The Paseo del Bosque Bike Trail, also known as the Bosque Recreation Trail, was developed and is maintained by the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD.) The city has a web site for the trail. The trail is approximately 16 miles in length and is uninterrupted by roadways. This photo journey covers just under 14 of those miles.
This photo journey begins at the south end of my usual ride, Rio Bravo Blvd., and travels to the northern terminus at the old Alameda Bridge. I cycle this stretch two or three times a week from home, weather permitting. I wanted to show those who have not traveled this route just how lovely it is to ride and to show those who believe our area is nothing but dry desert that they are not seeing the whole story. The trail does continue farther south, see the city's web site for further information.
For those not familiar with our area, there are several types of man-made canals, most created and maintained by the MRGCD to both keep the land dry for development and to provide irrigation water to agricultural interests. Irrigation ditches are muddy and run at an elevation to gravity feed fields; drainage ditches are actually clear water below grade with frogs, muskrats, fish, turtles, cattails, dragonflies and other critters, they are not at all like sewers; lastly there are diversion ditches that distribute the water from the river to the irrigation ditches.
For more information:
City trail maps can be mailed to you by calling Municipal Development at (505) 768-2680. They can also be obtained for free at any bike shop in Albuquerque.
For an interactive map of this trail and adjacent trails and services, see my Bosque Trails Map page.
This is the entrance to the bike trail at Rio Bravo Blvd. If you are driving to here, take the frontage road at the first traffic light east of the bridge, then park in the picnic area parking lot at the NE corner of the bridge.
About a quarter of a mile north of Rio Bravo Blvd. My favorite bench to pause after turning around & heading north.
Chile fields along the trail. Sandia Mountains in the background. This is about a half mile north of Rio Bravo Blvd.
Fields on the right, drainage ditch on the left hidden in this view by Coyote Willows, river about 100 yards to left.
Here you can see the ditch on the left. It is running muddy today as excess irrigation water due to recent rains is being diverted into it. There are Wood Ducks that live and breed along this stretch along with many other wild bird species.
The shade along this stretch is delightful on a warm summer's day.
This bench is a wonderful place to pause your ride and enjoy the beauty & the birds at this spot.
On a summer's day you might see baseball games at these city park ball fields.
Irrigation water levels are regulated at this junction.
Here the trail passes along the back side of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
The trail passes under Bridge Blvd. To the left is a foot path south down through the bosque.
Small parking area at the end of Tingley Drive and bosque access. Note: from this point to Alameda the pavement has been replaced and is very smooth. Update: just noticed this photo needs replacing as the trail has be realigned at this point to circle around the parking area, thus keeping the trail separate from the parking lot.
The city zoo is on the right. Sometimes you can get a glimpse of a Polar Bear in its enclosure!
Tingley Beach, a city park, provides several fishing ponds, model boat pond, paddle boat & bicycle rentals, picnic areas, and is the primary station for the city's narrow-gage railway.
Here the "Rio Line" is transporting passengers from the biological gardens to the zoo. Train info.
The trail passes under Central Avenue.
Picnic area on the north side of Central Ave at the bridge. The sculpture designates this as Rotary Park. It is sponsored by the Rotary Club. There is a larger picnic area behind the camera's view point and trails to the river and into the bosque.
Trail north of Central Ave. alongside the biological gardens.
The Biopark includes the gardens with ponds & butterfly enclosure and an aquarium. More info.
There are views of the clear ditch along here.
You can often see beaver dams and in spring, yellow iris on the ditch banks.
Coming up to Interstate-40 where the trail passes under the bridge near the center of this photo.
Side view of the new bike/pedestrian bridge over the Rio Grande along the northern edge of I-40. It officially opened on August 30, 2010, dedicated as The Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge.
View of the new bridge (though a chain-link gate.) This provides a much needed connection from Albuquerque's Westside to the rest of the city's bike trails and neighborhoods.
