Scouting mission begins for proposed Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico

Hikers have embarked on a 500-mile expedition that will traverse New Mexico. The mission: Chart out the best route and identify what challenges might lay ahead as the state moves closer to establishing the Rio Grande Trail. Following in the footsteps of other states, New Mexico is looking to capitalize on its vistas, mild weather and culture with the creation of a...

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Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area

With its muted colors and striking geology, this unusual landscape feels like a martian planet. Pale, mushroom-shaped hoodoos loom above the rocky earth like enormous alien trees. Petrified tree stumps and ancient bones speckle the badlands like prehistoric markers of its long-gone inhabitants. Located in the arid San Juan Basin of northwest New Mexico, the...

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Tres Piedras Ranger District: Mosaic Rock

One of the wonders of northern New Mexico is the variety of landscapes in every direction. One day you can ski or snowshoe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the next be walking on the desert mesa above the Rio Grande. One of the less visited areas is the Tres Piedras Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, northwest of Taos about 30 miles. The area has stands...

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Trail Days in Silver City will celebrate the 40th birthday of the Continental Divide Trail

The 40th birthday of the Continental Divide Trail will be celebrated during Silver City Trail Days. The event takes place April 27-29, 2018 and is the fourth annual Trail Days festival. It not only celebrates the Continental Divide, but also the outdoor culture of New Mexico and Silver City being a gateway community. “Trail Days brings people from all over the...

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Interior Secretary Zinke cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale to frackers

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has canceled an oil and gas lease sale near Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico until the agency can further review the impact on cultural artifacts in the area. The sale was set for March 8. Zinke said that “there have been some questions raised” so the Bureau of Land Management will hold off on the sale of about 25 parcels on 4,434...

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UNESCO World Heritage sites in New Mexico

When people think of the United States, ancient ruins are typically not the first thing that pops to mind. Many New Mexicans are so accustomed to ancient ruins and petroglyphs in their backyard that they no longer marvel at their mysteries or splendor. Overlooking the historical and natural treasures of New Mexico is a mistake, detracting from the overall experience....

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Continental Divide Trail, from New Mexico to Montana, will challenge hikers

Bored with your extracurricular activities lately? Now’s the season to hike some outstanding Bureau of Land Management trails. While there are several trails the public can enjoy in the Las Cruces area, there’s one in southern New Mexico that will challenge a hiker’s skills and add some miles to their soles. We’re talking about the Continental Divide National Scenic...

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National Park Getaway: Valles Caldera National Preserve

Among the newest additions to the National Park System, the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve is a surprising gem at the top of the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico that helps earn the state its motto—“The Land of Enchantment.” Valles Caldera National Preserve enchants visitors with its stunning natural beauty and rich human history. Recreational...

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Court Lifts Injunction Blocking Mexican Gray Wolf Releases

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to lift a preliminary injunction blocking further releases of highly endangered Mexican gray wolves into the wild within New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) can now resume wolf releases within the state. Mexican gray wolves, or lobos, are the most endangered gray wolf subspecies in the world. Lobos are facing...

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New Mexico has sold 4 million acres of land to oil companies and development

  A Wilderness Society report finds that in a little over a century of statehood, New Mexico has liquidated about 30 percent of the land originally granted to it—nearly 4 million acres—and sold it to cattle ranchers, oil and gas companies, railroads and other development interests. The report underscores again why we should be skeptical of politicians’...

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Labor of love in the wilderness

Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians who frequent the forests and mountain trails outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe perform a vital role as guardians of these recreational areas. Each year, groups from local clubs put in thousands of volunteer hours to keep the trails clear of vegetation, repair weather- and fire-caused damage or create new routes to enhance the...

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Hopewell Lake provides historic setting for late fall hiking in Taos

Hillsides of bare aspen trees, with their alabaster trunks and rocky cliffs shining silent in the sun, mark the coming of late fall to Taos. With many sunny days ahead, this is a good time to visit the forest. Hopewell Lake Trail is located about an hour northwest of Taos past Tres Piedras in the Carson National Forest. In addition to being a beautiful trek through the...

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Autumn Drive from New Mexico to Colorado – A Photo Essay

The final day of our recent trip to New Mexico, my brother Dave and I returned to his home in Colorado. Along the way we stopped for some sight seeing in Los Alamos, NM, Pagosa Springs, CO and near Leadville, CO. When we originally left Colorado a few days before, the weather had been summer-like, and we had enjoyed the turning of the aspen trees to their brilliant...

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Trail 12 at Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

Valles Caldera is a 13.7-mile wide volcanic bowl in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico near Los Alamos. About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created this circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera. The Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000, signed by President Clinton, created the National Preserve. The preserve is known for...

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Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico – A Photo Essay

The Río Grande del Norte National Monument is comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones, and cut by steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths. The Río Grande River carves an 800 foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. Among the volcanic cones in the Monument, Ute Mountain is...

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Summer hiking in Taos: Gold Hill up and over to Deer Creek Trail

The wildflowers are bursting into bloom in the meadows high above Taos, New Mexico. Now is the perfect time to head up to the peaks above Taos Ski Valley to experience the beautiful and challenging hikes that begin there. The summit of Gold Hill is one of the most scenic destinations. This hike takes you through the forests, along streams and up into high-altitude...

