Rio Grande del Norte National Monument August Hikes/Events

Saturday-Sunday, August 6-7 2016

Range Tour: This driving tour will feature 14 stops and 21 speakers including ranchers and agency personnel, at sites on the Taos Plateau, Wild Rivers and Sunshine Valley. You will learn about rehabilitation methods that have been tried, identify vegetation species that thrive under different treatments, and see effects of thinning and fire on the pinyon-juniper woodland. To register for this free range tour, contact the Taos Soil and Water District: 575-751-0584 or email: Fourwheel drive vehicles are needed for Saturday’s stops.

Sunday, August 7 – 9 am, 2 hours, Petaca Point Trail, Orilla Verde ‒ Meet at the trailhead on NM 567, about 1 ½ mile drive west from Taos Junction Bridge for this easy 2 ½ mile round trip hike along the west rim of the Gorge with park ranger Randy Roch. The highlight is the view from Petaca Arroyo lookin g to the Rio Grande, and the petroglyphs found nearby.

Saturday, August 13 – 9 am, 2 hours, La Vista Verde Trail, Orilla Verde ‒ Meet at the trailhead on NM 567 just west of Taos Junction Bridge for this 2 ½ mile round trip hike on the area’s most popular trail. Excellent views, wildlife, and archeology highlight this trail; led by park rangers Len Schattler & Barry Weinstock.

Sunday, August 14 – 9 am, 2 hours, Little Arsenic Trail, Wild Rivers ‒ This west-facing trail will be nicely shaded for a pleasant morning’s hike. Join park ranger and local trail expert Alberta Bouyer at the Little Arsenic campground trail head for this 2 mile roundtrip hike into the Gorge. Talk will include geology of the area, and a bonus will be viewing the little-known petroglyphs at the bottom of this trail, shedding light on the cultural history of the area.

Sunday, August 21 – 9 am, 2 hours, John Dunn Bridge Ethnobotany Hike ‒ Meet BLM intern Allie Heller on the west side of the John Dunn bridge for an easy 1.5 mile hike along the Rio Grande. This hike will help you identify plants that are common in the Rio Grande Gorge, and learn about their historical edible and medicinal uses.

Sunday, August 21 – 9 am, 3 to 4 hours, Hondo (Staurolite) Canyon Hike, Orilla Verde ‒ Meet at the gaging station on NM 570, about 4 miles north of Pilar, where we will then shuttle vehicles to the Horseshoe curve on NM 68. This exciting off-trail route will lead us down into beautiful Hondo canyon for a different view of the gorge, wildlife sighting opportunities, and a chance to find some unique staurolite (fairy cross) crystals. This moderately difficult hike will be led by park ranger Randy Roch.

Saturday, August 27 – 9 am, 6 hours, Cerro de la Olla (Pot Mountain) Hike, Taos Plateau ‒ Meet at the Rio Grande Gorge High Bridge rest area; we’ll carpool to the trailhead on the south side of la Olla to begin the 4-mile sometimes strenuous hike to the top of the volcano. BLM archaeologist Merrill Dicks will talk about geology and the human history of the Plateau. Make sure to pack a lunch.

Saturday, August 27 – 9 am, 2 hours, Picuris/Slide Trail Loop, Orilla Verde ‒ Join park ranger Kim Henkel at the Picuris trailhead on NM 570 near Taos Junction Bridge. Kim will talk about the importance of springs, share some mining lore, describe the early history of sheepherding in this area, as well as the geologic features on view.