Magazine article Sunset

Wild Rivers, Cool Hikes

Magazine article Sunset

Wild Rivers, Cool Hikes

Article excerpt

In northern New Mexico, explore the Rio Grande and the Red River

Driving into the Wild Rivers Recreation Area north of Taos makes us feel a little as though we're traveling just beneath the roof of the world. Under a wide sky, the high-- desert country stretches out broad and open-enough to make any human feel small. Underscoring the point, this Bureau of Land Management recreation area became even larger this year, growing from 12,000 to 20,000 acres.

Just west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, at the junction of the Rio Grande and the Red River, New Mexico's Wild Rivers area offers some of the state's finest views and short trails. We drive north from Taos on State 522 and take State 378 west about 16 miles to the end of the road at La Junta Point. Here we pick up maps of the Wild Rivers area and information on its geology, flora, and fauna (the visitor center is closed for a few months during renovation).

La Junta Point (la junta is Spanish for the junction) is named for the confluence of the two rivers that collide about 800 feet below it. La Junta Point is a prime spot for cyclists, who can take off on the 6.1-mile Rinconada Loop Trail, which circles along the flat area up top, affording sweeping views. …

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