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Desert Solitaire: Hiking the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in Northern New Mexico

Until very recently, the Bisti and De-Na-Zin Wilderness areas of northwest New Mexico were a locals’ secret. They were miles from anywhere, and you were more likely to see cow than a person when hiking around the 45,000 acres of dramatic and desolate desert. Over the last few years, a few high profile dinosaur finds, some effective marketing, and the internet have come...

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New hiking trail planned in Santa Fe area

Juan de Oñate, colonial governor of New Mexico, once used El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro to travel from Mexico City to a new Spanish settlement near San Juan Pueblo, now called Ohkay Owingeh, where he established the first capital of the province of New Spain. Now a portion of that route — the Royal Road of the Interior Lands — is set to be part of a new 15-mile trail...

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White hot stuff – Hiking Alkali Flats with Trail Snails

This feels like walking in soft marshmallows,” murmured Carolyn Dullum.There’s nothing like slow motion squish-walking down a gypsum dune. Trail Snails, a local hiking group, trek a most unusual hike into the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument, about an hour and a half from Ruidoso, New Mexico. “I’ve hiked Alkali Flats many times,” said Barbara Willard,...

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Winter hiking in Taos: Pescado Trail

Now is the time for hiking in solitude and snowy silence at Wild Rivers, just north of Taos, New Mexico. One of the less-traveled paths is the Pescado Trail that connects the Red River Fish Hatchery with the Wild Rivers Visitor Center. This trail gains about 800 feet over two miles and is considered a moderate trail in the summer months. Add a foot or two of snow and the...

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Winter hiking adventure at Ghost Ranch, NM

Not far from Taos, NM, there is a storied and luminous land called the Piedra Lumbre, or cliffs of the shining stone. One of the most famous parts of this area is Ghost Ranch: 21,000 acres located in the basin of the Rito del Yeso surrounded by red-and-gold cliffs. The Tewa people of San Juan Pueblo call the place T’ibuhu’u, which refers to a low, round place for a...

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Trees cut in national forest to make illegal ski trails

Numerous primitive runs for skiing or snowboarding have been illegally cut in a national forest in northern New Mexico, including part of a wilderness area, with a federal investigator estimating that those responsible cut down approximately 1,000 trees. The Forest Service is trying to find those responsible for the cutting spotted this fall by hikers in a high-altitude...

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Wolves release cleared despite objection

The U.S. Department of the Interior has granted permission for the release of Mexican wolves into the state despite objections by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Socorro County Board of Commissioners. Last week the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notified the director of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish that the Mexican Wolf...

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Valles Caldera transition to National Park Service celebrated

This sprawling parcel of land in northern New Mexico that’s home to vast grasslands and one of North America’s few super volcanoes became part of the National Park Service this past weekend. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, members of the state’s congressional delegation, tribal leaders and others gathered at Valles Caldera National Preserve for a celebration to...

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Long road to completion of Rio Grande Trail

Rio Grande Trail commissioners held their first meeting July 29,2015 to discuss creating a 500-mile recreational route through New Mexico. The task before them won’t be easy or quick. There’s a dizzying array of decisions and tasks to undertake before the trail will become a reality. It’s so early in the process, the commission has only a bare-bones digital page, housed...

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Spring hiking in Taos: Mica Mines at Ojo Caliente

A hike in the high desert followed by a soak at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs is one of New Mexico’s true pleasures. The plateau above Ojo Caliente offers gentle hikes through the desert landscape and views of mesas, cliffs, and mountains. The hot mineral waters soothe muscles tired from hiking and provide a feeling of deep relaxation. There are several trails that begin...

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Frijoles Canyon Nature Trail, Bandelier National Monument

The Puebloan people have lived in the American Southwest for many centuries. Archaeologists think they are descended from groups of hunters and gatherers who came to the region over 10,000 years ago. In the area that is now Bandelier National Monument, in Northern New Mexico, the villages of Tyuonyi and Tsankawi and their adjacent cliff dwellings appeared in the 13th...

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An experiment in privatizing public land fails after 14 years

It’s no secret that some state legislators in the West want to boot federal land management agencies from their states. They argue that agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service cost too much and are too detached from local values, and that states could make money by running our vast open spaces like a privately owned business. The Cato...

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20-year-old hiking group exemplifies the saying ‘friends are the new family’

Eight members of the Over the Arroyo Gang gathered at their regular meeting place, a parking lot off Hyde Park Road, dressed for one of their thrice-weekly hikes. The youngest was 63, the oldest, 83. All fit in mind and body. Three dogs came along. Some of the gang brought snowshoes, expecting to be hiking in deep snow. Others sported microspikes, traction devices that...

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Lawmakers propose 500-mile trail across New Mexico

Could New Mexico have a 500-mile long trail stretching from the state’s northern border with Colorado to its southern frontier? Several lawmakers said they’re serious about making the Rio Grande Trail idea a reality, though they acknowledged the ambitious project could take years to materialize. “This trail would be in the style of the Appalachian Trail or the...

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Winter hiking in Taos: Petaca Point

For solitude and sunshine, try winter hiking on the west rim of the Río Grande. A variety of trails follow the edge of the gorge and lead to dramatic overlooks with views down to the river and up to the snow covered mountains. These hikes can be found in the Orilla Verde (Green Ribbon) portion of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, south and west of Taos, New...

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National Park Service Starting Process To Establish Valles Caldera National Preserve

It won’t happen overnight, but the National Park Service is starting the process to integrate Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico into the National Park System. The national preserve was moved to the National Park Service from the U.S. Forest Service when President Obama signed into law the massive Defense authorization bill passed by Congress in late...

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