Taos Area Parks and Recreation Areas
If you are visiting Taos and you enjoy hiking, bird watching, fishing, kayaking or even simply a good picnic, there are plenty of parks in and near Taos. Let us share some of our favorites with you!
Kit Carson Park
Near downtown Taos you can visit the Kit Carson Park located two blocks north of the Taos Plaza at 211 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. This is a 19 acre park. It has a walking and jogging track as well as large fields for soccer, softball and frisbee. The Kit Carson Cemetery is more than 150 years old and is the resting place of Kit Carson, Padre Martinez and other famous Taoseños.
Fred Baca Park
301 Camino del Medio. The Fred Baca Park encompasses 17 acres and is a short walk, bike or drive from downtown. It encompasses a five acre wetlands area along the Rio Fernando. You can walk on a trail and see a variety of wildlife including many bird species such as the red winged blackbird. The best time to see wildlife at Fred Baca Park is the early morning or at dusk. Other activities at the park include tennis, basketball, soccerfield, Frisbee and picnic areas.
Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area and Wheeler Peak
The United States Congress designated the Wheeler Peak Wilderness in 1964. Today it emcompasses 19,661 acres ranging from 7,840 feet to 13,161 feet which is Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico. There is a trailhead for this peak at the Taos Valley ski area. Drive to Twining Campground where you find a parking lot. The Wheeler Peak Trail starts here and you hike an occasionally step but well-defined trail that leads to the summit. It is about eight miles. You do not need any technical gear for the hike, just bring plenty of water and sun block. It is a great day outing even if you do not reach the summit as there are beautiful fields of flowers in the summertime and small waterfalls to enjoy. From the summit you may continue on one trail to Horseshoe Lake.
Wild Rivers Recreation Area
With wildlife, hiking trails, camping and access to the Rio Grande, the Wild Rivers Recreation Area is a great place to visit, and play. More than 90 percent of the Wild Rivers Recreation Area is in its natural condition and 10 percent has been developed for recreational use.
It is located 25 miles north of Taos. From Taos, take NM 522 approximately 20 miles to Questa. Travel 3 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. The Wild Rivers Visitor Center is about 17 miles in. The Visitor Center provides information not only about the recreation experiences in the area but also about the geological and natural history of this area. The Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Visitor Center at 575-586-1150 or the Taos Field Office at 575-758-8851.
There are several hikes that go down into the Rio Grande Gorge. The Rio Grande Gorge trails follow generally steep canyon cuts in the volcanic plateaus of north-central New Mexico. The Wild Rivers Recreation Area provides fatastic views down into this 800-foot-deep gorge. Most visitor facilities are located along the rim, but there are several trails that provide access to the river and to facilities located within the gorge. The canyon ecosystem descends 800 feet from rim to the river. This creates a unique diversity in plant and animal life as you change ecosystems. Ancient pinon and juniper forests are home to 500 year-old trees. Wildlife opportunities include mule deer, red-tailed hawk, mountain blue-bird, and prairie dog.