One perfect day in the Albuquerque outdoors

It's prime time for a getaway filled with kayaking, biking, and dining
Ted Alan Stedman

Why go now: The river's swollen, the cottonwoods are blazing green--what better time for a spring adventure?

High-water mark: This time of year, the middle Rio Grande rises by up to 3 feet, and now there's finally a way to get on it--kayaking.

Prefer to pedal?: Do it along the easy Paseo del Bosque (trail info at cabq.gov; bike rentals at thebikesmithllc.com), a 16-mile paved path that hugs the cottonwood forest, where you might spot a roadrunner.

Prescription to refuel: The spicy green-chile stew served with just-made tortillas at Duran Central Pharmacy ($; closed Sun; 1815 Central Ave. N.W.; 505/247-4141), and Old Town diner.

Did you know?: The Sandia Mountains, which turn pink and green at sunset, are named after the Spanish word for "watermelon."

Vintage vino: Spanish missionaries cultivated grapes here 140 years before California's first vines were planted, making New Mexico the country's oldest wine-producing region.

Try a glass: At the Albuquerque Wine Festival (May 28-30; $15; Balloon Fiesta Park; abqwinefestival.com), 25 local winemakers ply you with their best stuff.

Have a run at the Rio Grande: Newcomer Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures is making noise with its guided kayak and canoe tours. Launching north of town, your small flotilla navigates 15 scenic miles straight into Albuquerque. These are class I waters--nothing rapid about them--so paddlers can relax and enjoy the parade of old-growth cottonwoods, red desert vistas, and songbirds that provide the soundtrack for the one-to five-hour journey. From $45; quietwaterspaddling.com

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