Hot Spot: Wild Rivers Recreation Area, NM


The Wild Rivers Recreation Area is located within the Río Grande Del Norte National Monument and along the Río Grande Wild and Scenic River and Red River Wild and Scenic River. It’s about a 45 minute drive north of Taos, N.M.


If you like to push the limits in a variety of outdoor activities, this area in the high plains of northern New Mexico could be the answer. With its deep, steep canyons carved by the Rio Grande and the Red River, through dark, volcanic rock, the visuals are stunning.

The area is rich with history, rugged beauty, and challenging recreational opportunities. The region is stunning, with several spectacular overlooks including La Junta Point which looks out over the confluence of the Red River and the Río Grande.

Steep canyons on the Red River create multiple recreational opportunities.

Steep canyons on the Red River create multiple recreational opportunities.

Mountain biking here is readily available, as all roads on BLM lands are available for mountain biking. Best bets are the Rinconada Loop Trail, Red River Fault Trail, and Guadalupe Mountain Trail.

Most hiking trails begin from campgrounds where day use parking spaces are provided. Many trails are steep and hiking can be strenuous.

Need whitewater? It can be extremely hazardous here, requiring superior whitewater skills and specialized equipment. River access requires hiking boats and equipment into the gorge. All boaters must register or obtain a permit at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center or Little Arsenic Trailhead prior to launching.

There are five campground areas located at the Wild Rivers area. Each are equipped with tables, grills, drinking water, and restroom facilities. One of the best camping areas requires hiking down into the canyon to where 16 primitive campsites are located. There are two large group camping sites.

Are you an angler? Río Grande anglers are challenged by northern pike and brown trout. The Red River supports a fishery of rainbow trout stocked by the Red River Fish Hatchery located upstream of the Recreation Area. Anyone fishing in the area must have a valid New Mexico fishing license and a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Validation in their possession. Fines can be hefty.

For more details, contact the Visitors Center in Taos at 575-586-1150.
More information is also available here.

Photos courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Interior