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BLM Hikes and Events in July

Free things to do and see in your national monument this July

By John Bailey, BLM, Manager of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

July 1, 2018

A reminder: although BLM-managed lands remain open to public access and use, we do have some fire restrictions in place – no open fires are allowed anywhere, including developed campgrounds, and smoking is limited to your vehicle or in areas that are clear of vegetation for at least five feet around you . And remember  – NO FIREWORKS ARE EVER ALLOWED ON PUBLIC LANDS!

Thanks to both Del Dubois and Jim O’Donnell for the National Monument photographs. These images are included in 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.

When you join us for one of these hikes, please bring a snack, hat, sunscreen, water and sturdy footwear. More information available from Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center (Pilar) 575-751-4899 Taos Field Office 575-758-8851.

July 2018: BLM Hikes and Events

Petroglyphs near the Rio Grande by Jim O’Donnell

Sunday, July 1 – 9 am 2 hours
La Vista Verde Trail, Orilla Verde ‒
The Monument’s most popular trail, this easy 3-mile roundtrip hike offers beautiful views of the gorge, some of the more studied petroglyphs in the Monument, and often, sightings of bighorn. Led by park ranger Kim Henkel.


Friday, July 6 – 6 to 7 pm
First Friday Lecture Chama River Flow Project, Steve Harris
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center, Pilar
‒ Steve Harris, founder of Rio Grande Restoration, will discuss efforts under way with volunteers and scientists from several government agencies to better understand the relationship between river flows and the resources dependent on them. The goal is to allow for flows on the Chama that can maintain healthy fisheries, riparian zones, and recreation pursuits.

Saturday, July 7 – starts 7 pm (stay as long as you want)
Star Party, Wild Rivers Visitor Center
‒ Meet members of El Valle Astronomers who will be setting up shop at the Visitor Center parking lot to spend an evening with tele-scopes and provide information about the stars, planets and galaxies on view.


BLM information center in Pilar is a good place to begin your visit. Photo by Del Dubois.

Sunday, July 8 – 8:00 am 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. Bring a lunch and plenty of water.


Big Arsenic Trail by Del Dubois

Saturday, July 14 – 9 am 3 hours
Big Arsenic Trail, Wild Rivers
‒ Guided hike down the Big Arsenic Trail with park ranger Tim Long. He’ll provide an overview of the geology, and natural and cultural history of this unique area, including a stop at some petroglyphs located near the Rio Grande. This hike is moderately difficult.


Petaca Point in Orilla Verde by Del Dubois

Saturday, July 21 – 9 am 2 hours
Petaca Point Trail, Orilla Verde
‒ Meet at the trailhead on NM 567 on the west rim, about 1 mile from Taos Junction Bridge. This is an easy 2-mile round trip hike. Led by park ranger Kim Henkel, this hike takes you to the well-known ‘Kissing Fish’ petroglyph site, which requires moderate agility to fully explore.

Hiking Rio Grande del Norte National Monument by Jim O’Donnell

Sunday, July 29 – 9 am 2 hours
Picuris/ Slide Trail cut-off Loop –
Meet at the trailhead at Taos Junction Bridge on NM570 for this moderate 2-mile round trip hike in the lower gorge. Beautiful views, dynamic history, and extraordinary geology. Led by park ranger Randy Roch.


Friday, August 3 – 6 to 7 pm
First Friday Lecture The Rio Grande, Dr. Paul Bauer
Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center, Pilar –
Author of the award-winning Rio Grande: A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico, Dr. Bauer will be giving an overview of why the Rio Grande is located where it is, and where it might be going.


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. Or purchase a copy for $2 at Taos Visitor Center or Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center  in Pilar.

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