When explorers, fur trappers, and prospectors discovered the area, they put River City, as Red River was first called, on the map. Hundreds of gold, silver, and copper mines were carved into the mountain and Red River’s population soared. There were two general mercantile, a livery stable, two newspapers, a sawmill, blacksmith shop, more than a dozen saloons, several hotels and boarding houses, and a hospital.
The mines played out eventually, but soon homesteaders outnumbered prospectors. The town gained new momentum by renting abandoned mining cabins to flatland visitors seeking refuge from the heat. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Red River was designated the “mountain playground” that it is today.