The Rio Grande is at the heart of New Mexico. It’s where our settlements began and our cities grew up.There is one New Mexico trail, in Albuquerque, that gives visitors an opportunity to experience the river, the bosque, and the surrounding city in an up close and personal way – the Paseo Del Bosque Trail.
The Paseo Del Bosque Trail follows the Rio Grande River through Albuquerque.
The Paseo Del Bosque Trail is a 16-mile trail that runs the entire north-south length of Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. Each section (denoted by parking/access points) offers a distinctive look at the city and life near the river.
Bosque is Spanish for forest.
A remarkable cottonwood forest, or
bosque, runs along the Rio Grande from Santa Fe, through Albuquerque, to San Antonio, where it ends at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. As well as offing us recreation and respite from the city, this green band through the desert provides habitat to wildlife and birds, like whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, beavers, kestrels, porcupines and scores of other critters.
Walk, bike, roller blade or hike the trail.
The trail is designed to be used by all types of people. The main trail is wide and paved making it an excellent surface for bicyclists, inline skaters, and those who enjoy walks on flat, level surfaces. The trail near the Pueblo Montano trailhead is even wheelchair-friendly. If wheels aren't your thing, other parts of the trail branch off through tree-lined paths and river easements. Dogs and even horses are welcome on the tail.
You don't need to cross any roads.
One of the best things about the trail is that you never have to fight traffic or cross busy streets. Though the trail access points connect at major streets, making the trail easy to reach, the trail itself either goes under or over the intersections via bridges or short tunnels.
Alameda Boulevard Access
The Alameda Boulevard access, in Albuquerque's North Valley, is the trail's northernmost access point. From here, you will likely see ducks, geese and other wildlife enjoying the Alameda Wetland. This wetland habitat was designed to be similar to the natural wetlands that should be along the river. The Alameda access offers ample parking and can accommodate horse trailers.
Montaño Road Access
The Pueblo Montaño access is located south of Montaño Road at Coors Boulevard. Here, in the open space adjacent to the trail, you can see a garden of chainsaw figures. After the 2003 Bosque fire, a firefighter carved the sculptures from charred cottonwood stumps. It's a reminder to all that we need to be good stewards of our public lands (and not play with matches). Both the picnic area and trail here are ADA accessible.
Campbell Road Access
The Campbell Road access is another great stop for wildlife fans. Stop into the nearby The Rio Grande Nature Center to pick up some local knowledge, then watch the birds and other wildlife from viewing binds. This is another part of the bosque designed to restore the wetlands to their natural state. There is no parking at the Campbell access but you can reach the trail here on foot.
Central Avenue Access
As you ride or walk by the Central Avenue access, heading south, you might spot the narrow gauge trains at the BioPark, or even get a peek at some of the park's animal residents. Also, you will be near Tingley Beach, one of Albuquerque’s most popular recreation areas. Here, you can fish, rent a paddle boat, sail model boats, and picnic. Bosque trail parking here is off Central Avenue, just west of Tingley Beach.
Marquez Lane Access
The thing to look for near the Marquez Lane access is the National Hispanic Cultural Center. This state-of-the-art facility dedicated to Hispanic art and culture has an art museum, performing arts complex, a library, and a genealogy center. If you need a pick-me-up while on the trail, pop into the on-site paleteria for a torta or frozen treat. Marquez Lane leads to open space parking. Reach the trail from there.
Rio Bravo Access
The Rio Bravo access is the end of the trail, or the beginning, depending on your direction of travel. At this southernmost trail access point relax in the shade of arching trees at Rio Bravo Riverside Picnic Area. Parking for this area is off Poco Loco Drive, west of 2nd Street right before the bridge crossing the Rio Grande.
Take a guided hike.
If you want to discover more about the bosque in Albuquerque, join a local naturalist for a guided walk the first Sunday of each month. Hikes begin at 9 am at the Open Space Visitor Center at 6500 Coors NE. The hikes are free but registration is recommended one month in advance. For details, call (505) 897-8831.
Have you hiked or biked any part of the Paseo del Bosque Trail? Which parts are your favorite?