El Rito, (Spanish for "little river"), is located on NM- 554; 18 miles NW of Española and 15 miles NW of Ojo Caliente. Originally named El Rito Colorado (the red creek), it took its name from the creek that passes through the village. Tewas call the El Rito region "pink below place" for the El Rito Mountains, which they call the pink mountains.
El Rito was one of the first Spanish settlements in northern New Mexico. It also is home to the oldest church in New Mexico (Church of San Juan Nepomuceno). It is also the home of the Carson National Forest Service, the El Rito Public Library, the Las Clinicas del Norte, and a campus of Northern New Mexico College.
This is a wonderful, culturally-rich little town to explore.