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Big Arsenic Springs

Hiking Trail or Trailhead
Entering the Rio Grande Gorge on the Big Arsenic Springs Trail. – Jim O'Donnell

ADA Accessibility Notes

Steep hiking trail

This is a steep trail considered moderate to difficult. It offers fabulous views of the Rio Grande as well as access to cold-water springs and petroglyphs. It is located within the Wild Rivers Recreation Area which includes many other trails. This stretch of the river is protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This area is public land managed by the BLM.

This area is great for bird-watching. Migratory waterfowl travel through the Rio Grande Flyway, moving from their breeding to wintering grounds. Winter finds bald eagles. Summer finds blue herons, southwest willow flycatchers, swifts and mallards on the river. Red-tail Hawks soar year-round as do golden eagles, Canadian geese, kestrals and owls. The rock wren is serves as the sound track for the hike.

Fishing is permitted throughout on the river althoug this specific spot can be troublesome from the stiff current. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout, as well as the German brown, rainbow trout, and Northern pike can be found in these waters. To improve trout fisheries, special trout waters are designated on all river sections within the Recreation Areas. The daily bag limit and possession is four fish per license holder.

This is not the spot for swimming. The waters are cold and move very fast.

From Taos, follow NM 68 north 7 miles. Take NM 522 approximately 20 miles to Questa. Travel 3 miles past the stoplight in Questa to NM 378. Turn left onto NM 378 and follow the signs about 12 miles west to Wild Rivers Recreation Area.

Eco-Friendly Notes

Near wilderness.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets may enjoy the hike on a leash.

Trail Distance

1 mile

Vertical Gain or Loss

680 feet

Nearby Places