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Open Space Etiquette

These rules and regulations have been adopted to protect our valuable resources and enhance your outdoor recreational experience. If these rules are followed the use and enjoyment of Open Space will be fun for everybody.

Trail Etiquette

Trail EtiquetteEach year thousands of people enjoy Open Space trails. To ensure that all visitors enjoy their experience safely, users are urged to respect trail etiquette guidelines when sharing the trail with others.

  • Be Courteous
    Trails are for the enjoyment of all visitors. Please be courteous and respectful when encountering fellow trail users.
  • Pack it in - Pack it out
    Keep your impact to a minimum when on the trail - take your trash out.
  • Stay on Established Trails
    Well-built trails are designed to protect the land from erosion and promote preservation. When users cut their own trails they promote degradation of the fragile landscape and wildlife habitat.
  • Yield
    All users must slow and stop for horses. Cyclists must also yield to hikers.
  • Announce Yourself
    Let people know when you are approaching from behind and that you are passing on the left.
  • Pass on the Left
  • Share the Trail
    Keep to the right of the trail and allow faster users enough room to pass on the left.
  • Keep Dogs Leashed
    Promote wildlife preservation, enhance the wilderness experience for other users, keep your pet safe and avoid hefty fines by keeping your dog properly leashed.
  • Clean Up after Your Dog
    Not only does dog excrement stink, but it also spreads disease to other dogs and pollutes groundwater. Some trailheads provide "Mutt Mitts" to clean up after pets.

General Use Rules

Bicycle OfficersAlbuquerque Open Space is an ambitious program to preserve and protect unique land and cultural resources that have significant scenic, ecological, and cultural value to Albuquerque residents.

Open Space areas are patrolled by fully commissioned Open Space Police Officers. If you witness illegal activity, please call 242-COPS (2677).

Social Distancing on the Trails

Motor Vehicles

The operation of motorized vehicles is prohibited off the established roadways. Signs and barriers have been erected to inform you of vehicle closures or areas where vehicles are prohibited. Severe erosion has occurred because of unrestricted vehicle use.

All State, County, and City traffic laws apply in Open Space. Posted speed limits are enforced.

Do not block gates and park only in marked areas. Emergency vehicles may need to access those gates and vehicles blocking gates will be towed at the owner's expense.

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's)

"Unless exempted from the provisions of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, a person shall not operate an......"
rules and regulations for ATV's as provided by the Albuqueruqe Police Open Space Unit.


All pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than eight (8) feet.


Albuquerque's Major Public Open Space areas are home to an abundance of wildlife. Please respect the wildlife during your visit. You are a guest in their home. Most visitors can expect to see lizards, birds, rabbits and squirrels. Infrequently visitors may also observe snakes (including rattlesnakes), bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears. Attacks and injuries due to wildlife are extremely rare, and mostly occur when people provoke an animal. Remember, wildlife is a precious natural resource, and we are guests in their home. Please follow these simple rules if you encounter wildlife while exploring Open Space.

  • If you see wildlife, keep at a distance and remain calm.
  • If you encounter a large mammal such as a cougar, bobcat or bear, make noise and try and make yourself look bigger. They will typically run away.
  • Always keep small children in view.
  • Always keep dogs on a leash for their safety and yours.

For more information please see the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for more information on wildlife safety.

Cultural and Natural Resources

All archaeological artifacts, petroglyphs, associated historic and archaeological sites and boulders are protected. The penalties for vandalism are severe.

Stay on marked trails. Walking off the trails can damage fragile desert habitat and lead to increased erosion.

Do not disturb, remove, harass, or hunt any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, insect, or other form of animal life in Open Space. Fishing is allowed in the Rio Grande Valley State Park by permit only. All New Mexico Game and Fish laws apply in Open Space.

Do not disturb, cut, chop, or remove any tree, shrub, plant, cactus, or grass.

To protect fragile desert plants and grasses, activities such as softball, football, Frisbee, and other high impact recreational activities are prohibited unless expressly authorized by official notice or sign.

Public Property

Do not remove, alter, or damage any sign, barrier, fence, gate, or structure. Individuals responsible will be required to pay for damages.

Do not post any notices or signs without the permission of Open Space authorities.

