Filed under: Family Day Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
Hiking in the Orilla Verde–Part 2
On a recent spring trip to the Taos, NM area, we discovered the Orilla Verde (or Green Rim) Recreation Area, along the Rio Grande Gorge. In the mood for a hike, we selected the La Vista Verde Trail for our venture as it promised a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Gorge. It did not disappoint.
The trail was well-marked and easy to follow. From time to time, we were able to glimpse the big river running well beneath us now. The view was impressive. The dramatic cliffs are lava flows exposed by the rift in the earth created by the North American continent pulling apart, literally below our feet. Most people assume that the Rio Grande cut the gorge, but actually there is wide rift in the earth created by the continental plate pulling apart and the river is cutting a channel through that existing rift.
Regarding wildlife, on Vista Verde Trail, there are big horn sheep on the Taos Pueblo land on the opposite rim of the canyon, which you can see if you sit there long enough. We did not sit and watch, nor did we see the sheep. Hikers must be careful not to trespass or disturb the animals on the Pueblo Land while hiking the trail.
While we were disappointed that we did not see the sheep, we were not disappointed to avoid the other wildlife the article warned about: snakes. These are a possibility on any trail in the area, usually prairie rattlesnakes or Western diamondback rattlesnakes. But if you watch your footing and stay aware of your environment, you should be fine. And, as always, be prepared and leave no trace. In spite of the warnings about snakes out west, and all the hiking we have done in New Mexico and Colorado, the only place we encountered a rattlesnake has been while hiking in Connecticut. We are hoping that our luck doesn’t change.
We reached the top-most lookout point and were delighted to find a small bench on which to rest with a view of the remarkable river. After stopping for a few minutes and snapping a few more pictures, we headed back down, feeling much more relaxed than we had an any time previous during our hectic and busy week. There is nothing like getting out in nature to clear and relax the mind. It is but an hour later when we reach our car, completely rejuvenated.
Read more about New Mexico campgrounds and things to do in New Mexico.