The Vision

The Rio Grande Trail is New Mexico’s cross-state, recreational trail for hiking, biking, and horseback riding along the Rio Grande.

Trail users explore, learn about, and connect with a tapestry of diverse natural habitats, rich history, striking landscapes, and vibrant communities. The trail contributes to cultural and environmental awareness, healthy lifestyles, spiritual growth, and economic prosperity for New Mexico and its visitors. In 2015, state legislation (HB 563) solidified New Mexico’s vision of a 500-mile cross-state recreational trail and established the Rio Grande Trail Commission to oversee its development.

From an evening walk to a month-long expedition, the Rio Grande Trail offers a window into the heart and soul of New Mexico and a journey through its exceptional natural and cultural heritage.

First Steps “Trail Designation”

In order to become part of the Rio Grande Trail network, trail segments must be approved through an official designation process. Previously constructed trail segments that meet the criteria established in the Master Plan (see link above) may be designated by completing and submitting a Trail Segment Designation Application form. This form can also be completed for entities looking to design or construct a new trail segment.

Submitted applications will be reviewed by the Rio Grande Trail Commission for approval on a quarterly basis, at regularly scheduled Commission meetings. In all cases, the hired consultant team will support all applicants in their endeavors. For more information email Katrina Arndt

The Rio Grande Trail implementation.

In pursuit of the Vision captured in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Trail (RGT) Master Plan, landowners, land managers, and/or other jurisdictional entities are encouraged to develop trail segments that will contribute toward ultimate completion of a continuous statewide recreational facility. We hired a consultant team to facilitate this effort, with stakeholders willing to participate in this voluntary process.

The Rio Grande Trail network is intended to include both a continuous Primary Alignment that follows the Rio Grande as closely as possible, extending from Colorado to Texas and Secondary or Connector alignments that provide links from the Primary trail to nearby communities or points of interest.

Some obstacles to a continuous river alignment will be encountered due to sovereignty concerns, physical impasses, or other matters.  In those cases – many of which are already reflected in the preferred alignments identified in the Master Plan Appendices – alternate alignments will be considered, which may carry the trail many miles from the Rio Grande itself.  In these cases, continuity will take priority over proximity to the river. It is also acknowledged that other alignment opportunities may exist that have not yet been identified but would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

As part of the Rio Grande Trail implementation efforts, a consultant team is working with communities, landowners, and other agencies to implement and designate sections of the trail. This project website will be updated throughout the process.

Click image to view full illustrated map.

Click image to view full sized illustrated map.

What does it mean for New Mexico?

With the Rio Grande Trail, New Mexico is investing in itself and its future. New Mexicans will gain a signature asset of national significance and a valued local amenity. Trails can improve the health and quality of life of the communities they connect; foster a sense of appreciation and stewardship for the natural environment, and for the history and cultures they are tied to; and support local economies through tourism spending and increased property values.


Who will use it?

Across 500-miles, the context of the Rio Grande Trail varies substantially. Passing through Hatch, the Chile Capital of the World differs from the experience along a towering ridgeline in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Weaving through these unique settings, the Rio Grande Trail offers a host of outdoor recreational opportunities for exercise, adventure, and enjoyment. What type of trail user will you be?

Click on a trail user below to learn more: