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.
Welcome to the 2nd Virtual Open House for the Rio Grande Trail Master Plan!

Explore sequentially or choose your own adventure using the navigation bar on the left of the screen. Look for these icons as you learn more about the Rio Grande Trail:
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Community Connection


In November and December 2017, over 1,000 people from across the state participated in the first Rio Grande Trail Virtual Open House. Participants learned about the master planning process, described how they would use the trail, and gave feedback on trail design and amenities. Building on the first event, this Fall 2018 Virtual Open House offers recommendations and updates from the Rio Grande Trail master planning process.


The vision

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. In this 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 Mexicans and its visitors.

Progress Update: “Carving a Path Forward for the Rio Grande Trail”

Since the previous virtual open house last year, the Rio Grande Trail team has been working hard to:

  • determine the trail route along New Mexico’s Rio Grande,
  • support the Rio Grande Trail Commission in designating existing segments to bring the trail to life,
  • create design standards and management recommendations for the Rio Grande Trail,
  • and continue to engage agency partners and community members.

We are excited to show you our ideas and hear what you think before the Rio Grande Trail Master Plan is finalized in November. Visit the Rio Grande Trail website for more background information or continue to explore the Open House to learn more about the trail recommendations.

Project Timeline

Where will the trail go?

After evaluating 1017.9 miles of possible trail along the Rio Grande River corridor, the Master Plan proposes 652.4 miles for the preferred Rio Grande Trail route. This proposed route best fulfills the Rio Grande Trail criteria:

The Rio Grande Trail is only proposed to pass through lands of voluntary landowners and is respectful of the thoughtful input from private land owners, including sovereign Pueblo nations. The route also reflects community feedback from key stakeholders, is as direct as possible, and offers the opportunity for multiple, parallel separate-use trails. The proposed Rio Grande Trail complements other nationally designated trails: the El Camino Real Historic Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Old Spanish National Historic Trail.

Check out the proposed Rio Grande Trail route by county.
Here is a guide for reading the alignment on the map:

County by County Rio Grande Trail Route Maps










What type of trail is the Rio Grande Trail?

The word trail can mean many things. The Rio Grande Trail will be designed for many types of trail users across a wide range of landscapes.

Design for all Trail Users

The Rio Grande Trail will connect to as many existing facilities and amenities as possible to provide a good trail experience for all users. Click on each trail user type to see some of the unique characteristics and needs of each group.


Trail Typology

Check out our trail typology diagram for an overview of what the trail could look like across the state.

As proposed, across the whole Rio Grande Trail there will approximately be:

  • 240.2 miles Backcountry Trail (36.81%)
  • 21.5 miles On-Ditch/Drain Service Road (3.30%)
  • 79.3 miles On-Levee (12.16%)
  • 123.1 miles Shared Use Path (18.87%)
  • 28.6 miles Shoulder Bikeway (4.39%)
  • 89.3 miles Sidepath (13.69%)
  • 61.9 miles Unpaved Multi-Use Roadway (9.49%)
  • 8.4 miles Urban Bikeway (1.30%)

Outreach Recommendations

Trail Promotion

As the Rio Grande Trail starts to come to life, the Master Plan recommends a variety of ways to promote the existing trail segments and to rally support for its expansion. This includes:

Gateway Community Program. Establish a Gateway Community Program to promote small towns along the trail, bring economic benefits, and involve them in planning for programming and events.

Trail Branding. Continue to develop a unified brand that is pervasive across different aspects of the trail—from promotional materials to wayfinding signage to the look and feel of trail heads.

Website. Continue to develop the trail website as an up-to-date source of information about the Rio Grande Trail.

Marketing campaigns. Develop marketing campaigns designed to solicit donations to the trail effort and to recruit volunteers.

Connect to other long-distance trails. Promote the Rio Grande Trail as a complement and linkage to the other long-distance trails: El Camino Real National Historic Trail, Santa Fe National Historic Trail, Old Spanish National Historic Trail, Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, plus many National Recreation Trails.

State tourism partnership. Partner with the State of New Mexico Tourism Department to create a tourism campaign to invite and encourage visitors from outside New Mexico to visit the Rio Grande Trail.

  • Update: Already partnering with State Tourism Department to develop the Rio Grande Trail logo.

Community events. Organize and implement community events and cultivate volunteers to help build, maintain, and promote the trail. Community events could include:

  • National Trails Day
  • Volunteer clean up days
  • “Volunteer vacation” trail building events
  • Community rides

Bi-annual Trail Summit. Convene a bi-annual Rio Grande Trail Summit to bring public trail partners, Gateway Communities, volunteers, and non-profit staff together to celebrate successes and learn from work being done around the state.

Management recommendations

Trail Management

Establish a Rio Grande Trail Non-Profit
Build a Courteous Trail Environment
Consider Special Event Uses
Plan for Emergency Access

Tell us about yourself

Please help us track who we are reaching with our outreach efforts.
Your answers to the following demographic questions will remain anonymous.


Thank you for participating in the
2nd Rio Grande Trail Virtual Open House.

To receive updates on the Rio Grande Trail Master Plan, please visit the project website at

To invite a friend to participate in the
Virtual Open House, send this link.

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