La Vista Verde Trail


La Vista Verde trailhead is located a short distance uphill from Taos Junction Bridge, on State Rd. 567, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (see map at end). The mainly level trail travels the length of a bench set in the western slope of the Rio Grande Gorge, for a distance of a little over a mile one-way. The bench is a substantial chunk of the former gorge rim that has slid downward but remained intact as it did so, and is called a landslide block. At the end of the trail is an overlook that gives one a view of a number of rapids that are contained in the Rio Grande’s Taos Box run. A herd of bighorn sheep make this area their year-round home, and are very tolerant of the close approach of hikers.

Bighorns&RioG.DSCN2272

Bighorn sheep graze just off to the side of State Rd. 567. Below them is the bench that La Vista Verde Trail follows, and beyond is the Rio Grande (top).

VistaVerdeBighornEwe&LambDSCN3390

Bighorn ewe and lamb

VistaVerdeBighornEwe&LambDSCN3391

same

VistaVerdeBighornEweDSCN3393

Bighorn ewe

VistaVerdeBighornGroupDSCN3419

Bighorn group

VistaVerdeFirstViewDSCN3395

From the first overlook, a highly sculpted boulder, very low water (150 cfs)

Grass4

Grass

Grass5

same

Grass42

same

ApachePlumeBoulder_2465T

Apache plume and basalt boulder

VistaVerdePondDSCN3398

This pond was a dry flat before a flash flood created a new channel that directed run-off to it

GreeneryView13

A wet year on the above-mentioned  flat

VistaVerdeThistleDSCN3403

Russian thistle

VistaVerdeSageDSCN3405

Sagebrush and chamisa

VirginiaCreeper_2427T-Edit

Virginia creeper

BlazingStar37

Blazing star

BlazingStarView36

Blazing star and the Rio Grande (low water)

ClaretCups_2462T copy.jpg

Two varieties of Claret cup cactus

IndianPaintbrush14Jul27_2534

Indian paintbrush

SegoLilyDSCN8788

Sego lily

WaferAshJun072015_6559

Wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata)

YuccaApachePlume_2423T

Apache plume, sagebrush and yucca

VistaVerdeChannelFillDSCN3415

Seen from the overlook. Contained within tilted landslide material is a channel fill. This is sediment that accumulated in a stream channel, later to be covered over by a lava flow. The heat of the molten lava baked the sediment to this reddish color.

VistaVerdeChannelFillDSCN3417

same

Following photos are from the overlook.

VistaVerdeTorevaBlockDSCN3413

Upstream view of the Taos Box run on the Rio Grande. In lower center is a toreva block, which is an intact piece of the gorge rim that detached and slid downwards, and became rotated back as it did so (clock-wise in this view). Three lava flows can be distinguished, one from the other, in this block. A bench is seen to continue upstream, which is again the result of landslides that moved considerable material downhill, while keeping that material more or less intact.

VistaVerdeTorevaBlockDSCN3408

Same as above. Toreva blocks on the the slope across the river (left) are mirror images of this block (being rotated counter clock-wise).

VistaVerdeLowerBoulderfieldDSCN3406

A very congested section of the Boulderfield set of rapids is seen at very low water, downstream view

VistaVerdePunkRockTheGutDSCN3409

Upstream view, very low water

VistaVerdeBoatReamerDSCN3416

View further upstream than the above, of Boat Reamer Rapid, very low water

ScreamingLeft_2452T

Upstream wide-angle view – Boat Reamer Rapid to the upper part of the Boulderfield, high water

BoulderField_2453T

Downstream view of the upper and middle sections of the Boulderfield rapids, high water

LaVistaVerde

 

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 I have also published two additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-salt-river/id1244922282?mt=11 2. Coyote Buttes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/coyote-buttes/id1271773201?mt=11
This entry was posted in Geography, Nature, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, River-running (USA&Mexico) and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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