People think of New Mexico as a vast desert. New Mexicans know better! We have a plethora of lakes, streams, and rivers — some right in the middle of our towns. If you have a hankering for a leisurely stroll along a river, here are eight great walks. These paths are easy to get to and are good for walkers of all levels.
1. Red River Nature Trail (Red River)
This Red River trail runs along the river at the base of the mountains. Signs posted along the way talk about the area history and wildlife. Speaking of animals, there are a lot of ducks here and the occasional deer. The path is paved and has benches along the way. You can catch this Red River trail at several points including: behind the conference center, to the left of the platinum chairlift, or from over the bridge across from the library.
2. Animas/Berg Park River Trails (Farmington)
This beautiful trail system in the heart of Farmington runs along the Animas River and winds through cottonwood groves. You can walk, run, or bike the trail. Plus, the Riverside Nature Center and All Veterans Memorial are just off the path. For a short walk, try the 1.15-mile Bridge to Bridge Loop. There are paved spots here for seating, picnics and events. Access the trail via Berg Park at the intersection of San Juan Boulevard and Scott Avenue, Farmington.
3. Santa Fe River Trail (Santa Fe)
This shady walk along the Santa Fe River is a nice break from the bustle of the nearby Santa Fe Plaza. Along the way, enjoy a waterfall, check out a book from a little library, or have a picnic on the bank. Even though water flow varies, the path is well used. Reach the trail off Agua Fria Road, in Santa Fe.
4. Paseo del Bosque Trail (Albuquerque)
The Paseo del Bosque Trail stretches the north-south length of Albuquerque through the cottonwood bosque (forest) along the Rio Grande. The 16-mile trail has several access points, each offering a different look at the river and surrounding city. At the Alameda Boulevard access, check out view of the Alameda Wetland. At Montano Boulevard, there is a picnic area and carvings made from cottonwood stumps. From Central Avenue, NE, it's just a short walk to Tingly Beach and its public art walking tour.
5. Jemez River East Fork (Jemez Springs)
The East Fork of the Jemez River starts out in the Valles Caldera as a meandering stream and runs through the heart of the popular Jemez Mountain recreation area. Enjoy its beauty on the East Fork Trail (Forest Trail 137). Unlike some river trails in New Mexico, the Jemez River East Fork Trail is a relaxing out-and-back walk. Find McCauley Warm Springs about two miles from the Battleship Rock Trail Head. The trail head is off New Mexico State Highway 4.
6. Rito San Jose (Cuba)
Enjoy views of Cuba Mesa and the Nacimiento Mountains along this easy, round-trip walk. The short trail runs over a drainage, then out to the rim of a small canyon. Continue down the trail to a willow-covered river terrace loop. The trail begins at a parking area on the Cubita Road, one mile north of the New Mexico 197 junction, in Cuba.
7. La Llorona Multi-Use Path (Las Cruces)
The La Llorona Multi-Use Path runs for about five miles along the Rio Grande. Walk or bike here, and even skate. For those tracking their walk distance, the trail is marked every half mile. La Llorona Trail is one of the most recent segments added to the Rio Grande Trail, the long-distance trail that stretches through New Mexico. Catch the trail paved trail at 3491 W. Picacho Avenue, in Las Cruces.
8. Big Ditch Riverwalk Park (Silver City)
This Silver City trail shows what can be done with a little community spirit. Once a dumping area, this ditch has been transformed into a tree-lined urban trail. In the heart of the historic district, the park and trail offer a shady respite from the mid-day sun. Be sure to read the signs along the path that tell the story of the ditch. A just-added mural depicts the ditch's history too. Find the Big Ditch in the historic downtown area of Silver City.
Where are you favorite river trails? Talk to us. Leave your comments below.
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