North of Alameda Boulevard, the west bank of the Rio Grande is the Corrales Bosque Preserve, part of the Village of Corrales. It’s my recommended spot for winter porcupine spotting. Like any hike, bosque rambles involve hazards.
There’s no official trail system or map that I know of, but once you’re in the Bosque a main trail roughly parallels the river. Side trails are common; with a little patience you’ll find one that takes you to the river’s edge.
Access to the Corrales Bosque is all about finding a bridge across the Upper Corrales Riverside Drain. Fortunately, there are several. I’ll list my three favorite access points, from north to south. On a separate page I'll mention a few precautions.
From the North End of Corrales
This access point is at the end of a graded (dirt) off Corrales Road (NM 448). The turnoff is at the base of the long slope down from Rio Rancho Boulevard NE (NM 528), opposite Paseo Cesar Chavez. W. Stay on the west side of the ditch (the Corrales Main Canal) as you follow the graded road to its end. You’ll find yourself at a small parking area. From there, head either north or south along the west bank of the Rio Grande.
If you head north (as in the photo shown above), you’ll have homes to your left but the views (the Rio Grande, with the Sandias beyond) more than make up for that. About 3 miles upstream, public access along the riverbank pinches out and you’ll need to turn around. The opening and closing shots of a YouTube video show this option.
If instead you head south, you’ll soon have the Corrales levee and trees between you and the local homes, providing a more isolated feel to the walk.
The Corrales Main Canal doesn’t begin where you park. Instead it branches off the Albuquerque Main Canal on the east side of the Rio Grande, dives under the river in an inverted siphon, and emerges at the parking area before continuing southward. If you’re into civil engineering, take a moment to appreciate this feature of the local irrigation system.
From "Downtown" Corrales
If you've ever been to Corrales, you'll undestand my use of quotes. From Corrales Road (NM 448), turn ESE onto East Meadowlark Lane (paved). About a third of a mile later, immediately after crossing a canal and drain, turn right on Andrews Lane (graded/dirt). This road soon dead-ends where the local drain empties into the Upper Corrales Riverside Drain. Cross that drain on the bridge, follow one of the ramps onto the levee, and drop off the levee on a path into the Bosque.
From the South End of Corrales
From Alameda Boulevard NW or Coors Road NW, head into Corrales on Corrales Road (NM 448). About 0.4 mile along that road, Cabezon Road branches off to your left. Instead turn right onto a graded (dirt) service road on the north bank of a concrete-lined drain. About 30 to 50 meters after the turn, park at the locked gate and proceed on foot. After crossing the Upper Corrales Riverside Drain on the bridge, take one of the ramps onto the top of the levee and find a path leading down into the Bosque. While you can hike from here south, your better bet is to head northeast, into the heart of the Corrales Bosque. You can see one such outing in a YouTube video.
If you want to start your hike at the extreme south end of the Corrales Bosque, try parking at Bachechi Open Space and crossing the Rio Grande on the Old Alameda Bridge. I describe that parking option on my page on the Albuquerque Bosque.