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Mayor Keller, Open Space Superintendent, Bernalillo County, and Federal Partners Encourage Residents to Visit Less-Utilized Trails and Parks to Help Keep Open Space Open

City maintains more than 29,000 acres of Open Space in foothills, Bosque, and west mesa

April 3, 2020

The City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department through the Open Space Division maintains more than 29,000 acres of Major Public Open Space that contains hundreds of miles of hiking trails perfect for some exercise and enjoying Albuquerque’s perfect spring weather. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, City leaders are encouraging Burqueños to take advantage of less-used public lands while adhering to all social-distancing guidelines.

“As we head into the weekend, we want to keep our Open Spaces just that: open. But the overwhelming number of visitors go to just a handful of the most popular trails, creating crowds and increasing the risk of spreading coronavirus,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “With 29,000 acres of space, there’s lots of room for everyone, so remember when you take time to get outside, pass up those crowded trailheads and full parking lots and instead head out to one of our less busy spaces.”

Albuquerque’s Major Public Open Space is mostly composed of lands acquired by the City of Albuquerque. It also includes properties owned by other entities and co-managed by the Open Space Division, such as Petroglyph National Monument on the city’s west side.

Open Space Superintendent Colleen Langan-McRoberts said, “The more we spread out across all of our City’s wonderful Open Space, the longer and the more likely we will be able to keep these spaces open. Especially in these difficult times, having an outlet out of doors to find peace of mind and exercise can help keep our community together and support our mental and physical health and well-being.”

The 2,650 acres of the Sandia Foothills Open Space and the 4,300 acres of the Rio Grande Valley State Park, also known as the Bosque, are by far the most popular and heavily-trafficked areas, and visitors over the past few weekends have been met with large crowds and lines of hikers.

But the City also manages 4,200 acres on the west side around the volcanoes, on the mesa top, and along the volcanic escarpment that is included within Petroglyph National Monument, featuring vast expanses of mesa-top lava flows, small volcanic features, archaeological sites, arroyo courses and wide vistas.

Other options include the Tijeras Arroyo, Juan Tomas, San Antonito, Calabacillas Arroyo, Manzano, and Quail Rancho Open Spaces. The City also manages Open Space in Sandoval County and the East Mountains, including Golden Open Space and the John A. Milne & Gutierrez Canyon. For a full list, maps and other resources, visit

Other land management agencies in the middle Rio Grande area also offer excellent options for outdoor recreation. Bernalillo County’s outdoor trails are open. Trails are open at Petroglyph National Monument, though the visitor center and restrooms throughout the monument, which is managed by the National Park Service, are closed. Trails in the Cibola National Forest on the east and west side of the Sandia Mountains are open, but restrooms and some recreational facilities are closed. The USDA Forest Service also reminds the public to be fire aware as we enter the 2020 fire season.

While our Open Space trails are a great asset during this time, it’s critical that anyone visiting City Open Space and other public lands help take care of these lands as well. All trail users can help by practicing the following:

  • Maintain social distancing on trails of at least 6 feet from other trail users.
  • Keep group sizes to fewer than 5 people.
  • Pick up after your pets. Mutt Mitt stations and trash cans are available at most trailheads.
  • Pack out any trash from anything you bring with you on your hike (e.g. food wrappers, water bottles, etc.).
  • Stay on all designated trails to help reduce soil erosion and disturbances to plants and wildlife.
  • Enjoy, but do not disturb plants and wildlife.
  • Do not remove any artifacts, rocks, or other things that belong in Open Space.
  • Be courteous to other trail users and have fun.

Open Space trail users are also encouraged to remember general trail safety tips, like knowing where you are going, letting others know of your plans, and bringing a map, water, sunscreen and snack with you on any hike.

For more information on all of the City’s Open Space properties and trails, including downloadable trail maps, visit