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BLM-guided Hikes in June

Get to know Rio Grande del Norte National Monument with an expert

A warm welcome to our new presenters for June’s BLM Hikes & Events Series centered on the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (RGDN)!

Carola Stearns, Ph.D. is a geologist/geophysicist with over 20 years of teaching and research experience at universities and colleges. She has worked in the petroleum industry and is currently consulting on projects with archaeologists in the Mediterranean region.

Flavio Cisneros has lived most of his life in Questa, where he taught history at the local high school. He has been involved in community affairs for years, including the rebuilding of St. Anthony’s Church.

Suzie Benton makes a welcome return to the BLM guided hike program. She has been a naturalist, park ranger, river guide, interpreter, and now human resource staff for the Taos Ski Valley.

John Bailey, BLM Taos Field Office
June 1, 2017

June Special RGDN Events

Saturday, June 3 – 9 am to 2 pm – 4+ hours
Trail Maintenance/National Trails Day
We are pleased to host the Enchanted Circle Trails Association’s first annual event to teach trail maintenance techniques and give something back to the trails we love. Meet at 9 am at the Cascabel Trailhead at the end of County Road C-110 (past the golf course). Bring a hat and gloves—we’ll provide the tools and transportation to the work sites. Bring your bike/helmet if you have one. Lunch will be provided at the trail head.

Saturday, June 17 – noon to 6 pm
Rally for the Rio – Amigos Bravos
This event will take place near the Taos Junction Bridge in Orilla Verde. Food, music and libations will be provided—free to members, and $10 for non-members of Amigos Bravos. More information.

Thursday, June 22 – Saturday, June 24
Wild Rivers Plein Air Festival
June 22—Plein air demonstrations at Sheep’s Crossing from 6-10 am, and at La Junta Point from 8-10 am.
June 23—demonstrations in the Questa area.
June 24—artists’ works will be on display at OCHO (on NM 38) from 5-7 pm, and will continue until July 23.
See their website for more information.

Free June Guided Hikes

Saturday, June 10 – 10 am – 2 hours
Geology Talk, Wild Rivers ‒ Meet Dr. Carola Stearns at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center for an orientation to the geological story of the Monument, then carpool to La Junta Point for a more detailed explanation of the Rio Grande Rift, the volcanic past, and the development of the Rio Grande Gorge and river system. There will be a short walk around la Junta Point area. She will focus on how geologic events of the last 70 million years have shaped the landscapes of the Taos plateau.

Saturday, June 10 – 2 pm – 2 hours
History Walk, Questa ‒ Meet park ranger Tim Long and local historian Flavio Cisneros at the Questa Visitor Center (corner of NM 522 and NM 38) for an easy walk in the center of Questa to hear stories about the history of this isolated Spanish frontier village, from Native American turmoil to hands-on church

Sunday, June 11 – 9 am – 2 hours
Family-Friendly Mountain Biking 1, Rinconada Trail, Wild Rivers
‒ Meet Shari Heier at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center at 9 am for a family friendly bike ride on the six mile Rinconada Trail—the ride will start at 9:30. Bring your bike, a helmet and water. Shari has years of mountain biking experience and can offer useful tips on riding techniques and the principles of ‘treading lightly’ on the land.

Sunday, June 11 – 9 am – 3 to 4 hours
Hondo ‘Staurolite’ Canyon, Horseshoe Curve ‒ Meet at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center in Pilar, then we will arrange carpools/ shuttles to the two end-points on this walk. This will be a difficult ramble through Hondo Canyon from the Horseshoe Curve down to the Rio Grande. Great, seldom seen views, wildlife viewing, cultural sites, and of course, the staurolites. Led by park ranger Kim Henkel.

Saturday, June 17 – 9 am – 2 hours
La Vista Verde Trail, Orilla Verde – led by local naturalist Suzie Benton. Meet at the trailhead on NM 567, just above Taos Junction Bridge for this easy 2.5 mile round trip hike. Sensational views and petroglyphs on our most popular trail.

Saturday, June 24 – 9 am – 2 hours
La Senda del Medio Trail, Orilla Verde ‒ Meet at the Pilar Campground trailhead on NM 570 for this easy 2½ mile roundtrip hike inside the lower gorge. This hike offers beautiful views of the gorge, wildflower displays, and a discussion about Monument ‘objects of value’. Led by park ranger Barry Weinstock.

Saturday, June 24 – 9 am – 4 hours
Guadalupe Mountain Trail, Wild Rivers ‒ Meet at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center, then carpool to the trailhead. This is a relatively steep 2.1 mile trail to the highest point in the Guadalupes with Ponderosa, Douglas Fir, and a spectacular view of a good part of north-central New Mexico waiting for you at the top. Park ranger Teddy Lucero will talk about the role of fire in this landscape, and also the ecological diversity that is one of the Monument’s objects of value.


Please bring a snack, hat, sunscreen, water and sturdy footwear
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center (Pilar) 575-751-4899 Taos Field Office 575-758-8851

Download a Visitors Guide to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, published in 2015 by MARKETAOS, in collaboration with Taos BLM. It includes a helpful map of the entire monument area, over 300,000 acres.


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