There are metal archways along the bridge with ornamentation. There are many nice artistic touches in the design.
North of I-40 the trail runs between a clear ditch and a diversion canal (paved trail is barely visible on the left.)
Lots of cattails and dragonflies along here. Photo taken from a foot bridge into the adjacent neighborhood.
At Campbell Road the trail splits. The main trail crosses the diversion canal and climbs on top of the levee for the remainder of its length. If you go straight ahead, you can access Candelaria Blvd. and the nature center.
This is the lower trail to the Rio Grande Nature Center. Along here to RGNC is a great area for spring birding.
The upper trail along the levee showing one of the many benches to allow you to rest and enjoy the view.
Coming up to the Rio Grande Nature Center, on the right, with foot trails branching off to the left.
The lower trail rejoins the upper via this small bridge at the west entrance to the nature center.
Another view of the bridge. You can see the RGNC Visitor Center through the trees. There are two main ponds in the nature center that are filled with ducks and geese during winter and migration. There is also a nice native garden.
The Aldo Leopold Trail from RGNC (looking west.) The paved portion is suitable for bikes then it turns to sand which is difficult slogging. The foot trail goes north to almost Montaño Blvd.
As a reminder the trail parallels the Rio Grande which runs 50 to 100 yard left of the trail for the whole length. Coopers Hawks and Great Horned Owls nest in these large cottonwoods in the bosque.
The trail passes under Montaño Blvd or you can access a bike path along the road - if you go west you connect to Pueblo Montaño park with its chainsaw sculptures. The footbridge provides neighborhood access.
Depending upon the season there are many varieties of wildflowers blooming on both sides of the trail.
Here you get a peek at the river. During the winter when the cottonwoods have dropped their leaves, you get many more views. In the middle and far foreground you can see the Jetty Jacks - iron flood-control structures installed in the middle of the last century to hold the river within its banks - and mostly obsolete, now, due to dams upstream.
One of my favorite views of the Sandia Mountains. This day there are thunderstorm clouds building above them.
Look to the left over the trees along the river here and you can see the ancient volcanoes along the western skyline.
The trail goes through a tunnel under Paseo del Norte or you can folk to the left, then follow the bike trail to the east to join up with many of the uptown bicycle trails and also the Road Runner Express train station.
A nice, nearly hidden bench on the south side of Paseo del Norte, access from the upper spur.
North of Paseo del Norte. Up ahead keep your eyes out for exotic game! There is a ranchero on the east side where you can frequently see dromedary, ostrich, true buffalo and llama.
As you ride or walk along here you may wonder about this building. It is the water treatment plant for the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project. To the west of the trail is the water inlet on the river and an inflatable diversion dam to keep the water level high enough for the intakes.
Approaching Alameda Blvd. the trail descends from the levee and crosses the canal. The Alameda Open Space parking area is ahead on the right.
If you take the east fork of the trail just before the parking log you will arrive at the corner of Alameda Blvd. and Rio Grande Blvd. where you will find this bronze of "The Bell Keepers." The bronze sculpture was created by then Las Cruces based artist Bruce Papitto. It depicts a Spanish padre and a another man carrying a church bell to safety, after rescuing it from the washed away adobe church.
The main trail goes under Alameda Blvd at this point, though most folks will turn right here into the parking lot.
If you do go under Alameda and take the small bridge across the canal you will come to this lovely picnic area which has a number of tables, benches along the river and foot trails north into the bosque.
This is the old Alameda Bridge, the only bridge here when I was a kid. We are looking west and you can see the picnic area to the right. This is the official end of the trail, though you can cross the river to head to Corrales and the Corrales Bosque Preserve trails (unpaved.)
We end our photo journey with a view to the north from the old Alameda Bridge. On a clear day you might just make out the Jemez Mountains on the horizon.
I hope you enjoyed the trip!
All photographs © Bosque Bill and may not be used for any purpose without prior written permission.