Tour the Town
Truth or Consequences is a small, eclectic town known best for its healing waters and art community. The historic hot springs district that gave T or C its former name, Hot Springs, is bordered by the Rio Grande River. The district is a mixture of residences and public and private bathhouses, all within walking distance from Starry Night. The town is populated by native New Mexicans, retirees who come seasonally (known as “snowbirds”), entrepreneurial newcomers, and visitors drawn to the area throughout the year.
A view of T or C from just behind Starry Night.
Downtown Truth or Consequences consists of two main roadways: Broadway and Main. Broadway is peppered with boutiques, cafes, and local services. On Main you can find the movie theater, town post office, Geronimo Museum and a few more boutiques. The town is accustomed to travelers who are drawn to T or C for both its hot springs and local flavor.
The story behind Truth or Consequences’ city name is renowned among Southwesterners. In 1950, the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, hosted by Ralph Edwards, announced that it would broadcast its program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Obviously, Hot Springs, NM won the contest. Ralph Edwards subsequently visited the town for the next fifty years during the first weekend of May, a celebration which came to be known as Fiesta and continues to this day.
In addition to the annual Fiesta parade in T or C, the nearby city of Hatch hosts the Hatch Green Chile Festival. Both of these events bring out locals and visitors; they are rich in culture and personality. T or C hosts a monthly Second Saturday Art Hop, which brings the community out to stroll Broadway and Main where many artists’ spaces and galleries are open late.
The Hot Springs District.
One of many boutiques/galleries on Main.
Hot Mineral Springs
Because of the hot mineral springs, the Southwestern Native Americans considered the site of the present Truth or Consequences “neutral grounds” long before white settlement of the area. Here Native Americans gathered without conflict for the inter-tribal exchange. During the latter half of the 1800s, two great ranches were established across the southern part of the area now covered by Sierra County. Cowboys from one of these ranches, the John Cross Ranch, built the first adobe bathhouse over Geronimo Spring. At almost 2,700 parts per million, the waters constitute some of the most heavily mineralized water in the United States.
Hot springs overlooking the Rio Grande and Turtleback Mountain.
Private, indoor bath houses in the Hot Springs District.
Downtown T or C sits partially on a hill and spreads into the Rio Grande Valley, the lower part of which is above an aquifer. In 1942, the aquifer was estimated to produce 2.26 million gallons a day, making it one of the largest aquifers in North America. The water flows to the surface through faults, taking routes short enough that the water is still hot when it reaches the surface. The temperature of the water aids in dissolving minerals along the way.
The chart represents tenth of a part per million.
Some trace elements that appear in the water are iodide, gold, silver, lithium, sodium fluoride, potassium chlorate, potassium permanganate, and magnesium sulfates. Many of these have known benefits: sodium fluoride is a disinfectant; potassium chlorate and potassium permanganate are antiseptics and disinfectants; magnesium sulfates are more commonly known as Epsom salts. The effects of the hot water (approximately 107 degrees F) and the elements of the water work in concert. The hot water opens up the pores and the salts aid in pulling toxins from the body.
The Rio Grande
The Rio Grande runs through town about three blocks from the Starry Night grounds.
Sunset on the Rio Grande; just a few minutes walk from the residency.
The Rio Grande with Turtleback Mountain in the background.
Old River Road runs alongside the Rio Grande and is just minutes from the residency. It makes for a pleasant, quiet walk or bike ride, as does the Healing Waters Trail which takes you around town. Along the way are numerous spots that allow access to the river. During the warmer months of spring and summer, Whitewater Weekends are run by Captain Bob, who rents out tubes and boats to float down the Rio Grande.
A common sight in town, Captain Bob towing his rafts.
The backdrop of Truth or Consequences is Turtleback Mountain, which can be viewed from everywhere in town. Some of the best views can be seen from Turtleback Mountain Resort, a golf course and resort on the edge of town. The mountain also offers hiking and some incredible views of the surrounding area, including nearby mountain ranges and Elephant Butte Lake.
Turtleback Mountain at dusk.
Below you will find a list of some of the businesses in Truth or Consequences. There is also now an online list of retail establishments in the area, developed by the Sierra County Tourism Department.
Boutiques and Galleries
There are several galleries and artist live/work spaces in the downtown area, but only a few of which have web sites:
Judd Bradley Photography
January’s Gallery and Shop
Rio Bravo Fine Art
Dust and Glitter
Local Services & Stores
Hot Springs Frame & Art Supply
Foxworth Gabraith Hardware
Sun Valley, Inc “Do It Best”
Bullocks Sure Fine Grocery
Paws ‘n Claws Thrift Store
Community Thrift Store
Paloma Hot Springs & Spa
Hay-Yo-Kay Hot Springs
Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa
Riverbend Hot Springs
Artesian Bathhouse & RV Park
Cafes & Restaurants
Cafe Bella Luca
Happy Belly Deli
Black Cat Books & Coffee
Turtleback Mountain Resort
In addition to these unique local establishments there are also a smattering of more well-known places like Subway, Sonic Burger, Denny’s, McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut.