Located in the bosque, or cottonwood forest, and by the wetland bordering the Rio Grande, the Nature Center is the focus of the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park. The park offers opportunities to experience 270 acres of woods, meadows and farmland flourishing with native grasses, wildflowers, willows and cottonwoods.

The Riverwalk Trail is an easy one-mile loop through the bosque and along the river, passing through open meadows and heavily wooded areas. The Bosque Loop Trail, about 0.8 mile, is an easy walk through the bosque with a spur to the river.

In the Visitor Center you will find exhibits describing the area and plants, geology and animals. The Observation Room which overlooks the pond, contains a library with publications on birds, herbs, trees, and other aspects of natural history that can be used on the premises.

The Candelaria Wetland is located east of the Nature Center, includes two ponds offering five surface acres of water and four more acres of meadow for visiting waterfowl and shorebirds. Planted with 98 species of native aquatic and riparian vegetation, Candelaria Wetland restores habitat once common in the Albuquerque part of the Rio Grande.

Directions: In Albuquerque, take the Candelaria exit west from I-25 and continue until it dead ends at the Rio Grande Nature Center (on the north side of the road).

Ornithological Summary

Numerous birds make their homes in the park. Birds to be seen in winter are Ring-necked Duck and American Wigeon, Northern Harrier, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Meadowlark, Sandhill Crane and Bald Eagle. Summer migrants include warblers, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Black Phoebe and Western Kingbird. Seasonal and year-round residents include Cooper's Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Canada Goose, Ring-necked Pheasant, Wood Duck, Black-capped Chickadee, Great Blue Heron, and Downy and Hairy Woodpecker.

Monitoring records at the RGNC

Conservation Issues

Continued residential development can impact the area. Non-native plants are everywhere along the Rio Grande. Water level changes can impact the flood plane.


State of New Mexico Parks, Karen Brown, 2901 Candalaria NW, Albuquerque, NM

City of Albuquerque Open Space, Albuquerque, NM

Land Use

Recreational uses include hiking, biking, skating, running.

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