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The first thing you’ll probably notice when you visit Red River is the smiles. People seem genuinely happy living in this small Northern New Mexico hamlet surrounded by the Southern Rockies. They are warm and hospitable towards visitors and show a sincere interest in wanting others to experience the magic of their town so they, too, can be in a perpetual state of contentment during their stay.
Red River has a rich history as a mining town that was originally called River City. Back in the late 1800s, when prospectors discovered the area, hundreds of gold, silver and copper mines were carved into the mountain with names like Golden Treasure, Silver King and Black Copper. In its heyday, the population soared to several thousand residents.
There were two general mercantiles, a livery stable, two newspapers, a sawmill, blacksmith shop, barber shop, more than a dozen saloons, several hotels and boarding houses, a dance hall and a hospital. And of course, there was the proverbial red light district. The mines played out eventually, leaving Red River on the brink of becoming a ghost town. Thankfully, though, there were enough hardy homesteaders who remained and in the late 1920s, Red River was reborn as a vacation destination. The high mountain lakes, streams, hiking trails and picturesque scenery proved to be magnets for those seeking a natural escape.
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