Questa Ranger District

Green mountains with river running through the meadow at the base of the mountain on a cloudy day

The Questa Ranger District is nearly 271,555 acres and is located just south of the Colorado border in northern New Mexico. The district includes the communities of Taos Ski Valley, Questa, and Red River.

The Questa Ranger District is perhaps best known for skiing opportunities and the Valle Vidal, a special management area considered by many as a crown jewel of northern New Mexico.

The Valle Vidal is a sprawling, 100,000-acre swath of lush meadows, dense forests, craggy peaks and clear streams. After July 1, it's open season on the indigenous Rio Grande Cutthroat trout in the Rio Costilla and the other creeks that run through the area.

The first few weeks after the opening of the highly regarded unit attract a hefty amount of visitors looking to wet a line in the legendary Rio Costilla.

Donated to the Carson National Forest in 1982, the Valle Vidal is well known for its wildlife, as well as its outstanding scenic and recreational opportunities. The Valle Vidal is a veritable Rocky Mountain paradise, with abundant populations of regional wildlife, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, bald eagles, and native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. In addition, the vast alpine meadows of the Valle Vidal provide critical habitat for one of the largest herds of elk in New Mexico. The Valle Vidal is a special place to New Mexicans and people from around the world, who come to marvel at its alpine majesty, enjoy outdoor recreation and sporting opportunities, and to view the Valle's prized elk herd.

Three of the Carson's four ski areas are located on the Questa District. Taos Ski Valley is a premiere destination resort. The base is at 9,207 feet with the highest peak being Kachina Peak at 12,481 feet. Red River Ski Area is located about 35 miles northeast of Taos and offers 57 trails to ski on. The Enchanted Forest is a cross­country ski area on the district, which offers stunning mountain vistas along meandering forest trails for both skiing and snowshoeing. During the summer, all ski areas offer a wide range of activities from mountain biking to disc golf and downhill slides.

Some of the area's most dramatic hikes are in this area, with scenes that are reminiscent of landscapes from the "Sound of Music."