Four centuries ago, when Spain held sway in these parts, little Questa, 24 miles north of Taos, was the northernmost settlement in the Americas. Historically a mining town (the nearby molybdenum mine finally closed down in 2014), Questa has recently acquired a new identity as an enclave for artists, subsistence farmers and other organic types who choose to move off the grid.
The curious name comes courtesy of a typo when the modern township was founded in 1842: it was meant to be called 'Cuesta,' Spanish for cliff or large hill, which would fit its looks perfectly.
Just northeast of town, the Latir Peak Wilderness is one of the sweetest spots around, perfect for a rewarding night or two of backpacking, or an intense day hike. Scenic alpine trails that climb high above the treeline include a loop that ascends 12,708ft Latir Peak.