Carson National Forest/Red River/ Fawn Lakes Cg

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
Trip End Jun 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4 – We left Taos and headed north and could see in the distance the Taos Mountain Ski Area. Taos Ski Valley is New Mexico's best downhill ski area and during the summer there are hiking trails throughout the forest.  At the base of the mountain you can find condos, restaurants, bars and other lodging.  It’s a real nice four season resort area.

      The Carson National Forest was on our right driving north with side roads to Pueblos and some National Forest Campgrounds.  We were planning to stop at the Red River Fish Hatchery but we were coming down an 8% grade and the road came up on us so fast and before we knew it – we were passed it.  So we continued on to Questa before we went east on route 38 towards Red River.  The Red River State Fish Hatchery rears trout and features a display on the fish rearing process, with a free self-guiding tour.

   The route we took is a scenic byway the Enchanted Circle, which is the top scenic route in New Mexico.  The byway starts and ends in Taos and it is about 90 miles total.  We were only driving part of it today and tomorrow we will leave the byway when we reach the town of Eagle Nest. 

    Heading north on route 522 you can drive to the west to see the spectacular views from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge than drive about another 40 miles north to Questa.  If you continue north from Questa, it heads into the Wild River BLM Recreational Area with more camping and rafting.  There is also the Valle Vidal unit of the Carson National Forest up there, which was once the huge Maxwell Land Grand with over two million acres.   This area offers superb views of vast open spaces, high Rocky Mountain peaks, wildlife (Elk and wild birds) and reminders of the early frontier days of Northern New Mexico dominated by mining, lumbering and ranching. 

     Along the way you pass the Kiowa Ranch once owned by Mabel Dodge Luhan who was buried in Taos.  This became the home of her friend D. H. Lawrence and his wife given to him by Mabel.  His wife continued to live here after the author died and in 1934, she  built  a shrine on San Cristobal Road for Lawrence’s ashes.

      We headed east on route 38 towards Red River.  Red River was a former gold mining town and is now a four season resort town.  The Red River Mt for downhill skiing is right next to the town but this town is considered one of the best cross country ski areas in the country

     Route 38 is a beautiful road with the mountains on either side of the road.  We passed the Molycorp molybdenum mine and mill.   They have clear cut some of these hills so the contrast with the green tall trees surrounding it is something else.  I have no idea what they mine but the plant and facilities are huge!!!!

   We have 18 miles left to drive on the Enchanted Circle tomorrow before we reach Eagle Nest – a town known for its fishing and along the way we will pass a ghost town  (Elizabethtown).    This town has a fascinating history once copper was found nearby and then gold was discovered, it was a boom town but no longer.

    I posted pictures of the campground Fawn Lakes which I reviewed below with the Red River flowing through it and the fishing lake of Fawn Lake (really four lakes).  It was so nice to see thick green trees and mountains which reminded me of northern New England and the northwest states of Oregon and Washington.

Tuesday, June 4 – Fawn Lakes – Carson National Forest, Red River, New Mexico

   This is one of five National Forest campgrounds near Red River, New Mexico on the Scenic Byway the Enchanted Circle.  Most of the campsites are along the river and there are sites big enough for 30ft RV’s.  The best sites are for tenters or those with vans right on the river but all sites are close to the river.  No hookups but water is available and the pit toilets were very clean.  It is a beautiful campground located under the Ponderosa Pines with some Fir and Spruce Trees.  Everyone can hear the river running southwest and there are some paths along the river for walking to the lake.  Fawn Lake (3 acres- four little lakes) is here for fishing which is also opened up to day trippers.  Beautiful lake stocked with fish.  The night we were there two young women were fishing at the lake and a bear came down the other side looking for food.  It is bear country so beware.  They now take reservations here since last fall and the rest are first come.   The cost was $17 and half with a pass.  Beautiful and peaceful stop for a night or more.  The four season town of Red River is less than two miles east on route 38 which is also on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.  This is the most popular byway and the one that is heavily promoted in the state of New Mexico.  My husband wanted to stay a week here, it was so enjoyable.

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Linda on

Remember the song Red river valley--I can see why someone wrote a song about it--getting into green country again--as much as I like the sw--I do like seeing green and see why George would want to stay a week--

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