Hiking News – Angel Fire Blog https://angel-fire-blog.com Angel Fire NM News Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Angel Fire Hiking Opportunities https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hiking-opportunities/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hiking-opportunities/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fire-hiking-opportunities/ BLM public lands in northcentral New Mexico include two outstanding Wild and Scenic Rivers — the Rio Grande and the Rio Chama — and three developed recreation areas — Wild Rivers, Santa Cruz Lake, and Orilla Verde. At these sites you can experience a whitewater rafting challenge; enjoy a breathtaking view of the 800-foot-deep river gorge; hike miles of developed trails; view wildlife; or visit an important prehistoric, historic, or active cultural site. Sit back and relax in the pinon, juniper, and wildflower fragrances . . . watch the aspens and cottonwoods change color . . . and then view the stars from a campsite perched on the ledge or our world-class river gorge. Choose your own path to the Taos Field Office and prepare to be enchanted by your public lands! ]]> https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hiking-opportunities/feed/ 0 Rio Grande Gorge Scenic Drive https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/rio-grande-gorge-scenic-drive/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/rio-grande-gorge-scenic-drive/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/rio-grande-gorge-scenic-drive/ The Rio Grande flows out of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in Colorado and journeys 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. It passes through 800-foot chasms of the Rio Grande Gorge, a wild and remote area of northern New Mexico. The canyon provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities, luring fishermen, hikers, artists, and whitewater boating enthusiasts. In 1968, the Rio Grande and Red River were among the first eight rivers Congress designated into the National Wild and Scenic River System to protect outstanding resources values.

A spectacular vista of the Upper Gorge is from the High Bridge Overlook. The Lower Gorge Area of Critical Environmental Concern covers over 16,000 acres of public land along a 14-mile-long stretch of the Rio Grande from the village of Pilar to the Velarde Diversion Dam.

Recreation opportunities on the river in New Mexico include biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking/backpacking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding.

Various facilities are available in BLM’s two developed recreation areas along the river – the Wild Rivers Recreation Area and the Orilla Verde Recreation Area. Click on the links for detailed information on them.

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Angel Fire Hiking at Wild Rivers on the Rio Grande https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hiking-at-wild-rivers-on-the-rio-grande/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hiking-at-wild-rivers-on-the-rio-grande/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fire-hiking-at-wild-rivers-on-the-rio-grande/ Wild Rivers Recreation Area has been set aside to allow visitors to experience the beauty of two national Wild and Scenic Rivers protected by Congress. Here the Rio Grande and Red River are preserved in their natural, free-flowing state for present and future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

The Rio Grande or “Great River” has sliced an 800-foot deep volcanic canyon through the high plains of northern New Mexico, rich with history, rugged beauty, and exciting recreational opportunities. This natural wonder is intensively used, yet 90 percent remains in a natural condition; the other 10 percent is developed for concentrated recreational use. Whitewater access draws visitors to the riverbank. The Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway, winding its way along the rim of the Rio Grande gorge, offers access to spectacular overlooks, including the confluence of the Red River and the Rio Grande at La Junta Point — possibly the most dramatic vista statewide, and it is wheelchair accessible.

The canyon ecosystem descends 800 feet from rim to river, creating a unique diversity in plant and animal life. Ancient pinon and juniper forests are home to 500 year-old trees. Watchable wildlife opportunities include mule deer, red-tailed hawk, mountain blue-bird, and prairie dog.

The climate is semi-arid with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from November through March. Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90F and in winter from -15 to 45F.

The following twenty-two miles of rim and river trails offer a variety of hiking options in the Recreation Area. Most trails begin from campgrounds where day use parking areas are available. See brochure map for exact trail locations. Trails are steep and hiking can be strenuous. Good physical condition, sturdy shoes, and plenty of drinking water are required. For more information on other trails in the recreation area, please stop by or call the visitor center.


Wild Rivers Nature Trail


  • Easy interpretive loop along the canyon rims of the Red River and the Rio Grande at La Junta Point.
  • Trail is approximately 1/2 mile long and takes approximately 1/2 hour to complete.

La Junta Trail

  • 1.2 miles one-way
  • Elevation drop 800 feet
  • Moderate to difficult
  • Spectacular views of confluence of Red River and Rio Grande

Little Arsenic Springs Trail

  • 0.7 miles one-way
  • Elevation drop 760 feet
  • Moderate to difficult
  • Good views of gorge; access to river.

