Angel Fire is a small village situated in the picturesque Moreno Valley in the southwestern portion of Colfax County in the northeastern part of the US State of New Mexico. As per legends, the village of Angel Fire was named by the indigenous Moache Utes, who referred to it as “the fire of the gods” on witnessing the mysterious red and orange skies. With more than 2.0 sq. km of slopes, Angel Fire is a popular ski resort destination.
Geography Of Angel Fire
The village of Angel Fire covers a total area of 75 sq. km, of which 0.1 sq. km is occupied by water and 74.9 sq. km is occupied by land. The village is located at an elevation of 2,562m above sea level between the high mountains of Mount Baldy and Wheeler Peak. The valley of Cieneguilla Creek forms the heart of the village and is surrounded in the east and west by several housing developments over the mountain slopes. Angel Fire is situated approximately 34km east of Taos and 16km south of Eagle Nest via the U.S. Route 64 Highway. The 59.293km long New Mexico State Road 434 highway connects the center of Angel Fire village with the U.S. Route 64 highway in the north and leads for about 55km in the south connecting the village center with Mora. The 135km long Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway also passes through the village of Angel Fire.
According to the Köppen climate classification, the village of Angel Fire experiences a warm summer humid continental climate with mild summers and freezing winters. The warm season lasts from May to September, with July being the hottest month, having an average high temperature of 22.7°C and a low temperature of 5°C. The cold season lasts from November to March, with January being the coldest month, having an average low temperature of -12.2°C and a high temperature of 1.6°C. The village receives an average precipitation of 20.2 inches per year and an average snowfall of 122.9 inches per year.
The Population Of Angel Fire
In 2019, the village of Angel Fire had a population of 773 people with a median age of 53.1. As of 2019, about 70 people (9.06% of residents) of Angel Fire were born outside the country. The most common birthplace of the foreign-born residents of New Mexico was Mexico, followed by the Philippines and Germany. The largest ethnic groups in Angel Fire are the non-Hispanic White representing 75.2% of the village’s population, Hispanic White at 15.4%, two or more races (non-Hispanic) at 3.23%, others at 2.59%, and two or more races (Hispanic) at 2.07%. All the households in Angel Fire speak English as their primary language, and 95% of the village residents are US citizens. As of 2019, the median household income in Angel Fire was $59,063, and the median property value was $324,600. The average car ownership in Angel Fire was two cars per household.
Tourist Attractions In Angel Fire
Angel Fire Resort
Located on the eastern side of the Cieneguilla Creek Valley is an alpine ski resort named the Angel Fire Resort. The resort has a base elevation of 2,600m and a summit elevation of 3,254m. The Angel Fire Resort has over 2.3 sq. km of ski area, 79 ski and snowboard trails, a golf course with more than 70 runs, seven lifts, and three terrain parks. The Angel Fire Resort offers both winter and summer activities for its visitors. Several recreational activities like night skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, tubing hill, kid’s sledding, etc., are offered during the winter months, while many activities like cross-country mountain biking, golfing, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, Angel Fire Zipline Adventure tour, etc. are offered during the summer months.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Located close to the U.S. Route 64 Highway, about 1.6km from the Angel Fire Village limits, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial established by Victor and Jeanne Westphall to honor their son, Lt. David Westphall, who was killed in Vietnam in May 1968. On May 22, 1971, the Chapel was dedicated and believed to be one of the first memorials of its kind in the United States dedicated to the Vietnam Veterans. In 1987, the United States Congress recognized it as a “memorial of national significance.” From July 2017 onwards, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is managed by the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services.
It is believed that before the Europeans arrived, the Moreno Valley area was home to nomadic people. The Moache Ute tribes used to gather in the area during every summer and fall season to renew their ancestral ties with the Great Spirit. As per legends, during one of these autumnal celebrations, three young braves, after returning to their camps from their hunting expeditions, told people about the mysterious “orange and red glow” they had witnessed over the Agua Fria Mountain peak. One of their elders said that it was “the fire of the gods” that was blessing their autumnal celebrations. Later, when the Franciscan friars came to the area, they transposed the name as “the place of the fire of the angels.” In 1845, when the American frontiersman Christopher Houston Carson came to the area, he renamed it “Angel Fire.” In 1864, the full rights to the 1.7-million-acre property were acquired by Lucien B. Maxwell. However, everything changed after the discovery of gold in the Baldy Mountains in 1867. About 7000 fortune hunters reached the area, and the prospectors established the present-day ghost town of Elizabethtown. Charles and Frank Springer completed the construction of the Eagle Nest Dam in 1918. In 1954, the 9,000-acre Monte Verde Ranch and 14,000 acres Cieneguilla Ranch were brought by Roy and George Le Bus in 1954. About ten years later, they decided to develop the property into a resort community and name it “Angel Fire.”