100 Clayton Rd, Raton, NM United States (575) 445-3689 RatonChamber@RatonNM.US

Area Attractions

Historic First Street
Raton, Your Pass To Opportunity and Adventure!

Raton NM, where you'll find affordable living, clean air and streets, cool temperatures, ample wildlife and plenty of outdoor adventure year round to keep you fulfilled. Come for a visit and stay a week a month or a lifetime!

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10 Cool Facts about Raton New Mexico

  1. LAND FORMS in the Raton, NM area include mountains, hills, canyons, a volcano and mesas (similar to plateaus), 17 known sites of the k-t iridium layer.
  2. Climate: Lowest temperature normally is 14 degrees in January. Highest temperatures are high 80’s-mid 90’s in July. Winter normally is October – April and Summer is normally May – August. 
  3. From the 1840’s to 2001Raton was once the home of five coal mines and was a great contribution to the economy.                                                    
  4. Raton, pronounced Rah-tone, is the Spanish term for “mouse.”  The Raton Range, a 75-mile-long ridge, and Raton Peak are located immediately north of the town.  The Raton Pass had been used by Spanish explorers and Indians for centuries to cut through the rugged Rocky Mountains, but the trail was too rough for wagons on the Santa Fe Trail. There was a post office located here and was named Willow Springs from 1877 to 1879. From 1879 to 1880 it was called Otero, which was renamed Raton in 1880, because of the Raton Ridge, a geologic formation and the natural Raton Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, part of the Rockies chain. It was a natural passageway for the first Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad train (at one time it served 60 trains a day) to reach New Mexico Territory, in 1880.  The railroad decided to relocate its repair shop there, as it was a hard haul over the Raton Pass.  The trip warranted rest and recovery for both men and machines, and the town grew up around the railroad just south of the Raton Pass. The town of Raton was originally 320 acres.  The first public high school in New Mexico was founded and built in Raton in 1884 at a cost of $60,000.
  5. Within a year the population neared 3,000. Coal deposits, ranchland and railroad interests made Raton a prosperous town.  The first building in Raton was the Labadie House, built in 1882, a small stone building across from Ripley Park, located between 1st Street and 2nd Street. Raton was also the site of New Mexico’s first horse race track and opened  in 1946. Another notable for Raton was that it was the second city in the united States to have cable television, the reason being that ARF Products Inc., a Chicago based electronics firm was building a plant in Raton, and they designed their own cable television system. The formal opening was Sept. 9, 1953.                                                       
  6. The current Raton Mayor is Neil Segotta.
  7. The physical size of Raton is 8 square miles, elevation varies from 6,352 feet at the municipal airport to 7,834 feet at Raton Pass. Top attractions in the Raton area include:  Sugarite Canyon State Park, once a thriving coal camp (about 10 miles northeast of Raton at an elevation from 6,900 feet to 8,800 feet) the town’s watershed is located here at Beautiful Lake maloya,  Historic Shuler Theater, El Raton Movie Theatre, Climax Canyon Park and Nature Trail, Raton Regional Aquatic Center, Raton Golf Course, Goat Hill Overlook, Old Pass Gallery, Scouting Museum, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Raton Visitor Center, NRA Whittington Center (15 miles Southwest of Raton and is the largest outdoor shooting range in the US), St. James Hotel in Cimarron, Vermejo Park Ranch (owned by Ted Turner), Folsom Museum, Philmont Scout Ranch, and Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. The Mandala Center, Johnson Mesa Church and so much more!                                                         
  8. Festivities include the new Summer of Color project, an annual  Colfax County Fair Association Spring Round Up Dance,  4-H shoots at the NRA Whittington Center, monthly art  exhibits, walking tours, Cinco de Mayo on Historic First Street, Fishing Derby at Lake Maloya, Color Run, Run to Raton Car Show and Bike Rally, 4th of July festivities including the Santa Fe Trail International Balloon Rally, a parade, fireworks and Fun on First St, Lip Sync Contest, Relay for Life, M.O.M. and D.A.D. Race, Octoberfest, Lighting of the City of Bethlehem, Christmas productions at the Shuler Theater, Jingle Bell 5K.     
  9. Notable residents from the past and/or present include the “Folsom Man,” the first pioneer to visit Colfax County and occupy this area at least 12,000 years ago;  Tom W. Blackburn, a Western writer who also wrote the lyrics to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett;” Petro Vlahos, three-time Oscar awarded Hollywood special effects pioneer; Edwin Fullinwider, Olympic fencer; Noel Mazzone, offensive for UCLA Bruins football team; John Morrow, US Representative from New Mexico; John R. Sinnock, US Mint engraver known for work on the FDR dime; Robert W. Warren, Attorney General of Wisconsin; Dr. James Jackson Shuler, mayor of Raton from 1899-1902/1910-1919. Trappers from 1812-1840 include, Kit Carson, Charles and William Bent, Lucien Maxwell and Dick Wooten; Fireballs; rock & roll group who had a #1 hit in 1963 with “Sugar Shack” and #9 hit with “Bottle of Wine;” Richard Joseph Bonahoom, Raton Police Chief from 1940-1966; Steve Havill, Southwestern fiction author; Bennie L. Wooley Jr., racehorse trainer who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby;  Bill Fegan, producer, actor, director, agent and impresario of Raton’s Historic Shuler Theater  and recipient of  the first  Raton Treasure Award and in 2007 the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; Paul Modrich, PhD., winner of 2015 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry for his mechanistic studies of DNA repair, a Raton High school graduate in 1964.  May 19th, 2016 was proclaimed to be, “Paul Modrich Day” by the Senate of New Mexico
  10. Population in Raton is 6,157 people (in early 2015)                                                                                                                       

The beauty will leave you speechless! The clean fresh air will invigorate you! The friendliness of the residents will warm your heart. The endless opportunity for business and small town living will bring you back!   Click below to see a birds-eye glimpse of beautiful Raton NM. 


Link: True Overview of Raton NM