WHY IT’S OUTSTANDING
One of the main access points to the 4,300-acre Rio Grande Valley Grande State Park, this site has a beautiful sculpture of a Sandhill crane off the parking lot. Rio del Norte, or River of the North, was how the Spanish colonists referred to the Rio Grande when they first settled Albuquerque in nearby “Old Town” in 1706. There is easy access to gorgeous views of the river and great opportunities for extended adventures.
HOW TO GET THERE
Take I-40 to the Rio Grande exit (Exit 157A). Head south on Rio Grande and then west on Central. The Rio del Norte Picnic Area is located on the northeast side of Central Avenue and the river. There is a small parking area on the north side of Central right before the bridge. Additional parking can be found at the Bontanical Gardens just off Central, across from Tingley.