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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