeline highlights rare geologic features, Hispano and multicultural settlements, Native life and conflicts, frontier religious devotion, orchards and arts. Meet at Questa’s traffic light, corner of State Roads 522 and 38. begins at 10:30 a.m. questatrail.com
July 8 “Gathering Memory: Object, Photo and Story Workshop”
Former New Mexico State Historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez will give a presentation on history and memory, and lead the community through a memoir workshop. Participants are asked to arrive with an object that holds a special memory about a person, event or place; a photograph that could be used to tell a story; and the name of one ancestor whose life holds special meaning. Held at the VFW Hall, 1 mile north of the traffic light in Questa, on State Road 522. Free admission. Starts at 2 p.m. questatrail.com
July 17-22 Wild Rivers Plein Aire Paint-Out
Artists congregate from July 17-20 at the Wild Rivers Recreation Park in Questa to paint outside during this third annual event. On those days demonstrations and workshops will also be held. On July 21 and 22, the featured events are the Quick Draw, pop-up art show and an awards celebration on July 21 at the Alpine Lodge in Red River from 5-7 p.m. wildriverspleinair.com
Aug. 18-19 Studio Arts Tour
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Local artists will display their work and wares at various locations throughout the Lama to El Rito corridor. This is the first studio tour of the year in Northern New Mexico. Presented is locally made pottery, painting, jewelry, photography, handmade furniture, glass-working and traditional/contemporary crafts. The venue is held at various locations throughout Questa. questaartstour.com.
Sept. 15 NeoRio 2018: Roots — Raices
NeoRio outdoor contemporary art and community event is held at the Montoso Campground, Wild Rivers Río Grande del Norte National Monument. Artists and collaborators delve into the theme of “Roots — Raices,” exploring various angles: botanical, cultural, metaphorical and beyond. Discover art installations along the rim of the Río Grande Gorge, related hands-on activities, afternoon music and poetry salon, a delicious, locally sourced Northern New Mexico fall feast, artist talks, music around an evening campfire and more. leapsite.org/neorio/neorio2018
Nov. 2 Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead
Dia de los Muertos is a time-honored tradition to remember loved ones. It originated in Mesoamerica as a blend of Spanish, Aztec and ancient traditions; today, it’s celebrated worldwide. Festivities during this fourth annual event include music, art making and a feast. Each year many contribute posole, prune pies, hot chocolate, pan de muerto and more. Bring a dish to share, perhaps a favorite of someone you are remembering. All are invited to bring photos of loved ones or objects to add to a community altar.
Participants can make sugar skulls, paper marigolds and other art; supplies and instruction provided. This event is free, donations are appreciated. Held at La Sala, 2331 State Road 522. (575) 224-2102, leapsite.org