The Rio Grande Bosque

Rio Grande Bosque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
A path leading north along the Rio Grande from the Bachechi Open Space parking area.

 

The scene shown above looks like the middle of nowhere, but the photo was taken within the Albuquerque urban area. For "Burqueños" the Rio Grande and its bosque ("bos-keh," riparian woodlands) are a blessing of city life. The developed trails and lack of grades mean that "hikes" along the river are easy strolls. The bosque is heavily used so expect to see other strollers (with or without dogs), horseback riders, and bicyclists. But this ain't Central Park; you'll also find unofficial paths and extended moments of solitude. As the two photos that follow suggest, the bosque is accessible year-round, including when winter has made the area's rural roads a dicey proposition.

 

Rio Grande Bosque, Corrales, New Mexico
Hiking northward from Corrales, New Year's Day 2016
The Sandia Mountains from the Corrales bosque, February 12, 2017. Our plan had been to hike in the Sandias, but it was too darn cold and windy. Rather than give up a hiking day, we rambled in the bosque.
The Sandia Mountains from the Corrales bosque, February 12, 2017. Our plan had been to hike in the Sandias, but it was too darn cold and windy. Rather than give up a hiking day, we rambled in the bosque.

 

No point in describing specific hikes: there are multiple parking and access points up and down the river, on both banks, and a series of connected trails, so it's easy to craft a dozen different adventures. You can find multiple online guides and maps by Googling "Rio Grande bosque hikes." Whether you're a visitor or a native of Albuquerque, be sure to treat yourself to rambles along the river. Also, be sure to take binoculars and a camera, as you're likely to encounter a variety of birds and other wildlife. One favorite winter bosque activity is looking for snoozing porcupines in the branches of cottonwoods.

 

Porcupine, Rio Grande Bosque, Corrales, New Mexico
From ground level, this sleeping porcupine looked like a fuzzy ball. To see details like this, use binoculars or a telephoto lens. Click on the photo to see more images of porcupines!
Canada Goose, goslings, Rio Grande, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mama goose and her goslings on the Rio Grande. Dad brought up the rear.

Hawk, Rio Grande Bosque, Albuquerque, New Mexico