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Angel Fire

Feel the heat of an enchanted destination

Imagine riding just beneath the clouds in a hot air balloon, gazing out at panoramic vistas dominated by mountain views on the horizon, with beauty that can only be painted by nature’s brushstrokes. Exhilaration does not begin to describe what it’s like to become fully immersed in the one-of-a-kind experiences found in this Southwest vacation locale.

Named for the red and orange illumination of the sun rising and setting against a mountain peak, Angel Fire, New Mexico, is perhaps best known as the tiny village with a giant ski resort. But after skiers depart the slopes, Angel Fire does not slow down, offering visitors year-round activities, including the chance to simply relax and enjoy the surroundings.


New Mexico Tourism


The name “Angel Fire” is derived from the legends of Native Americans who occupied the area centuries before the first Europeans arrived. According to the folklore, the Native Americans determined that the red and orange hues of the rising and setting sun against the mountain peak—known to the Spanish as “Agua Fria”—was an omen that their annual autumn celebrations were blessed by their gods of fire. Agua Fria would eventually become known as Angel Fire.

The area around Angel Fire is inextricably tied to the Old West and the gold discoveries of the 1800s. News of gold found its way back East, drawing coal miners and farmers to the New Frontier. The nearby mining community of Elizabethtown emerged in 1867, becoming the first incorporated city of the New Mexico Territory.

At that time, the region boasted about 7,000 residents, who were steady customers of saloons, gambling houses, newspapers and a telegraph station. Between 1866 and 1907, miners had discovered some $6 million in gold around Elizabethtown. However, as quickly as the riches came, they evaporated. By the 1930s, the community was abandoned.

While the Gold Rush era waned, the area that is now Angel Fire enjoyed a healthy ranching and tourism business. By 1964, a year-round residential and sports area was developed around Agua Fria Peak, including the first nine holes of golf and the initial ski runs and trails carved through the forest. Thus, Angel Fire was born.


New Mexico Tourism

Things to Do

Balloons of every color—scores of them—take to the skies during Balloons Over Angel Fire every June. The beautiful craft fill the horizon with rainbow hues, a burst of color against the magnificent backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A number of ancillary events are also held, including the Chile Challenge Pro-GRT Mountain Bike Race, considered one of New Mexico’s most prestigious racing events.

The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway goes around Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico. The trip takes visitors 84 miles through the Carson National Forest, allowing for close-up views of the region’s amazing wooded valleys and majestic mountain passes. The Carson National Forest provides a number of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing and camping during the temperate summer months.

One of the most inspirational stops is the memorial chapel in Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park. If young adventurers want to ride above the earth, send them down a 1,600-foot tandem zip line over the forest floor. Laidback aerial transportation is available on Angel Fire chairlifts, which run year-round and offer stunning views from Agua Fria Peak.

The Enchanted Circle will also route visitors to the ghost town of Elizabethtown. The nearby Pueblo de Taos Native American reservation features tours of an actual adobe village.

Ready to live like a cowboy? “Home on the Range” never rang more true than during a ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Put on by Roadrunner tours, this excursion takes visitors through the woods and is followed by a chuckwagon dinner. This is a great family or group experience.

For More Information

Angel Fire Convention & Visitors Bureau

866-668 7787



New Mexico Tourism Department