Along the Rio Grande

Take a journey down the river's edge in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Spend a day exploring highlights along the 20-mile stretch of river from near downtown to Alameda Boulevard and you'll discover one of Albuquerque's most diverse summer destinations. Along the Rio Grande and the forest ― known locally by the Spanish word bosque (pronounced bohs-keh) ― locals walk, bicycle, fish, catch concerts, and simply retreat into the shade on hot afternoons.

GETTING THERE

Most of Rio Grande Valley State Park and other river and bosque attractions are accessible west of Rio Grande Blvd. between Alameda Blvd. and Rio Bravo Blvd. For information, try the City of Albuquerque's Open Space Division (505/452-5200).

WHAT TO DO

Albuquerque Biological Park This park consists of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden (both at 2601 Central Ave. N.W.), the Rio Grande Zoo (903 10th St. S.W.), and the fishing lakes and model-boat lake at Tingley Beach. A narrow gauge train connects the different destinations. The aquarium offers perspective on Rio Grande ecology, with exhibits displaying everything from fish found locally to Gulf of Mexico sharks. A summer highlight at the botanic garden is the Butterfly Pavilion. Be sure to check out the Summer Nights concert series (Thu through Aug 9; $8; Rio Grande Botanic Garden), or the Zoo Music concert series featuring a wide range of American and Celtic music ($8; Rio Grande Zoo). INFO: $12, $5 ages 12 and under (prices include train ride); 505/768-2000.

Lavender in the Village A celebration of lavender and the farming traditions of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. INFO: 505/344-9297.

Open Space Visitor Center On 50 acres along the river's west side, it features environmental exhibits and the unexcavated Piedras Marcadas Pueblo. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; free; 6500 Coors Blvd. N.W. (on the west side of the river); 505/897-8831.

Paseo del Bosque Trail This flat, 15-mile-long paved path that runs between Alameda Blvd. and Second St. leads to trails exploring the bosque. INFO: 505/452-5200.

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park The best introduction to the bosque; celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. INFO: $3 per vehicle; 2901 Candelaria Blvd. N.W.; 505/344-7240.

WHERE TO STAY

Los Poblanos Inn With art-filled rooms, historic buildings, and a working organic farm, it offers a retreat as well as easy access to local attractions. INFO: From $150; 505/344-9297.

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