Get Away to Angel Fire, NM
Article by Tonya Kerr / Video by Taylor Kerr
BASE ELEVATION: 8600 ft
SUMMIT ELEVATION: 10,677 ft
TRAILS: 80 Trails with plenty of terrain parks, glade skiing and Nordic trails.
• 21% Beginner
• 56% Intermediate
• 23% Advanced
• Sunny days and starry nights all year long
• Wildflowers galore in late spring and summer
• Golden aspens in fall
• Snow-capped scenery in winter
About Angel Fire
Angel Fire sits in the picturesque Moreno Valley, just a half-hour from Taos, NM, in one direction and Red River, NM, in another. Elevation is 8,420 feet at the center of town and the surrounding mountains rise to over 13,000 feet.
Discovering Angel Fire, New Mexico, ten years ago, was a life-altering vacation for my entire family. We fell so deeply in love with the lifestyle, the people and the town, my parents chose to retire to the mountain village. My kids and I visit annually throughout the seasons, and hands down, Angel Fire is our favorite family getaway, all year-long.
Named for the fiery sunrises and sunsets which glow against the Southern Rocky Mountains, this family-oriented, resort town is laid back and friendly. The weather is cold and often snowing in the winter, and cool mountain temperatures make you want to stay outdoors all summer long. It’s easy on the pocketbook with plenty to do for free and never any resort-type price hikes.
We snow boarded, skied and tubed over the holidays, and, as always, had a blast. The unusual lack of snow throughout Colorado and New Mexico was no problem. Angel Fire Resort did an amazing job creating powdery and fast snow on runs from the top to the bottom of the mountain- both front and back.
We explored a new toy and candy store in the village; discovered a tea shop; and enjoyed the newly renovated Legends Grill located inside Angel Fire Resort. The warmer weather and smaller crowds were perfect for night skiing, which was a new and exhilarating experience. Skiing and boarding across the twinkling snow and looking up to see the clear, star-filled skies above was spectacular. Angel Fire Resort is the only place in New Mexico to offer night skiing, and this entire season, those three additional night-time hours are free with the purchase of a day-lift ticket.
When the weather cooperates, Spring Break in Angel Fire is a favorite reason to visit. It’s a ski party on the mountain with snow bars, themed events and live music. The kids love the terrain parks and watching the snowboard acrobatics. For a quieter and scenic change of pace, try the glade skiing through the trees, sledding, or hiking the miles of mountain trails- just remember to pack a picnic and always drink lots of water.
As the snow melts in the Angel Fire area, May through November offers a championship golf course with breathtaking views, world-class mountain biking, zip-lining, fishing, and white-water rafting.
While the 14-hour drive from Houston is long, it can be done in a day. A private airport in Angel Fire is always an option, and reasonable airfare into Taos and Albuquerque is available through most major airlines.
Undoubtedly, most visitors are Texans, and the camaraderie between residents and guests feels like a homecoming everywhere you go. If you’re planning a family getaway or even a special event like a wedding or a reunion, don’t overlook “the place of the fire angels,” as it was introduced to Kit Carson back in 1845. Carson fell in love with the town and its legendary sunrises and sunsets. It’s a guarantee that you and your family will too.
Angel Fire: Building the Ultimate Experience
Travel & Lodging
GETTING THERE: By car from Houston, it’s a solid 14-hour drive. By plane, airports in Albuquerque or Taos offer a short drive into Angel Fire.
LODGING: From traditional ski-in, ski-out resort hotel rooms to multi-bedroom private, rental homes to a state-of-the-art RV resort, there are thousands of places to stay for any size group or getaway.
Food & Dining
DINING: Every establishment is locally owned, and the locals and tourists dine together. A handful of my favorites include fine dining at the Country Club at Angel Fire Resort (everyone is welcome-no membership or resort-stay required); Zeb’s for burgers; Angel Fired Pizza for perfect stone fired fare; hand crafted beer and their famous fried pickles at Enchanted Circle Brewing Company; incredible views at Summit Haus with a lift ride to the top of the mountain and an après ski refreshment at Sunset Grill. Inside the resort, don’t miss the newly renovated Legends Grill- famous for those hand-made jalapeno margaritas.
Things to Do
SHOPPING: Almost all stores are locally-owned with a variety of art galleries; hand-crafted items, jewelry and clothing; equipment for sale and rent; and one of the most well-stocked, family-owned grocery stores you’ll ever encounter.
SNOWMOBILES: Nearby Carson National Forest offers 50 miles of snowmobile-accessible trails.
HORSE ADVENTURES: Winter Sleigh Ride Tours begin at the Elkhorn Lodge and travel along the foothills of the forest. Carriage Rides, Wagon Tours and horseback riding are offered seasonally. Also check out the chuckwagon, tent & cabin camping excursions. (Just ask for Nancy).
GOLF COURSE: Opens -May 16- Come tee off at 8,500’ on a par 72, 6,653-yard, 18-hole golf course surrounded by the majestic southern Rocky Mountains.
MOUNTAIN BIKING: Opens -May 19-Voted Best in the Southwest by MTBparks.com, the Bike Park is the largest Bike Park in the Rocky Mountains with 2,000+ vertical feet, 60+ miles of purpose built lift-served terrain featuring the best skinnies, jump lines, manicured flow and super chunk trails.
ZIPLINE: Opens May 19- six ziplines traversing the top of the mountain with spectacular views of the Moreno Valley. Tours typically take two to three hours, and the ziplines vary from 120 to 1,600 feet in length.
WATER ADVENTURES: As the Spring snow melts, the rivers swell, providing canoeing, kayaking and rafting opportunities. Taos Box is one of the most popular whitewater destinations in the state and offers Class V rapids on a 17-mile-long run.
FISHING: Nearby Eagle’s Nest Lake, boasts trophy-size rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Fly-fishers cast their lures at Cimarron Canyon, and guides lead expeditions to their favorite fishing holes.
Events & Festivals
Chile Challenge Pro GRT & ProXCT Races
June 23-25, These national mountain bike racing tours stop at Angel Fire Bike Park for the third round of the USAC Pro GRT series as well as the sixth round of the USAC Pro XCT. Over 600 mountain bikers from across the country will descend upon Angel Fire Resort to race in this challenge.
Habla Tamale Festival
August 4-5, Tamale-makers from around northern New Mexico show off their talents with a Cook-Off competition, Tamale-eating contest, Wally & Molly Tamale contest, Kids area, Music, & Arts & Crafts.
Balloons Over Angel Fire
June 15-17, It’s a Father’s Day weekend for the whole family with more than 40 hot-air balloons flying over Angel Fire throughout the weekend and a Balloon Glow on Saturday evening.
February 2-3, Voted one of 11 Craziest Winter Adventures, according to Jetsetter Magazine. Jump on a shovel and race down the mountain, or just enjoy watching the spectacle and championship races.
March 12-23, Family Fun In The Sun themed days with live music, cool contests, and great spring skiing and riding. (Last day of ski season April 25)
Lessons, equipment and guides are available for just about every activity year-round. For more information, a calendar of events and a visitor’s guide, check out the websites www.angelfirefun.com and www.angelfireresort.com