BLM-guided Hikes this Fall

Submitted by John Bailey, manger of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Poster commemorating the designation of "National Monument" to the Rio Grande del Norte wilderness area
Poster commemorating the designation of “National Monument” to the Rio Grande del Norte wilderness area

Saturday, September 3 – 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 round trip hike inside the lower gorge. Beautiful views of the area on one of our newest trails! 2 hours, led by park ranger Len Schattler.

Saturday, September 10 – 9 am 2½ hours
Big Arsenic Trail, Wild Rivers ‒ Meet at the trailhead at Big Arsenic Campground for this 2 mile hike into the Gorge. Park ranger Alberta Bouyer will talk about the geology of the Rift, and take you to some petroglyphs near the river. The hike will be over in time to allow you to drive north to take in the Rio Costilla Studio Tour.

Sunday, September 11 – 9 am 2 hours
La Vista Verde Trail, Orilla Verde – Meet at the trailhead on NM 567, about ½ mile west of Taos Junction Bridge for this easy 2½ mile round trip hike with ranger Randy Roch. Impressive views from within the gorge and a compelling series of petroglyphs.

Saturday, September 17 – 9 am 2 hours
Slide Trail (old 570) Hike ‒ Meet at the trailhead on C-110 (about 3 miles past UNM’s Klauer Campus) for this moderate 3 mile round trip hike in the Lower Gorge. Many of the Monument staff think this is the perfect introduction to the Rio Grande Gorge’s geology and scenic quality. Led by park ranger Barry Weinstock. NeoRio 2016 – Plants, Pollen + Pollinators – Wild Rivers

Saturday, September 17 – 4 to 9 pm
Montoso Campground, Wild Rivers – Enjoy thought-provoking art installations on the rim of the Gorge at Wild Rivers. In its 8th year, NeoRio will feature projects by three artists—”Adrift-Migration-Home” by Lee Lee, “Reconciliation: Sculptures for Humans and Pollinators” by Viviane Le Courtois, and “Precise Breathing or Why I Call my Baby Honey” by Jenny Lynn McNutt. Each artist approaches the theme of pollination in a unique way. Along with the art and scenery, there will be a wilderness feast, campfire poetry and music. Organized by L.E.A.P. in cooperation with BLM. More information at

Sunday, September 25 – 9 am 2 hours
Petaca Point Trail, Orilla Verde ‒ Meet at the trailhead on NM 567, about a 1½ mile drive west from Taos Junction Bridge for this easy 2½ mile round trip hike along the west rim of the Gorge with park ranger Kim Henkel. Panoramic views of the lower gorge, some impressive petroglyph panels, and interesting geological features.

Saturday, October 1 – 9 am 7 hours
Rocks and Range Tour, Taos Plateau ‒ Meet Dr. Tony Benson and BLM fire lead Pat Pacheco at the Rio Grande Gorge High Bridge rest area for a day of lectures at sites on the Taos Plateau that shed light on the geological story of the Monument, and locations where BLM has worked to restore fire as a natural element of this ecosystem or to provide more wildlife-friendly vegetation patterns on the Plateau. High clearance required, 4wd recommended. Please bring a lunch.

Sunday, October 2 – 9 am 3 hours
Miners’ Trail Hike, Taos Plateau ‒ Meet park ranger Randy Roch on the west side of John Dunn Bridge; we’ll carpool to the trailhead on the rim about 5 miles north. This moderate 2 mile roundtrip hike into the Middle Box offers dramatic views to the east, and a chance to explore an interesting chapter of mining history in the Gorge.

Saturday, October 8 – 8 am 8 hours
Ute Mountain Hike – Climb a volcano on our last hike of the year, to the top of the highest peak in the Monument (10,093’). Meet at the Alta gas station in Costilla on NM 522 at 8 am; we’ll caravan in 4wd vehicles to the trailhead. This is a steep, long hike, gaining 2,500 over 3 miles in a wilderness setting with no trail. Be prepared for changes in weather, bring enough water for a full day, and a lunch to celebrate your arrival to the top of the volcano.

Please bring a snack, hat, sunscreen, water and sturdy footwear
Visitor Center (Pilar) 575-751-4899 Taos Office 575-758-8851
Visit BLM website

Download a Visitors Guide to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, published in 2015 by MARKETAOS, in collaboration with Taos BLM.

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