Big Arsenic Trail

  • 1.0 miles one-way
  • Elevation drop of 680 feet
  • Moderate to difficult
  • Great views of river; cold-water springs; petroglyphs nearby

River Trail

  • 2.5 miles one-way
  • Relatively level; slight elevation change
  • Easy to moderate
  • Pleasant walk along river; trail connects with three other trails into gorge, making loop hike possible

Rios Bravos Trail

  • 0.25 miles one-way
  • Level
  • Easy
  • Self-guided interpretive trail with informational brochure.  Views of gorge

El Aguaje Trail

  • 0.7 miles one-way
  • Elevation drop 560 feet
  • Moderate
  • Popular fishing spot

Guadalupe Mountain Trail

  • 2 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain 1000 feet
  • Moderate
  • Great views of Taos Plateau and mountains; tall pines, wildflowers, cooler temperatures

Rinconada Loop Trail

  • 6.1 miles (loop)
  • Level
  • Easy
  • Walk in sage, woods near rim of gorge


  • 0.5 miles one-way
  • Elevation drop 320 feet
  • Moderate
  • Shorter access to river


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Angel Fire Meadow Trails https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-meadow-trails/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-meadow-trails/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fire-meadow-trails/ This series of trails makes use of 3 meadow green belts (Deer, Elk, Bear) connected at the west end by the Coyote Trail and at the east end by the Bobcat Trail. Deer trailhead is behind the Valley Market; Elk and Bear trailheads are off of Bobcat Trail and all go to Coyote Trail. Additional entries are off of Via del Rey. These trails are natural soft surfaced trails are well marked and friendly for hiking, biking, snow-shoeing, and x-country skiing. Alpine wildflowers, aspen, and many varieties of grasses are abundant on all of the trails. Old structures from the ranching days are visible with deer, coyote, elk and an occasional bear or bobcat as visitors at dawn and dusk.

Bobcat Trail provides connection between the Sendero del Sol Trail and the following greenbelt trails. The trail parallels Mountain View Boulevard starting at Frontier Square and intersects Sendero del Sol near South Angel Fire road. The trail is a mixture of old logging roads and natural surface wooded sections. Small ponds, wet areas, and mostly dry stream beds offer additional flora.

Deer Trail starts at the trail head and follows a series of cairns (rock piles) down the center of the meadow, intersects an old logging road which is followed until a sign directs you into the woods. The woods trail is marked with red diamonds on trees and is kept clear of dead fall. Passing through several meadows, the trail intersects Via Del Rey and connects to the Coyote Trail.

Elk & Bear Trails follow old grassy logging roads on the edge of wide meadows. Streams meander down the center of both meadows where cattle ponds and dams are visible. Both trails are easy and the best place to see wildlife at dawn and dusk. The vistas of the ski mountain are also beautiful. Both trails connect Coyote and Bobcat Trails

Coyote Trail starts at the intersection of Via Del Rey with Valle Grande Trail North. The trail is primarily in the woods with mostly gentle grades until leaving the woods at Elk meadow. To continue on Coyote take a right turn till reaching the Coyote sign. At this point you will cross a bridge and again enter the woods. Follow the cairns and red diamonds over moderate ups and downs until reaching several signs and another bridge. The trail splits, but both connect to Bear Trail. Bear Short is the shorter and easier of the alternatives.

One Way Length of Trails: Deer 1.1M, Elk 1.5M, Bear 1.7M, Coyote 1.5M, Bobcat .6M

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Angel Fire Sendero del SOL Trail https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-sendero-del-sol-trail/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-sendero-del-sol-trail/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fire-sendero-del-sol-trail/


Sendero del Sol is Angel Fire’s arterial trail. This trail will connect Monte Verde Lake to US Highway 64, roughly paralleling Mountain View Blvd. An extension to Eagle Nest Village is also planned. Two greenbelt trails (Solar Loop & Bobcat) provide opportunities to create loop routes, and to connect to other Greenbelt Trails


Sendero del Sol North and the Solar Loop Trail both start on the north side of North Angel Fire Road. The trails are connected near the solar panels by a bridge. The trails provide users with an opportunity to view the high technology solar panels, a meandering stream, and wildflowers associated with alpine meadows and wet lands.

Sendero del Sol South starts on the south side of N. Angel Fire road and follows a compacted gravel trail south along a stream and wetlands to Olympic Park. The combined views of the mountains, ski area, wetlands, ponds and wildflowers are wonderful. From Olympic Park, access to Oeste Vista Trail is just a short distance. The return loop north makes use of Bobcat Trail.

