Parks & Tours, Albuquerque
The Rio Grande Nature Center has one of the most beautiful walking paths in the city. Park your car at the Nature Center Parking lot for a small fee, stop by the Visitor's Center and Gift Shop, where you can sit in a glassed in observation area that overlooks a small lake. You can comfortably watch ducks, turtles and fish from just feet away. After that, hit the wandering hiking trail that takes you to the heart of the Rio Grande Valley cottonwood forest, known as the "Bosque" to locals (the second largest cottonwood forest in the world), until you reach the bank of the mighty Rio Grande river itself.
It is a beautiful, peaceful way to get in direct touch with one of the many natural wonders that makes Albuquerque and New Mexico unlike anywhere else in the world.
Perhaps this should be in the transportation tips, but a ride on Amtrak's "Southwest Chief" train will convince you that it is an experience unto itself!
Taking the train from Albuquerque to Gallup, New Mexico is about 2 hours but it goes by quickly as you view rolling vistas with gorgeous red rock, cattle, and horses.
From time to time Amtrak hires a genuine Native American Indian elder to give commentary on ranches, missions, pueblos, mountains and deserts. Zipping along through canyons that are sometimes only a few feet wider than the train or through the sun-drenched landscape, you'll feel the presence of the ancient tribes who found spiritual meaning in the rocky cliffs and canyons.
Under $30 bought me a ticket from Albuquerque to Gallup, New Mexico and back. At the Albuquerque train station Pueblo peoples sell their wares outside. A very quiet, respectful culture.
Food is available for purchase on the train, but a little pricey. Best to take your own snacks, and walkman with some good tunes for the ride back.
This is a wonderful tour to see Indian markings (petroglyphs) on volcanic rocks carved with Indian symbols of everyday life and wishes. The hikes are in three areas just north of US 40 and west of the city. They are off Unser Blvd. The hikes relatively easy, but all are walking in the sand.
Rinconada CAnyon hike is 2 1/2 miles RT and you see most of the petroglyphs there. It is 1 mile south of the visitor center and easily identified off Unser Road. The Boca Negra trails are 1/2 mile to 1 mile loops and go along a cliff base. Piedras Madre is north of the visitor center for 3-4 miles and turn right at Paradise Blvd-go right and then immediately right again. It is in populated area and surrounded by cliffs. The hike is about 1 1/2 miles
This is located off Hwy 550 in Bernalillo, and onto Tamaya Blvd for 5 miles north. That road is near the Santa Ana Casino. The reservoir is intended to not back up water, as much as to catch and deter the slit and mud of the Jemez River from flowing into downstream and Rio Grand river. It is a catch basin.The views are great from the top, and the drop below is 300 feet. The area has picnic available. It was built in 1950, and retains 120,000 acres for flood control backup and sediment storage.
This is located off US 25 onto Hwy 16. It is the water source for the Cochito tribe and surrounding people. The lake was down in depth due to drought. It is about 18 miles north of ABQ, and has recreation if desired, plus picknic and camping
It's small, and an aquarium in Albuquerque, a very much land-locked city, doesn't make much sense, but it's nice to visit and admission comes cheap when you get the package deal.