Rio Grande

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Trail Distance: 7 miles
Time Estimate: 3 hr 40 min +
Elevation Gain: 1309 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: $3
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description

Want to hike through a scenic river gorge with your best bud? You'd be barking mad to miss the Rio Grande Gorge Trail in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area! This seven-mile loop takes you from desert mesa to a riparian zone. On your descent, you'll follow a series of switchbacks until you reach the bottom. After walking parallel with the rapids, you'll ascend to complete the loop. Enjoy looking for a variety of wildlife and taking in the scenery.

You can park at the Little Arsenic Springs Campground and take the trailhead to the gorge. There are restrooms available here. As you start along the dirt trail, you'll pass from sagebrush into a grove of ponderosa pine and juniper trees. Once you reach the river bottom, you can watch the water rush over river boulders. This portion of the Rio Grande is a designated Wild and Scenic River. Hike along the banks for about four miles and watch for migratory birds, mule deer, and red-tail hawks along the way. Eventually, the footpath climbs back up to the La Junta Overlook Campground. Continue along the bluffs back to your vehicle. There are some pawmazing views from this area!

Fido can join you on your outing. You'll need to secure them with a cord or lead. Unfurtunately, they're not allowed to swim in the natural springs out here. Carry bags to collect any droppings. There are waste receptacles at the picnic areas and campgrounds where you can dispose of your pet's messes. 

The Rio Grande Gorge Trail offers a moderately challenging hike with pawtastic sights. Descend to the river's edge with your furry pal and watch the whitewater. On your return, head up to the bluffs. The campsite at the trailhead has tables and grills where you can share a picnic after your outing. Stay and camp in designated areas or head home after you complete your trek.

Trail Features
Steep Inclines, Desert, Rocky, Loose Terrain, River
Abundant Wildlife, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
Although most of the trail is pretty level, there is a steep section as you exit the gorge near La Junta. Make sure you wear sturdy hiking shoes to navigate the pathway here. Bring plenty of water with you for your trek.
Address
Little Arsenic Springs Campground Little Arsenic
Questa, NM 87556
Hours
Mon 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tue 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wed 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thu 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Fri 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sat 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sun 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
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Address
Little Arsenic Springs Campground Little Arsenic
Questa, NM 87556
Hours
Mon 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tue 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wed 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thu 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Fri 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sat 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sun 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM