BLM: Fall Hikes and Events

By John Bailey
Manager, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
August 31, 2017

John Bailey, manager of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument at Lee Trail

This is the last of our series of guided hikes and special events in or adjacent to the Monument this year. I’m particularly excited about the September 21 BioBlitz, taking place from 8 am to 5 pm at the Red River Fish Hatchery near Questa. It would be helpful to bring your phone (Android or Apple) with the app iNaturalist already loaded. We will have a number of school classes participating in a communal citizen science training session. BLM, the Carson National Forest, and NM Game and Fish are hoping to create a cadre of local residents of all ages to help with the job of keeping our public lands in good shape. There will be things for you to do no matter when you arrive, or how long you can stay.

September / October 2017 Hikes & Events

Saturday, September 2 – 9 am | 2 hours
Picuris Trail/Slide Trail Loop, Orilla Verde – Meet at the Picuris trailhead at Taos Junction Bridge on NM 570 for this moderate two mile round trip hike. These trails give great views of the Lower Gorge, and a view into the past as well. Led by park ranger Barry Weinstock.

Sunday, September 10 – 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, September 16 – 4 to 9 pm | 4 hours
NeoRio 2017, ‘Seeds ~ Semillas’, Wild Rivers ‒ Seed-inspired art installations and activities on the rim of the Gorge at Montoso Campground at Wild Rivers. Kaitlin Bryson and Hollis Moore are this year’s featured artists, both currently pursuing Masters of Fine Arts degrees at UNM. Artist talks, live music, poetry, and a fall feast are part of the planned activities. More information is at

Saturday, September 16 – 9 am | 3 hours
Petroglyphs and Gold Dredges, Taos Junction Bridge – Meet local archaeologist Mark Henderson at Taos Junction Bridge for an exploration of the area’s history (and prehistory) – attempts to mine the area, Native American use, and the area’s use for river crossings. This will be a fairly easy walk, but with some hiking off trail.

Thursday, September 21 – 8 am—5 pm
BioBlitz, Red River Fish Hatchery – A Forest Service, BLM and Game and Fish partnership that brings volunteer scientists, teachers, students, and community members together to find and identify as many species as possible in a given location. The goal of this Bioblitz is to collect and enter data into iNaturalist while encouraging public land stewardship and citizen science, improve transparency in how science is applied, increase confidence in decision outcomes for public land, and enhance stakeholder support.

Saturday, September 23 – 8:30 am | all day
Cerro Chiflo Hike‒ Meet park ranger Teddy Lucero on the west side of John Dunn Bridge (access by B-007 from NM 522). This will be a 3 to 4 mile hike off trail, from the south-east side of Cerro Chiflo. Views of the entire Monument are spectacular at the top, which is a mixed-conifer woodland. Geology and wildlife will be the major themes. Plan on at least six hours of hiking—bring a lunch, snacks and water.

Saturday, September 23 – 10 am | 3 hours
Be An Archaeologist for a Day, Orilla Verde ‒ Learn to record petroglyphs, images pecked in rocks hundreds of years ago by Ancestral Puebloans. We will create petroglyph recording teams and go out and document what we find by drawing, photographing, measuring, using GPS and identifying. What are the messages left behind and what do they mean? Meet park ranger/educator Kim Henkel at La Vistas Verde Trailhead about . mile west of Taos Junction Bridge on NM 567 for this easy walk.

Saturday, September 30 – 9 am | 2 hours
Punto de Coyote Loop, Guadalupe Mountains ‒ Meet at the trailhead for Las Vistas de Questa Trail off of Don Martinez Road (turnoff is signed on NM522, about 1.6 miles north of the Questa stoplight). Led by park ranger Tim Long, this is a 3.7 mile roundtrip hike on the east side of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Saturday, September 30 – 9 am | 3 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, October 7 – 8 am | all day
Ute Mountain Hike ‒ Meet park rangers Teddy Lucero and Tim Long for this off-trail hike to the top of the volcano (10,093 feet). This will be a strenuous hike that will ascend 2,500 feet over 2. miles, mostly cross-country. Bring snacks, lunch and plenty of water. Meet your guides at 8 am at the Alta gas station in Costilla. High clearance vehicles are recom-mended to get to our trailhead.

Saturday, October 14 – 7:30 pm | 2 hours
Star Party, Wild Rivers Visitor Center ‒ Meet Lee Mesibov and other members of El Valle Astronomers who will be setting up shop at the Visitor Center parking lot to spend an evening with telescopes and information about the stars, planets and galaxies on view.

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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