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 Karndt@mrwmla.com.

The Rio Grande Trail implementation effort is going into the next round.

After the Master Plan was completed and the Rio Grande Trail Commission established, it is now time to implement and designate sections of the trail. 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 starting in late 2022 to implement and designate sections of the trail. This project website will be updated throughout the process.