Albuquerque Journals

The Wild Open Spaces of Albuquerque

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A travel journal to Albuquerque by Peregrine

Petryglyph National Monument Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico More Photos
Quote: To keep my sanity, this city dweller needs to get her toes off the pavement on a very regular basis. Fortunately, with 27,000 acres of Open Space (and that doesn’t include the National Forest and designated wilderness) surrounding Albuquerque, it ain’t hard to do.

The Wild Open Spaces of Albuquerque

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Overview

Wildlife Blind Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
Its a 27,000 acre play ground. I spend at least three afternoons a week hiking in the hills, taking pictures (I think I have more pictures of Elena Gallegos than I do of my cats!), sketching (I do great rocks) and breathing the clear mountain air. These wild areas are wonderful any time of year, but in the fall the chamisa, the cottonwoods, and even the air seems to turn to gold and the trees glow with a translucent light unlike anywhere else. If you're into birdwatching, visit the Bosque between late fall and very early spring to see the migrating birds. It's not as extensive or have as impressive number of birds as the Bosque del Apache 2 hours south, but its well worth a ...Read More

The Wild Open Spaces

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Story/Tip

Petryglyph National Monument Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
I’m sitting on a pile of boulders 1000 feet above the city as I write this. Looking west, I can see perhaps 70 miles, not quite the Arizona border, but close. Below, the city sprawl is sliced in two by the green (or gold, depending on the season) swath of the Rio Grande Bosque. Along the West Mesa, a sinuous escarpment of black basalt is covered with thousands petroglyphs. Above the escarpment, five bumps on the landscape are all that’s left of a string of volcanoes that once covered the mesa with lava. These areas are all part of the designated Open Space Albuquerque has set aside for recreation and education (there are lots of guided tours, especially for school children), as well a...Read More

The Foothills

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Story/Tip

Foothills Hike Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
Since just about every major road heading east from Tramway Boulevard ends at a trailhead in the Foothills, its one of the most easily accessed open areas in the city. On the weekends, the trails can be a bit crowded, especially with mountain bikers who don’t seem to understand the word “yield” on those steep, narrow paths. This strip of land is maintained by the City and primarily keeps the subdivisions from encroaching any further into the Cibola National Forest and the Sandia Mountain Wilderness and the area runs, more or less, from I-40 on the south to the Sandia Tram on the north. From any trailhead, just pick a path and go. Most trails are open to hikers, walkers, runners...Read More

Elena Gallegos

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Story/Tip

Fireside Chat Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
Of all the bits and pieces of the Open Space, this is my favorite. Wedged into a wide valley, the vegetation here is more diverse than in some of the other areas of the Foothills. This area was once part of a Spanish land grant given to one Diego Montoya. It included all the land from the top of the Sandias to the Rio Grande, a considerable chunk of property. In 1716, 35,084 acres of this land were given to Elena Gallegos. While it was unusual for a woman to inherit a land grant, the reasons Elena was given the land was, unfortunately, not recorded for posterity. Besides the cottonwoods, chamisa, and various wildflowers, you will find yucca, cholla, bear grass, Apache plum...Read More

The Bosque

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The Bosque has a whole different feel to it. Bosque, which means forest in Spanish, is a crowd of stately cottonwoods and bushy chamisa hugging the edges of the Rio Grande. Again, the narrow strip of Open Space, this time on both sides of the river, stretches nearly the entire length of the city from north to south. It’s a much more enclosed feeling down here, and in summer mosquitoes and flies, which are rare elsewhere in the city, can be annoying. In the fall, the whole river’s edge turns to gold. My favorite views of the river, invariably from a busy highway bridge where I can’t stop to take pictures, are of the golden-edged river in autumn. In years past when the Rio was allowed ...Read More

The Volcanos

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The volcanos stand like beacons on the mesa west of Albuquerque. There are five, more or less lined up north to south and worn with millennia of weather and wind. They look less like volcanoes up close, and more like piles of sharp lava rock tossed and scattered over a fairly large area. If you like climbing around rocks and poking into shallow caves, it’s an interesting place to visit. I brought my nephew here several years ago and he had a ball crawling around the rocks. You are far enough away from town that this is one of those rare places where you can actually hear silence and the view of the Sandias is spectacular. Since this is really “off the beaten track” there is not much ...Read More

Petroglyph National Monument

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Attraction | "Petroglyph National Park"

Petroglyph National Monument Photo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Quote:
This is one incredible outdoor art museum. The first time I came out here, probably 20 years ago – long before it became a National Monument – and what I noticed most was the silence. We walked down into the horseshoe-shaped canyon and heard only the sound of our footsteps, the whisper of the wind, and the brush of a nylon backpack against a cotton shirt. In the distance, the drone of a small plane and the call of a quail. Wind touched my face as I walked, and cradled in the curve of the escarpment, the air was warm, even in the middle of winter. On that first trek, the sandy path was littered with footprints, none of them human – birds and small animals find refuge here. Unfortunate...Read More

Petroglyph National Monument
6001 Unser Blvd Northwest
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87120
+1 505 899 0205