Orilla Verde Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Orilla Verde Recreation Area

New Mexico

(505) 785-8851

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Orilla Verde Recreation Area is nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande, within the steep-walled Rio Grande Gorge. The local terrain is comprised of rugged, wide open mesas and chiseled steep canyons. The elevation along the river is 6,100 feet and rises 800 feet at the gorge rim. The Taos Valley Overlook offers stunning and breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Gorge and Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the mesa top above the river.

Gentle waters with occasional small rapids flow through Orilla Verde, providing an ideal setting for many recreational activities. Because of the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws many species of animals, including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, ringtail, mule deer, and many more. The Rio Grande also has attracted humans since prehistoric times.  Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the recreation area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.

The climate at Orilla Verde is semi-arid, with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from October through March.  Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees, and winter temperatures range from -15 to 45 degrees.

Map of Orilla Verde Rec. Area

Latitude, Longitude: 36.323726, -105.749136

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Activities

  • Boating

    Gentle waters with occasional small rapids through Orilla Verde provide an ideal area for canoeing, kayaking, and non-whitewater rafting. All boaters must comply with State of New Mexico and BLM regulations for boating safety, equipment, and registration. No launching or takeout is allowed other than at designated areas. Designated sites include: Rio Bravo Campground, Arroyo Hondo Campground, Lone Juniper Site, and Taos Junction Bridge.

  • Bicycling

    Biking is allowed on La Vista Verde trail. It is also allowed on the closed portion of NM 570, about 0.25 miles one-way. The dirt route travels up the Rio Pueblo canyon. The West Rim trail allows biking for a nine-mile one-way trip or 18-mile round trip. The Peteca Point trail allows biking, four miles one way, or eight miles round trip.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The area is a great place for a historic site auto tour. Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the recreation area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.

  • Camping

    Seven campgrounds, each with tables, fire grills, and restrooms. Four of the campgrounds also have drinking water and shelters available. Pilar campground and Rio Bravo campground both have RV sites with water and electric hookup. Pay showers are also available at Rio Bravo campground. Group shelters are available by reservation. Each group shelter accommodates up to 40 people.

  • Fishing

    Anglers along the Rio Grande will be challenged by native brown trout, German brown trout, rainbow trout, and northern pike.

  • Hiking

    La Vista Verde trail offers wonderful views up to the gorge rim and down to the Rio Grande. It is a 1.25 mile, easy one-way trail. The trailhead can be found on the north side of NM 567, midslope between the Taos Junction Bridge and the Gorge Rim. Other hiking opportunities also exist in the area, including Las Minas Trail, the West Rim Trail, and the Petaca Point Trail.

  • Picnicking

    Orilla Verde has seven campgrounds each with tables and fire grills available for picnicking.

Directions

Driving

The area is located south of Pilar via NM 570 at Pilar. The visitor center is located in Pilar, NM, at the intersection of NM 570 and NM 68, 2873 North State Road 68.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(505) 785-8851

Links