Gentle waters with occasional small rapids flow through Orilla Verde, providing an ideal setting for many recreational activities. Because of the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws many species of animals, including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, ringtail, mule deer, and many more. The Rio Grande also has attracted humans since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the recreation area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.
The climate at Orilla Verde is semi-arid, with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from October through March. Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees, and winter temperatures range from -15 to 45 degrees.
Anglers along the Rio Grande will be challenged by native brown trout, German brown trout, rainbow trout, and northern pike. All anglers, 12 years or older, must have the following: a valid New Mexico fishing license, a Wildlife Habitat Improvement validation, and a Habitat Management and Access Validation (Only those younger than 18, 100% Disabled Resident Veterans and Resident Anglers 70 and older are exempt from purchasing this validation.) in their possession. Licenses are available at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center. To improve trout fisheries, “Special Trout Waters” have been designated north from Taos Junction Bridge to Colorado. Anglers need to be aware of special restrictions which apply in this area (New Mexico’s fishing proclamation is available at the Visitor Center).