Orilla Verde Recreation Area
Vista Verde Trail
Carson, New Mexico 87517
Orilla Verde Recreation Area webpage
Orilla Verde Recreation Area map
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument webpage
Rio Grande del Norte National Monument map
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Rio Grande del Norte NM–Orilla Verde Recreation Area, Vista Verde Trail
Coordinates: 36.341873, -105.73637
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The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is located within the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument and along the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande and within the steep-walled Rio Grande Gorge, the campgrounds in this area offer nearby access to the river. The elevation along the river is 6,100 feet and the steep canyon rises 800 feet from the river to the Gorge rim.
Because of the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws many species of animals, including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, ringtail, mule deer, and more. The Rio Grande also has attracted humans since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the Recreation Area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.
The climate at Orilla Verde is semi-arid, with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from October through March. Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees, and winter temperatures range from -15 to 45 degrees.
From Orilla Verde Recreation Area webpage
About Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is comprised of rugged, wide open plains at an average elevation of 7,000 feet, dotted by volcanic cones, and cut by steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths. The RÍo Grande carves an 800-foot deep gorge through layers of volcanic basalt flows and ash. Among the volcanic cones in the Monument, Ute Mountain is the highest, reaching to 10,093 feet.
This area has attracted human activity since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient use is found throughout the area in the form of petroglyphs, prehistoric dwelling sites, and many other types of archaeological sites. More recent activity includes abandoned homesteading from the 1930s.
The Monument is an important area for wintering animals and provides a corridor by which wildlife move between the two mountain ranges.
The unique setting of the Monument also provides a wealth of recreational opportunities. Whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping are some of the more outstanding activities that can be enjoyed in the Monument.
From Rio Grande del Norte National Monument webpage