Wild Rivers Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Wild Rivers Recreation Area

New Mexico

(575) 758-8851

Map Directions

Things To Do


The breath-taking views of the Rio Grande and Red River are enough to lure you into the scenic Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Come experience the rugged beauty of an 800-foot deep volcanic canyon carved by the natural, free-flowing Rio Grande. Though this natural wonder is intensively used, 90 percent remains in a natural condition; the other 10 percent is developed for concentrated recreational use. Spectacular overlooks, 22 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking, fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, and plant and wildlife viewing offer many different recreational opportunities. Oh, and don't forget to bring a camera along while visiting La Junta Point along the Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway -- possibly the most dramatic vista statewide!

Map of Wild Rivers Rec. Area

Latitude, Longitude: 36.687693, -105.678864



  • Bicycling

    Unless signed otherwise, all roads on BLM lands are available for mountain biking. Taos and Wheeler Peak maps, showing public land roads, are available at the visitor center. Mountain bike trails in the area include the following (bike rentals are available in Taos): Please stay on roads or designated trails and yield to hikers.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The 13-mile, paved Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway provides the visitor with access to the many scenic views and recreational opportunities in the Recreation Area.

  • Camping

    Wild Rivers has five developed campgrounds and a picnic area, each with tables, grills, drinking water and restroom facilities. 22 developed campsites are along the Gorge Rim. Four trails access 16 designated primitive r iver campsites, requiring a hike in, also are available. Park in a designated day-use parking area located at each trailhead. Camping is permitted in designated sites only. To protect vegetation, please use hardened tent sites only. No disorderly conduct or motor vehicle freeplay allowed.

  • Fishing

    Rio Grande anglers are challenged by northern pike, native brown and German brown trout. The Red River supports a fishery of rainbow trout stocked by the Red River Fish Hatchery located upstream of the Recreation Area. All anglers must have a valid New Mexico fishing license and a Wildlife Habitat Improvement Validation in their possession. Fishing Licenses are sold in Questa. To improve trout fisheries, Special Fishing Regulations are in effect on all river sections within the Recreation Area. The daily bag and possession limit is 4 fish per license holder.

  • Hiking

    Twenty-two miles of rim and river trails offer a variety of hiking options in the Recreation Area. Most trails begin from campgrounds where day use parking areas are available. See the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor's Guide for exact trail locations. Trails range from easy, interpretive hiking trails, to strenuous and steep hiking. Good physical condition, sturdy shoes, and plenty of drinking water are required. For more information on other trails in the recreation area, please stop by or call the visitor center.

  • Hunting

    Most of the Recreation Area is closed to hunting (except for the Guadalupe Mountains area); hunters are responsible for knowing where and when they are permitted to hunt. Discharge of firearms is prohibited within one mile of a recreation site.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic area is available, with tables, grills, drinking water and restroom facilities.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming is dangerous in the river and not recommended due to swift currents and cold temperatures. To protect water quality, swimming is not allowed in freshwater springs.


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



From Taos, follow NM 68 North seven miles. Take NM 522 approximately 20 miles to Questa. Travel three miles past the stoplight in Questa to NM 378. Turn left onto NM 378 and follow the signs about 12 miles west to Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Also see Wild Rivers Recreation Area Map.

Phone Numbers


(575) 758-8851