Rio Grand Gorge, Taos, New Mexico

We are staying at an RV park near Taos, New Mexico and arrived here late yesterday.  Our trip here from Alamagordo wasn’t a lot of fun and I’ve told Susan to give me a whack if I ever suggest taking the “scenic” route in our motor home again.  Several times now I’ve looked at the map and said, well we can go that way but doesn’t this route look interesting?  Each time I’ve said that we’ve run into problems.  This time our first problem was that they had closed NM Route 219 and we had to make a 30 mile detour.  Our second problem was that NM Route 518 may have looked “scenic” but from the moment we left Las Vegas (New Mexico, not Nevada) it went straight up the mountainside, with lots of switchbacks.  At around 9000 feet altitude our motor home’s engine decided it was low on coolant (it wasn’t) and shut itself down.  Three times in a row.  I finally called our emergency service and after doing some fault checking we figured out we had plenty of coolant.  I think it was just the fact that we were over 9000 feet up (the pass was at 9400 feet) and had been climbing non-stop.  When the engine had cooled enough we made it over the pass and didn’t have any more problems.  That doesn’t mean the road was any better since it still took us over an hour to drive the 30 remaining miles to Taos.  No more scenic routes in the motor home.

Anyway, the bridge over the Rio Grand River is on the list of local attractions and is only about 4 miles from our RV park.  We took a trip over there this afternoon.  From the direction we came (from the north side heading south) you don’t see the bridge or the gorge until you are right on top of them.

Bridge over the Rio Grand
Bridge over the Rio Grand

The gorge under the bridge is several hundred feet down.  A long ways, but probably not enough for base jumping and even if you did there are no trails down to the Rio Grand River near the bridge.

Rio Grand gorge west of the bridge
Rio Grand gorge west of the bridge

The view East of the Rio Grand bridge
The view East of the Rio Grand bridge

The Rio Grand is only about 25 feet wide right now.  Maybe at other times of the year it is wider and deeper but looking at the vegetation at the bottom, not by too much.

Looking straight down from the Rio Grand bridge
Looking straight down from the Rio Grand bridge

Sad to say, there are other reasons than sightseeing that people come to the bridge.  There were several of these kiosks both at the ends and on the bridge.

RG_Gorge_04_Crisis

We’ve seen the Rio Grand river at Big Bend National Park in southern Texas and although the river was quite low (you probably could have waded across in several places) the river bed and gorge was a couple hundred feet wide but that is probably a thousand miles from here.

Taos is located on what looks to be a pretty flat plain under the surrounding mountains. The Rio Grand River and its gorge cuts through this plain like a knife.  Until the bridge was built, there was no easy way to get to Taos from the south and you had to come through the mountains like we did.

It was an interesting view under the bridge and I even got Susan to go part way out on the bridge.   We’d give it a C- for handicap accessibility. We had to park in next to the road near the bridge and navigate Susan’s wheelchair over a rocky and uneven dirt area to get to the bridge.  Once we got on the bridge there were sidewalks that were in good condition although a bit narrow.

Tomorrow we are going the spend the day in Taos.  We drove through it on the way to the RV park and at the moment it reminds us a lot of Mesilla (a town south of Las Cruces) or Santa Fe.

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