Nestled between the Carson National Forest and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Questa is all about the outdoors. This area boasts stunning hiking trails, dramatic campsites, serene mountain lakes, and pretty drives for the less adventurous.
This is the northern gateway to the Enchanted Circle, but the rugged authenticity of Questa stands in contrast to the resort towns nearby. Just a half-hour north of Taos, this village is one in a long string of small, historic settlements that lie scattered up the Rio Grande. The Questa area was first settled in the late 1700’s and officially founded in 1842. It was a rough, remote location that was vulnerable to Ute raids for many generations.
A thick-walled adobe church stands at the center of this traditional community and gave the village its original name of San Antonio del Rio Colorado. ‘Questa’ was an Anglo attempt at simplification but became an official misspelling of the Spanish ‘cuesta’, referring to the ‘ridge’ where the old church plaza was built. This historic structure suffered major damage several years ago and is undergoing painstaking reconstruction by descendants of the very worshipers who built it. Visitors are invited to lend a hand every Saturday morning!
Questa today is renowned for its beautiful scenery. This is a favorite getaway for residents of Taos, and even Santa Fe, who wish to escape the crowds. There are trails here down into the Rio Grande Gorge, trout fishing in rivers and mountaintop lakes, and access the highest reaches of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This village is still home to farmers and builders, expert hunters and skilled craftspeople. The outlying neighborhoods have attracted artists and writers who enjoy the affordable land and independent lifestyle.
In 2015, Questa celebrates Luz es Vida, putting a regional spin on an international event series, UNESCO’s “Year of Light.” Light is indeed life in northern New Mexico! In Questa, light powers the entire village during daylight hours. Light supports an agricultural heritage, and the unbroken light across the sage stopped a couple artists in their tracks a hundred years ago solidifying an artistic heritage when the Taos Art Colony was formed.
With a kick-off event on Earth Day in April, a June open art show at OCHO Art + Event Space, to a not-to-be-missed Pecha Kucha held at the outdoor amphitheater in the Rio Grande del Norte Monument, this theme of light will be explored in all its traditional and cutting-edge glory. The series will end with the annual burning of Cucui during the opening of the newly restored Eagle Rock Lake east of town.
But, it doesn’t end there; stay tuned for information about the first annual Christmas Fair!
Questa Visitor Center. (Open May-September)
#1, State Rd. 38, at the intersection with Hwy. 522, Questa, NM