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Learn about the design of the Rail Trail.

Antoine Predock & Associates, in partnership with Pland Collaborative and Wilson & Company, are spearheading the design of the Albuquerque Rail Trail. This team will create a modern and artistic pathway that reflects the culture and history of the land of enchantment. It will transform our downtown neighborhoods and elevate the way we experience our city.

The Rail Trail is a 7-mile multi-use trail that will connect key destinations in the greater downtown area, while also encouraging economic development, healthy recreation, and cultural expression. Fundamentally, this project balances the utility of a pedestrian parkway with bold, innovative storytelling that makes the Rail Trail a canvas for explaining how we are united in this place.

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Predock created an evocative vision for the project that illuminates the essence and enchantment of Albuquerque. We all have a special connection to this place and a reason why we love Albuquerque.

Throughout the length of the trail, there will be distinct zones. Predock describes these zones as “auras.” Each aura celebrates the culture and history of that area. The auras contain “plazitas" along the path that serve as access points and gathering spots for activity and community. Each plazita will have a digital explanation of the zone featuring music, people, foods, and the broader “story of us.”

Predock identifies the following auras along the trail:

  • Rio: The Rio Grande sustains life in Albuquerque and draws people for agriculture, recreation, and ritual. The Rail Trail loop connects to the Bosque Trail, taking people to the river.
  • Origins / Albuquerque: Old Town is the historic heart of Spanish Colonial Albuquerque and a destination for locals and tourists.
  • Tiguex: The Tiguex people originally inhabited this land. This zone honors the first people to live here and recognizes that their descendants are still here and contribute to the vibrancy of our present and future.
  • Sawmill: The lumber yards were an important industry in our city. Neighborhoods grew around the sawmills to sustain the people who worked there.
  • Enchantment / Enchantment Plaza: From this zone, you can see the Sandias to the east, volcanos to west, and the enchantment of the sky and land everywhere you look. It is a celebration of the landscape that inspires all who see it.
    Industry: Factories and warehouses clustered along this area for ease of shipping dry goods and heavy materials. Family run businesses still fuel commerce in the zone.
  • 66: The Mother Road brought people to and through Albuquerque in the automobile. Albuquerque continued to be a crossroads for travel and commerce with Route 66.
A map of the Rail Trail with different sections highlighted in different colors.
  • Iron Horse: The arrival of the rail and trains transformed Albuquerque. The Rail Yards were once an economic powerhouse during industrialization. This area continues to be the hub for moving people and goods by train through the city.
  • Barelas: Barelas is one of the oldest neighborhoods that grew as a result of the railroad coming to Albuquerque. Barelas maintains many traditional ways and fortitude of the families that built this community.
  • Umbral: Umbral is the Spanish word for threshold. This place is the original crossing of the Rio Grande and the entry point for the Camino Real.

Predock places an iconic Albuquerque image front and center: the tumbleweed. Predock envisions a giant, electric tumbleweed that will be a key feature of the Rail Trail. The image of a tumbleweed rolling down the road is part of every Burqueño’s experience and is enshrined in pop culture. These plants are fantastic creations that lay down firm roots, keeping moisture in the soil for grasses, before they transform themselves and blow away. The tumbleweed represents our resilience and ability to both be grounded by our roots and move forward.

Electric Tumbleweed - At Grade.jpg
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Electric Tumbleweed - Under Central.jpg


From the first indigenous trade routes, through the colonial era, from the bustle of Route 66, to the modern era, Albuquerque has always been a city at the crossroads. That story transcends space and time, and is honored through the vision for the Rail Trail.