Colfax County offers a wonderful variety of recreational attractions including state parks, national monuments, and historical sites like the St. James Hotel, the Shuler Theater, Brown Hotel and the Philmont Scout Ranch Mansion.
Several of the municipalities offer museums that include the history of not only that municipality, but also of the area and northeastern New Mexico.
Angel Fire Resort
The Angel Fire skiing rivals the best in the U.S. The slopes of Angel Fire open mid-December and close towards the end of March. Angel Fire offers something for everyone, including snowshoeing, glade skiing, snowboarding, snow mobile, and sleigh rides. Or, stay in the summer months to enjoy local fishing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and golf on the high-altitude 6,600+ mountain valley golf course. Visit the http://www.angelfirefun.com/ for more information.
Vermejo Park Ranch
Listed as one of 10 Villa getaways in Forbes magazine, Vermejo Park Ranch offers a range of activities including expeditions, fishing, and hunting. Vermejo Park was purchased by Ted Turner in 1996 and spans 596,000 acres located mostly in Western Colfax County. Elevations of Vermejo Park ranch range from 5,850 feet on the Canadian River near Maxwell, New Mexico to Big Costilla Peak which rises to 12,931 feet (3,941 m) on the western boundary of the ranch and the border between New Mexico and Colorado. Visit http://vermejoparkranch.com/ for more information.
Set in New Mexico's high country, where spectacular palisade cliffs and clear running waters dominate the landscape, Cimarron Canyon State Park is part of the 33,116-acre Colin Neblett Wildlife Area - the largest wildlife area in the state. The area offers premier brown and rainbow trout fishing and an abundance of elk, deer, bear, turkey, and grouse. A favorite area for birdwatching. Visit New Mexico State Parks website for more information.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park
Dam construction on the Cimarron River, which formed Eagle Nest Lake, began in 1918 and was completed in 1920. Eagle Nest Lake provides water for the municipalities of Raton, Springer, Eagle Nest, and Angel Fire and is a popular recreational site in northeastern New Mexico. The 2,200 acre lake is the newest state park in New Mexico and is regularly stocked with trout, salmon, and Snake River Cutthroat. Fishing can be enjoyed by land or rental boat, and ice fishing is available during the winter months.
Visitors enjoy the many specialty shops and restaurants along Eagle Nest's main street (NM Highway 64) and the village supports both the winter sports and summer sports through various rental shops. For more information visit Eagle Nest NM State Park website for more information.
NRA Whittington Center
For those who love the outdoors, the NRA Whittington Center,which is open to the public,is the largest outdoor shooting facility in the U.S. with a year-round schedule of events. The Visitor's Center houses the administrative offices, the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest, a gift shop, and the "Bud" and Willa Eyman Research Library.
Located on the property are several shooting ranges, camp grounds, RV and camper hook-ups, cabins, hiking trails, and the historical Van Houten coal mine. Visit the NRA Whittington Center website for more information.
Regional Aquatic Center/Raton Parks
Visitors are invited to enjoy water aerobics, lap-swimming, a giant water slide, and much more at the Regional Aquatic Center located in Raton.
The aquatic center, which opened in 2011, offers individual, family, and senior passes per day, month, or year. The aquatic center provides water zumba classes, water aerobics classes, and features a snack area that can be booked for birthday parties.
Raton also offers several parks for playing, picnicking, and enjoying the outdoors within the Regional Aquatic Center area. Activities range from playground fun to walking paths, horseshoes, disc golf, bocceball, and lots more.
The historic Shuler Theater in downtown Raton was built in 1914, was cleaned and restored in the 1970's, renovated with new seats in the 1980's, and continues to hold live performances today. This Rocco-style theater holds a total of 443 seats on the main level, in the balcony and the box seats area. Some of the performances held throughout the year include the Raton Arts & Humanities Council, Inc., for its annual performing arts series, the Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts Summer Repertory Theater, the Raton Youth Theater, the Raton High School Drama Club, and various local organizations' live performances brought in for the enjoyment of everyone. Visit the Shuler Theater website for more information about the theater's history, and the calendar of performances.
Housed in the tree-shaded former Colfax County Court House, built in 1881, which is on the State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places. Owned by the town of Springer, the museum is open during the summer season.
The museum includes many art exhibits and artifacts pertaining to the Santa Fe Trail and early pioneering life. This museum is a regional center for interpretation of the Santa Fe Trail and early railroad history.
St. James Hotel
The St. James Hotel first built in 1872, played an important part in the growth along the Santa Fe Trail. Many famous outlaws have stayed at the St. James over the years, including Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid and Thomas James Wright. It is said that some of these spirits still haunt these halls today.
Although recently remodeled, the St. James hotel has retained its haunted appearance, with the creaking staircase and tilted chandeliers. The rooms remain named as to where the outlaws stayed and room 18 which is said to be haunted by T.J. Wright will remain intact and un-booked as if he were still rooming there today. Visit the St. James Hotel & Restaurant website to learn more about this historic hotel. While you're there, book a room or make reservations.
Sugarite Canyon State Park
Sugarite Canyon State Park offers overnight camping in two separate campsites, fishing in Lake Maloya and Lake Alice, hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and boating (with electric motors only) on Lake Maloya.
The Coal Camp Interpretive Trail winds through the ruins of the Sugarite coal camp. Coal mining in the area provided an important economic boost to the region and state. The visitor center provides information about the coal camp and the area's history. The coal camp housing foundations can be seen in a walk behind the visitor center. At one time, the population of the coal camp reached more than 1500 and included its own amateur baseball team.
An extended cliff of basaltic rock columns, often referred to as "caprock," is the dominant geologic feature at the park. Visit Sugarite Canyon State Park website for more information.