By David HerreraD
Some have considered Mora, NM as just a “pass through” town on their travels throughout Northern New Mexico. But Mora isn’t a “pass through”, it’s a destination! Just as rich in culture and history as it is in beauty, the township of Mora rests at the foot of the lustrous Sangre De Cristo Mountains and sits center of some amazing attractions and fun for the whole family.
Located along Highway 518, Mora was the central hub for a line of many industrial mills that used to be the financial driver of the Mora Valley. Still up and worthy of a visit are the La Cueva Mill, the St. Vrain Mill, and the Cleveland Roller Mill. In fact, every year for Labor Day Weekend the Cleveland Roller Mill hosts one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in Northeastern New Mexico attracting visitors from as far as Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. With great music, amazing food, and captivating tours of the working mill, this event never ceases to inspire.
If you make it to see the La Cueva Mill, make sure you visit the La Cueva Raspberry Farm located Just across the street from the mill. Open during the summer and early fall, the Raspberry Farm is the largest raspberry farm in Northern New Mexico. At harvest season you can pick your own raspberries and enjoy them on your own raspberry sundae at their delicious cafe, or you can pick up a jar of raspberry jelly at the La Cueva Souvenir Store.
Another mill that exists along highway 518 is the infamous Mora Valley Spinning Mill which is also home to the Tapetes De Lana Art Gallery and Store as well as The Coffee Barn snack shop. The Mora Valley Spinning Mill has been spinning and dyeing wool for customers, as far Canada, for the past 11 years. With tours available daily, you can experience the journey that wool takes from its washing all the way to its spinning into yarn. And you’ll enjoy all the art and creations you can purchase from Tapetes De Lana, created by local artists. Rugs, clothing, numerous hand-crafted souvenirs, as well as photographs and hand-painted pictures that will light up any living room. And if your getting exhausted from all the fun your having while in Mora, don’t leave without fueling up on some coffee or a snack from The Coffee Barn.
Also a part of the Mora Valley Spinning Mill are the Historic Hanover Hotel and the Historic Chief Theater of Mora. Originally a theater for plays and concerts, the Historic Chief Theater eventually was converted to a movie theater. Currently under renovation for re-open, the theater is currently available to the public for tours.
Mora is also the destination for some of the most amazing fishing and camping experiences that you can have in New Mexico. Just miles from Mora along a meandering creek is Coyote Creek State Park. Famous for its fishing, Coyote Creek State Park also offers a camping experience that will make any level of camper enjoy their visit. Offering sites with electricity, water, and Wi-Fi, those who hate to “rough it out” will feel comfortable with this park’s amenities, including their showers! Still, for those ready to rough it out, there are many campsites among the park that will allow you to cut yourself from society and enjoy the beauty of Mora. With trails to hike, fields to run in, and a playground for children, the whole family will have a memorable experience.
However, if lake fishing and camping is what you prefer, you need not worry. Just miles in the opposite direction is the “lake in the clouds”. Sitting at 8,000 feet, Morphy Lake State Park is another Mora destination that can be enjoyed for the day or an extended camping stay. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this hidden lake sits at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness and is stocked with rainbow trout, offering excellent fishing. Canoeing is also a popular activity and this pristine scenic spot offers a unique opportunity for primitive camping.
With quick access to more supplies within the town of Mora, extended stays at either spot are made easy without losing the sense of escape.
PLAYING IN MORA
Mora also proves to be a great destination for those who like to play outside in any season. Just over the hill from Mora rests Pendaries Golf Club and Resort. Offering one of the most illustrious and innovative golf courses in New Mexico, you will enjoy every hole you putt as you golf the mountainside of Pendaries Village. And don’t be surprised if you have to compete with some wildlife on the course! Offering breathtaking views and challenging fairways, Pendaries offers you to extend your stay at its motel, RV Park, or even its cabin rentals. With the ability to rent a cart to tour the course, frisbee golf, and even hiking opportunities, this destination is a must for the Mora visitor.
Another gem for your Mora visit is Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. Positioned perfectly along the Mora River, Sipapu is typically the first resort in New Mexico to open as well as the last to close. Any skier or snowboarder will enjoy a long season on the slopes with easy runs for the beginner and some of the toughest black diamonds you will ever experience. With their infamous snow castle and yearly cardboard sled races, Sipapu remains a key attraction for visitors to Mora. Even when it warms up, Sipapu remains one of Mora’s coolest attractions, with its frisbee golf courses, hiking trails, fishing spots, and concert events. With hotel rooms and cabins to rent, Sipapu is just one more highlight that makes Mora a spectacular destination.
Mora provides many other fantastic sites to explore throughout its whole county. A journey through our county could land you at Fort Union National Monument. Exposed to the wind, within a sweeping valley of short grass prairie, amid the swales of the Santa Fe Trail, lie the territorial-style adobe remnants of the largest 19th century military fort in the region. For forty years, 1851-1891, Fort Union functioned as an agent of political and cultural change, whether desired or not, in New Mexico and throughout the Southwest.
Or maybe you’d prefer to explore Mora through the lens of the old west. Mora County is home to the historic Santa Fe Trails. Santa Fe Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in that is 1.6 miles long and begins at 6,358 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 96 feet. This trail is guaranteed to give you beautiful sites with a travel filled with historic nostalgia.
If you find yourself on the interstate in Mora County, don’t pass the wonderful gem of the village of Wagon Mound. Resting at the foot of the infamous mound that looks like a covered wagon, the area is sure to bring back thoughts of the Old West. And if your visiting during Labor Day Weekend you’ll want to be sure to take advantage of the Famous Bean Day Celebration. Held annually, rain or shine, you’ll enjoy Wagon Mound’s rich history and community as they celebrate with parades, dances, music in the park, and some of the best BBQ in the state.
With all it has to offer, Mora is a worthy destination for any tourist looking for a great experience any time of the year. The Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce invites you to experience the wonderful world of the Mora Valley. Whether you come to tour the historic mills, fish our clean waters, camp our beautiful sites, or play alongside our wonderful mountainsides, you will not regret making Mora your destination.
Mora County has Representation in the Northeast Regional Marketing Board
Mora County, January 2019.– Commissioner Veronica Serna has taken the lead in the tourism industry project in Mora County, with the creation of the Mora Tourism Cooperative in 2018.
Jen Schroer, Cabinet Secretary of the Tourism Department, has appoint Mrs. Veronica Serna as a member of the Northeast Regional Marketing Board, here is some of the text of the letter:
” I’m grateful for your interest and enthusiasm in promoting your region and the state of New Mexico as a vacation destination.
Tourism in New Mexico has grow to be a $6.6B industry, employing 1-in12 New Mexicans and offsetting the household tax burden by more than $868 annually.
Regional Marketing Boards
Each regional marketing board focuses on product development—identifying unique experiences that exemplify the meaning of New Mexico True within that region. This means stronger collaboration with neighboring attractions and communities, crafting itineraries for travelers, working towards a regional identify that fits within the New Mexico True brand, and finding ways to cross-promote with other regions.
Each regional marketing board consists of eight members from the public or private sector, each of whom are directly involved in their community’s marketing efforts. The Tourism Department relies heavily on these key positions, which are appointed by Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham. We are looking for passionate board members with a strong interest in product development, a keen knowledge of their region’s resources, and a commitment to rolling up their sleeves and entertaining new approaches.
Board members are held to a standard of being the “brightest marketing minds in the state,” serve as a pipeline for information between the department and their region, and are willing to promote their region as a whole while learning about offerings from around the state. Meetings are held quarterly, and ongoing email communication and participation are also expected.