Do not enter or use any building, parking area, enclosed area, road, or trail that has been expressly closed to the public.

Use toilets properly. Unsanitary behavior and litter thrown into toilet vaults or bowls only increases maintenance costs, which are passed on to the visitor through increased fees or taxes.

No glass containers allowed in Open Space.

Fires and Fireworks

Obey all fire restrictions. Check with Open Space before starting any fires.

Please see our fire information webpage for up-to-date information on fire warnings and restrictions.

Charcoal fires are permitted only in provided fire rings, grills, or fireplaces. You must provide your own charcoal.

Open wood fires are permitted only in the fire rings provided in the reservation areas. When fire hazards are high, no fires are permitted in Open Space areas.

Chopping or removal of firewood is strictly prohibited in Open Space. Firewood will be provided at reservation areas only.

Do not set off fireworks or other explosives in Open Space. Damaging fires have occurred due to the misuse of fireworks.

More information on the Use of Fireworks in Albuquerque


Camping is not permitted in Open Space without a permit. Please call (505) 452-5200 to request a camping permit.

Visitors to adjacent Wilderness areas (such as the Sandia Mountain Wilderness) may park their vehicles overnight. Please, check with a park attendant before leaving your vehicle. Vehicles left overnight are done so at your own risk. They will be locked in until the facilities reopen the following morning.


The discharge of any firearm, bow, pellet gun, BB gun, slingshot, paintball markers or similar device is not permitted.

See Shooting Range Park for information on public range facilities.


Hunting is allowed within the Sandia Mountain Wilderness Area, but is PROHIBITED on all Open Space properties. Anyone witnessing poaching can call the Albuquerque office of the NM Game and Fish Department at 222-4700 M-F between 8am and 5pm or on weekends and after 5pm call 827-9376. Please pay careful attention to National Forest Service and Open Space boundaries if hunting in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness.

NM Game and Fish Rules and Information, hunting season dates, etc. are available on line at

Boating and River Access

It is legal to float down the Rio Grande in kayaks, canoes, rafts and other non-motorized water craft. Most good access points for boaters are outside of Open Space Division jurisdiction. Some river bridges in the Albuquerque area do offer parking a short distance from the river, making it possible to carry a boat to the river.

The Calabacillas Arroyo where it meets the river has parking and direct access to the river. The northwest side of the Alameda Bridge is outside of the Open Space system but is a popular place to launch. Boaters must follow all New Mexico State Parks regulations. Please see the New Mexico State Parks boating page for full regulations and for more information about boating the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque area or call 1-888-NMPARKS.

Fee Areas

All Open Space fee areas are clearly signed. Please, pay the appropriate fee before using the facility. Vehicles that do not display a parking stub verifying payment of an entry fee or an annual permit are subject to being cited.

Public Behavior

Always be courteous when using trails. Everyone must yield to horses. Saddle and pack animals must stay on established trails. Mountain bicycles must stay on established trails and yield to hikers, and saddle and pack animals.

Keep noise at a low level. The use of radios, tape or CD players, TV's or audio amplifying devices or instruments is prohibited. Please see the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health website regarding local noise ordinances.


The Open Space Division is asking the public to help us conform with the City of Albuquerque's smoking ban. Please note that smoking in Major Public Open Space areas, especially the Rio Grande Bosque and East Mountain properties, creates an extreme fire hazard and should be avoided at all times.

Where are smoke-free zones?
The smoking ban affects: all City parks, all City property, city vehicles, Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza, Albuquerque Sunport

The smoking ban does not apply to:
City Golf Courses, Sidewalks

Organized Recreational and Business Activities

All organized and/or sponsored recreational events require approval and a special use permit. Organized events may be scheduled for a reservation fee. Call (505) 452-5200 for more information.

Permits are required for all commercial activities.

Geocache Guidelines

General Information

All visitors are subject to State Statues and County and City ordinances governing public conduct. The rules and regulations stated are those generally enforceable or permitted under Bernalillo County Ordinance 88-9 and City of Albuquerque Revised Ordinances, R.O. 1974, 5-6. Violation of any of these rules and regulations are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

For a complete listing of Bernalillo County and City of Albuquerque ordinances please visit American Legal Publishing Company