Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River

Map of Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument

Took another photographic outing to the lower end of our newest national monument. There are other accesses to the beauty this monument holds but from where I live the lower end is the easiest to access. Many of the highway travelers to Taos are familiar with the scene below taken after the horseshoe turn. Turning north off of Hwy 68 on to 570 at Pillar gets you into the beautiful camping and day access areas of the monument.

Rio Grande Gorge in the Taos Volcanic Plateau
The Rio Grande River is very low because of the drought but my photographic partner and I were thrill to find the river a bit higher than our last trip due to recent rains.

 The gorge and canyon walls that enclose the Rio Grande in the monument area are primarily basalt. The Taos Volcanic plateau was formed by seven different lava flows. The remnant cones of the volcanos are throughout the park area. But between flows the run off created layers of sandstone and gravel. And along the river there are areas of soil and sand where vegetation has taken hold.

And because the flow of the river has been diminished due to the drought there are even some mid river islands forming. Fly fishing is one of the favorite activities in the river, as well as rafting. White water rafting this year has been in short supply.

Fly fishing in the Rio Grande

Study for future painting?

On the left of the above picture you can see a park road which is dotted with day use areas and camping grounds. And in the picture below you can see to the right one of the more popular trails that access some great hiking areas. As you go north beyond this point the canyon walls get taller and access to the top or from the top is more limited.

Looking North

Take out point for rafts
County line roadside overlook is actually below the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument but still on the Rio Grande. It is below the Rio Grande Visitor's Center and one of the popular pull out areas for rafting outfitters. It is within Bureau of Land Management control and very nicely managed.

A sign of the drought

The low water makes for more stones visible which was a great photo opportunity. The river polished rocks made for texture but when the water is high they make for white water. Hopefully the clouds will make for more rain.


High or low the Rio Grande Gorge makes for great photographs. And a great place to tune out from the rest of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jacqui, what a fantastic post. The photos are stunning and the one you picked for possible painting? Yes indeed. It is really great to know something about your environment that I would never know about.
    You rock girl!


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