The Vista Verde Hike


In the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the Vista Verde parking area and trail head is located part-way up the dirt road (Rt. 567) that climbs out of the Rio Grande Gorge from Taos Junction bridge to the West Rim. The 2 hour round-trip hike to the Vista Verde Overlook proceeds along a natural bench in the gorge, in the upstream direction. This and other benches seen in the gorge are the result of great landslips, where large sections of the rim broke away, and slid down towards the river, often remaining much intact. Those cliff sections that remained intact rotated as they slid downward, in such a way that their formerly vertical faces now lean back at a noticeable angle. These are called “toreva blocks”, examples of which will be seen below. The overlook view is of the Rio Grande in the “Rio Bravo” section – of continuous Class 4 whitewater. These photos were taken on two occasions, once in late May and once in early June.

Apache Plume, near Taos, NM

Apache Plume

Apache Plume, near Taos, NM

Apache Plume

Basalt boulder, near Taos, NM

Apache Plume and basalt boulder

Black-throated Sparrow, near Taos, NM

Black-throated Sparrow

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

Boat Reamer rapid view

Boat Reamer rapid view

Screaming Left rapid

Punk Rock, the Gut and Screaming Left rapid

Boat Reamer and Screaming Left rapids

Boat Reamer, Punk Rock, the Gut and Screaming Left rapids

Boat Reamer and Screaming Left rapids

Boat Reamer, Punk Rock, the Gut and Screaming Left rapids

Boat Reamer, Screaming Left and Boulder Field rapids

Boat Reamer, Punk Rock, the Gut,  Screaming Left and upper Boulder Field rapids

The Gut

The Gut, lower water

Screaming Left rapid

Screaming Left rapid, lower water

Boulder Field

Boulder Field

Boulder Field, Mitch's Bitch section

Mitch’s Bitch section of Boulder Field

Mitch's Bitch portion of the Boulder Field

Mitch’s Bitch section of the Boulder Field

Mitch's Bitch portion of the Boulder Field

Mitch’s Bitch portion of the Boulder Field, lower water

2 kinds of claret cup

2 kinds of claret cup

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

Greenery

Greenery

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Kathy & Flowers

Kathy & Flowers

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactus and sagebrush

Prickly pear cactus and sagebrush

Sego Lily

Sego Lily

SegoLily

SegoLily

Toreva block

Toreva block

Toreva block

Toreva block

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper

Yellow Flower

Yellow Flower

Yucca

Yucca

Yucca

Yucca, sagebrush and Apache Plume

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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