Bobcat Trail provides connections between Sendero del Sol Trail and the meadow trails (Deer, Elk, Bear). The trail starts at the Frontier Square sign and intersects Sendero del Sol Trail near South Angel Fire road. The trail is a mixture of logging roads, and natural surface wooded sections.

One Way Length of Trails: Sendero N .35M, Solar .35M, Sendero S. 1M. Bobcat .6M

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Angel Fire’s Lake and Lady Slipper Trails https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-lake-and-lady-slipper-trails/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-lake-and-lady-slipper-trails/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fires-lake-and-lady-slipper-trails/


Lake Trail and Lady Slipper Trail combine to give views of the lake, marshland, stream, forest and the mountains. There are many options to create a roundtrip distance suitable to each user. Both start at the parking area of Monte Verde Lake.


Lake Trail – This trail follows the western shoreline of the lake. Going South, opportunities exist to view fishermen, ducks, geese and the remnants of a beaver lodge. Approaching the south end of the lake, users must skirt the marsh area by exiting onto Lakeview Park Drive. Users may walk a short distance east and reenter the Lake Trail after the marsh area, returning to the parking area by following the east shore of the lake and crossing the dam. Another option is to go south on Alpine Lake Way to the trailhead of Lady Slipper Trail.

Lady Slipper Trail – The trail Leaves Alpine Lake Way at the trailhead sign and crosses a culvert into a narrow meadow with a small stream. Continuing on a mowed logging road the trail continues through a marshy area using several bridges then to the National Forest through a patch of woods. Look for wild flowers and grasses, especially the Lady Slipper flower that gave the trail its name.

The trail enters the National Forest through a fence using a people gate, turns to the right and turns left over a small bridge. Signs point to the Overlook or the Big Tree.

The Overlook is reached by following the logging road marked with blue diamonds on the trees. The Overlook has views of a beautiful pasture with cattle and the mountains. Follow the signs and diamonds through a small stretch of woods returning to the logging road. Crossing the main trail leads to the lower loop and eventually rejoins the main trail.

A short loop through the woods goes to the Big Tree, and continues to the logging road. Continue, returning over the initial trail until reaching the lake, returning on the eastern shore back to the parking area.

Round Trip Length of Trails: Lake 1.0M, Lady Slipper 2.75M

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Angel Fire’s Oeste Vista Trail https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-oeste-vista-trail/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-oeste-vista-trail/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fires-oeste-vista-trail/


The Oeste Vista (West View) Trail provides grand views towards the west of Monte Verde Lake, Angel Fire Golf Course and the surrounding hills including the Wheeler Wilderness. Wildlife and wildlife signs are abundant.


Oeste Vista – This trailhead is the only entrance to this loop trail! The Oeste Vista Trail is designed to follow the lower trail going south and the upper trail going north. Please follow this rule as the contour design and signs assume this route. The trail is well marked with red diamonds on the trees and is kept clear of down fall and debris. The first part of the trail is moderately steep, since switchbacks could not be used due to the trail threading between private property. Please stay strictly on the trail in this section!

The trail weaves south through a forest of pine, large ponderosa and clusters of pinion trees. Several ravines are encountered but they are easily crossed. At several places on the right of the trail, short excursions can be made to large rock outcroppings and fern filled deep ravines. Crossing the last and most dramatic ravine, the trail enters a series of switch backs. Following the trail on a gradual climb you will reach the southern most point of the trail. This is an excellent spot to take a break at the picnic table with views of Monte Verde Lake.

The trail then continues on another series of switch backs. At the top of the switchbacks is the upper trail. The upper trail provides the best views so stop and enjoy them often. When you reach a dirt road, turn left and then right at the signs. The trail intersects another dirt road and continues down this road. At a bend, signs will direct users into the forest along a stream. The trail crosses several small and narrow bridges and returns to the initial trailhead.

One way length of trail is 2.6 miles with an elevation gain of 500 feet.

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Angel Fire’s Current and Proposed Trails https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-current-and-proposed-trails/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fires-current-and-proposed-trails/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fires-current-and-proposed-trails/  

Angel Fire's Trail Network is getting larger and more connected each year. The overall plan is covered in “Angel Fire Trails Plan” approved and adopted on 15 November, 2006. The Trails Plan addresses both current and proposed trails

The Trails Plan was created and is managed by the Angel Fire Village Pedestrian Trail Committee. The Committee has representatives from AF Village, AF Resort, AAFPO, Moreno Valley Trekkers, and AF Garden Club.



The trail illustrated on the illustration are not the complete set. Other trails being considered include connecting trails to Sendero del Sol from the Community Center and AF Resort Hotel, and entrance trails into the National Forest and the State Trust Lands.


