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 long-distance trail along one of North America’s longest rivers.

The Rio Grande stretches down the middle of the state, from the southern end of the Rocky Mountains near the Colorado state line to the bustling desert region where New Mexico and Texas intersect with the U.S.-Mexico border.

With its diverse scenery, supporters say the Rio Grande Trail has the potential to make the list of the country’s more famous long-distance routes. Neighboring Colorado and Arizona have their own namesake trails, and there are several others that are designed as national scenic trails.

While the official alignment has yet to be decided, this month’s expedition by volunteers with the Southern New Mexico Trail Alliance is aimed at scouting proposed segments and gathering as much data about water sources, camping spots, supply stops and not-to-be-missed scenery that could be incorporated.

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