During the summer, the temperature has a tendency to quickly cross the threshold from “perfectly warm” to “strap me to an AC unit.” Even with dry heat, there are times when you want to cool off. When that’s the case, take a drive to one of these seven New Mexico mountain towns to beat the heat.
1. Red River
Red River sits at 8,671 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Carson National Forest. During the hottest month, which is July, the temperature only averages 76.3 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can do plenty of hiking, horseback riding, and biking without overheating. However, that's still warm enough to make splashing around in the river enjoyable.
Cloudcroft perches 8,668 feet above sea level in the Sacramento Mountains and is encircled by the stunning Lincoln National Forest. During June, (the warmest month) the thermometer hovers at a very comfortable 73.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The town of Taos is 6,967 feet above sea level. During the warmest month of July, the temperature averages 85.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If that’s a little high for you, head up to Taos Ski Valley, which sits at an altitude of 9,321 feet or go rafting down the Rio Grande.
Ruidoso is nestled in the Sierra Blanca Mountains at an elevation of 6,729 feet. It's a veritable paradise for outdoor activities like fishing and hiking. With average temperatures topping out at 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the hottest month (June), you may still be tempted to dip your toes into Rio Ruidoso. Alternatively, kick back with a glass of vino at Noisy Water Winery.
Truchas Peak dwarfs the tiny town of Truchas, which is at an altitude of 8,000 feet. In July, the average high is 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re looking for a combination of cooler weather, solitude, and breathtaking views, this is your spot for summer.
The town of Raton is just south of the Raton Range, at an altitude of 6,680 feet. In July, the average high is 83 degrees Fahrenheit. To cool off further, take the brief drive up Raton Pass or scout out Sugarite Canyon State Park. The 130-acre lake there is a great spot for boating (non-motorized).
7. Los Alamos
Los Alamos rests on top of the Pajarito Plateau at 7,320 feet and provides easy access to the Jemez Mountains, including Jemez Falls. The average monthly high is 81 degrees Fahrenheit in July.
Have you visited any of these towns in summer? Do you love New Mexico’s small towns? Take a look at these
15 Slow-Paced New Mexico Towns!