Rio Grande Valley State Park
Hours of Operation
- April - October: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- November - March: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Established by the State Legislature in 1983, this Park is managed cooperatively by the Open Space Division and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The 4,300-acre park extends from Sandia Pueblo in the north through Albuquerque and south to Isleta Pueblo.
The Rio Grande bosque offers a unique environment in arid Albuquerque. Large cottonwood trees, coyote willow, and New Mexico olive create a cool, shady forest and provide habitat for beaver, numerous bird species, turtles, and snakes.
Low-impact recreation such as hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, in-line skating, boating (see access points at the bottom of this page), and horseback riding are allowed on the Paseo del Bosque paved trail or the natural surface trail beneath the cottonwood trees.
The Paseo del Bosque trail is approximately 16 miles in length from Alameda Blvd. to Rio Bravo Blvd. and runs along the east side of the river. Natural surface trails run along both sides of the river intermittently and a myriad of unmarked trails wind throughout the bosque.
The Rio Grande Valley State Park Trail Map provides a guide to access points in the park system.
Paddlesports and River Access
- Learn about paddle sports and other activities in the .
Boating and river access is also available in the area for the paddlesports community.
Learn more about paddlesports safety in the Albuquerque area.
Points of Interest
Alameda / Rio Grande Open Space
From the Paseo del Bosque trail ducks, geese and other wildlife can be viewed enjoying the Alameda Wetland. This constructed wetland is intended to replicate the natural wetlands that historically occupied the floodplain of the Rio Grande.
Distinguished cottonwoods shade two picnic areas at the northeast corner of the Alameda bridge from the New Mexico sun.
Alameda offers ample parking and easily accommodates horse trailers. Access is on the southeast side of the Alameda Blvd. bridge.
A trailhead and parking for the Rio Grande Valley State Park. Calabacillas is located on the westside of the river off of Coors, north of Paseo del Norte. From Coors, turn right (east) on to Westside drive (3/4 of a mile north of Paseo del Norte; one-quarter of a mile north of Irving), then turn east on to the dirt levee road, and follow the road to the dirt parking lot.
Shining River Parking Area
This parking area provides quick access to the Paseo del Bosque multi-use trail and the bosque trail system. It also offers designated parking for horse trailers.
Access from Rio Grande Blvd. on the southwest side of Paseo del Norte.
Rio Grande Nature Center (RGNC)
The Rio Grande Nature Center, managed by New Mexico State Parks, is a wonderful and educational visitor center. The Nature Center overlooks a thriving pond that attracts a variety of wildlife including Canada geese, sandhill cranes, several species of ducks, and coyote.
A two-mile loop trail guides visitors under the cottonwood canopy to sandy point bars along the Rio Grande. To the north of the Nature Center visitors can observe wildlife enjoying the Candelaria Farm Wetland Preserve. The Wetland is part of an ongoing effort to restore lost habitat in the Rio Grande floodplain.
The Nature Center is located at the end of Candelaria Road. west of Rio Grande Boulevard.
Pueblo Montano Picnic Area and Trailhead
This multi-use recreational facility provides West-side access to the bosque trail-system; dedicated ADA and equestrian-parking areas; and an ADA-accessible picnic area with interpretive educational signage for the public to enjoy.
Pueblo Montano is located south of Montano Road; east of Coors Boulevard; and west of the Rio Grande river.
San Antonio Oxbow Overlook
This area has a short trail that allows access to an overlook of the San Antonio Oxbow wetlands from Namaste Road just off of Coors. The Open Space Division manages the San Antonio Oxbow as a wildlife preserve. There is no public access to the wetlands.
Rio Bravo Riverside Picnic Area, Fishing Pier, and Nature Trail
A fully accessible quarter-mile loop trail winds under a canopy of cottonwoods, passing by the quiet flow of the Rio Grande. Visitors can picnic at one of three sites or fish for rainbow trout from the fully accessible fishing pier. The Paseo del Bosque trail may also be accessed from the parking area.
To access the Rio Bravo Riverside Picnic Area take Rio Bravo Blvd. west from Broadway. Before the bridge turn right onto Poco Loco Rd. and follow it directly west into the parking area.
Rio del Norte Picnic Area
The Rio del Norte Picnic Area on the east side of the Rio Grande can be accessed via the Paseo del Bosque Trail There are several spaces to lock your bike here. Vehicle access is north of Central Avenue and west of Tingley Drive near the Albuquerque Biological Park. Limited parking spaces are available.
A fully accessible loop trail winds under a shady canopy of cottonwoods. There are a number of large picnic tables located along the trail and near the parking area. The trail provides excellent views of the river and migratory wildlife such as ducks, geese, and Sandhill cranes. The fully accessible trail connects to longer walking trails through the bosque.
The Aldo Leopold Interpretive Trail and Forest
The Open Space Division and a host of local and national organizations dedicated the The Aldo Leopold Interpretive Trail and Forest in February of 2009. The trail winds through shady cottonwood groves and a restored forest fire site, and has great views of the river.
Eight interpretive signs about the life of Aldo Leopold, who helped protect the Rio Grande Valley State Park are located along the trail. Bald Eagles frequent the area during their winter migratory season.
Parking is available at the Pueblo Montaño Picnic Area, located at Montaño and Coors. Walk east over the river and look for the sign for the Forest and trail entrance.
It is legal to float down the Rio Grande in kayaks, canoes, rafts and other non-motorized water craft.
In and around Albuquerque there are several places where you can access the river. A canoe or kayak cart can help make it easier to transport your water craft.
- The northwest side of the Alameda Bridge, located in the Village of Corrales, is a popular place to launch. Please call the Village of Corrales for more information at 505-897-0502. Note that the San Juan Diversion Dam just south of the bridge creates a hazard requiring a portage. Contact the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority at (505) 768-2500 or view more information about the diversion.
- The Calabacillas Arroyo on the west side of the river east of Coors Blvd. has parking and access to the river with some walking required. Calabacillas is located on the west side of the river about 1 mile north of Paseo del Norte on Coors Rd. Take Coors north to Westside Drive, Westside east to the dirt levee road, and then east to a dirt parking lot.
- The north side of the Central Avenue Bridge on both sides of the river offers limited access for boaters with some walking required to get to the river. The Rotary Club Park on the northeast side of the bridge has shaded picnic tables and walking trails.
- The northwest side of the Bridge Street Bridge has good river access adjacent to existing multi-use trails (some walking required). Limited parking is available on the southwest side of the bridge.
- The Rio Bravo Bridge has access with some walking required to reach the river. The northeast corner has ample parking and a picnic area. This site also offers a wheelchair accessible fishing pier.
- Several access points for boaters are available outside of the City of Albuquerque. Call the Boating Safety Officer at New Mexico State Parks at 1-888-NMPARKS or view more information.