Surrounded by mountains and located in Cibola County, Grants, New Mexico is the perfect place to unpack the camping gear or raise a family. Grants was named after 3 brothers: Angus, Lewis, and John Grant, who were contracted to build a railroad through this portion of New Mexico. First called “Grant’s Camp”, then “Grant’s Station” (which is now a local restaurant); it finally became known simply as “Grants”. The heart of American Indian country, Grants is about 70 miles west of Albuquerque and 80 miles east of the New Mexico/Arizona border. As of July 2002, Grants had a population of 8,921 residents and growing. Once a small farming community until 1950 when a Navajo rancher discovered uranium on Haystack Mountain, this town has now become a growing tourist destination.
For those like me who enjoy mild and dry weather, Grants is perfect. While I enjoy snow, especially around Christmas, it is a real treat to enjoy the beauty of snow one day and then throw on shorts and a tee-shirt the next day. The average summer high and low is 80/50. The average winter high and low is 40/10. During the winter months, it is not uncommon to see one group of people playing a round of golf at the Coyote del Malpais Golf Course located at the foot of Mt. Taylor, while another group are surrounded by snow high on the mountain itself.
One of the first things you will notice in Grants is the majestic mountains. Rising 11,
3001 feet, Mt. Taylor displays scattered rows of gorgeous Ponderosa Pine trees. Blazing a trail through these Pines one can find beautiful nature trails, delightful picnic spots, and scenic vistas which make you feel as if you have stepped right into a mythical painting. I have spent many a day loosing myself in nature in those mountains only to find myself going back the next day for another area to explore. Mt. Taylor stays occupied all year round with hikers, bike riders, skiers, and those inclined towards snowshoeing. One of the biggest events that Mt. Taylor boasts is the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon. Occurring annually on the Saturday of President’s Day Weekend, this event includes a 43 Kilometer bike ride, a 3.5 Kilometer snowshoe trek, an 8 Kilometer cross-country skiing leg, and a 17.5 Kilometer run.
While the mountains may be beautiful and innocent during the day, they take on a whole other personality during the evening.