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USGS Launches Land Cover Data Web Tool https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/usgs-launches-land-cover-data-web-tool/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/usgs-launches-land-cover-data-web-tool/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/usgs-launches-land-cover-data-web-tool/

Today the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the launch of the new USGS Land Cover Visualization and Analysis Tool, which allows users to analyze, in specific detail, how land cover has changed over time.

Designed for both novice and expert users, the web-based system provides an intuitive interface able to selectively view and analyze land cover data from any web browser. The USGS is soliciting users to evaluate the preview release of the application. For more information, go to http://emmma.usgs.gov/landcover .

“Land cover data has been a largely untapped information resource. With increasing population and the challenging prospect of climate change, comprehensive information about the condition of our land, and how it is changing, becomes more and more vital,” said Barbara Ryan, USGS Associate Director for Geography. “An easy-to-use Web-based application that delivers national land information assets to a wider audience and clearly demonstrates how our environment is changing broadens opportunities to incorporate land cover data in decision making.”

Land cover, the pattern of natural vegetation, agriculture, and urban areas, is shaped by both natural processes and human influences. Information about land cover is needed by managers of public and private lands, urban planners, agricultural experts, and scientists for studying such issues as climate change or invasive species.

The newly released application allows users to:

  • Access land cover data for any area of the United States from any web browser without the need for specialized GIS software.
  • Filter specific land cover classes for specific time periods (e.g. view all urban or forest areas in 1990).
  • Clip selected areas by political, natural, or user-defined boundaries (i.e. user drawn areas, watersheds, or city, county and state boundaries).
  • Calculate land cover statistics within selected areas and print out simple reports.

A subsequent version of the application will also have the potential to serve the data as a Web service to external applications without the need for them to store and manage the data locally. This capability should improve information sharing between Federal agencies and promote greater efficiency by reducing redundant data collections. Other agencies participating in the development of the tool, as part of a national consortium, include the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Atmospheric and Space Administration and the Bureau of Land Management.

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Angel Fire Hikers at Risk of Plague https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hikers-at-risk-of-plague/ https://angel-fire-blog.com/hiking-news/angel-fire-hikers-at-risk-of-plague/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 https://angel-fire-blog.com/news/angel-fire-hikers-at-risk-of-plague/ Plague once struck mortal fear in humans, but it's a thing of the past, right? Not so, according to research published in a special issue of the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, which focused solely on plague.
Two of the papers in the issue were co-authored by a U.S. Geopogical Survey (USGS) researcher, and they reveal that plague has hindered recovery of the critically endangered black-footed ferret and several species of prairie dogs (including the threatened Utah prairie dog), and it's not just an episodic problem.

Plague's impact on other wildlife populations is cause for concern, Dean Biggins, USGS wildlife biologist and co-author of the papers, said in a USGS press release:

    The impacts of plague on mammal populations remain unknown for all but a few species, but the impact on those species we have studied raises alarms as well as important questions about how plague might be affecting conservation efforts in general.

According to the USGS, plague–a bacterial disease carried by fleas–arrived in North America in the late 1800s. As it spreads across an area, it devastates wildlife populations and can infect humans.

The problem with plague is it's difficult to detect unless there is a large death toll among a species, Biggins says:

    The overall difficulty of detecting plague in the absence of a large-scale die-off serves as a warning for those dedicated to wildlife conservation and human health. Hazards from plague may exist even where there have never been epidemics that caused widespread and readily detectable levels of mortality among local rodents such as prairie dogs.

As an example, the USGS cites the death of a National Park Service employee in Arizona who had contracted plague after finding a dead cougar which had been infected with plague.

Plague Persists in the Wild
The two research papers supported the idea that plague not only persists in the wild, but it is necessary to consider the impact of plague in conservation efforts.

The prairie dog research looked at how plague persists between outbreaks. Researchers theorized that plague remains and “is transmitted at low rates among highly susceptible individuals within and between their colonies,” the abstract states. The researchers tested populations after reducing flea numbers and concluded that their research suggests plague persists in prairie dog populations regardless of outbreaks.

In the ferret study, researchers provided flea control in one area as well as flea vaccination to individuals in both the flea-controlled and non-flea-controlled areas. The results revealed vaccination and flea control both increased the re-encounter rate, suggesting that plague is a factor in ferret survival rates.

While prairie dogs are a threatened species, the black-footed ferret is highly endangered, so the research into the impact of plague on the species could be vital to recovery efforts.

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