New Mexico

Canyon Trail

Located in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, this 2.2-mile interpretive trail offers school groups and visitors year-round the ability to study tracks in the shifting sands, evidence of kangaroo rats, box turtles, and a host of other wildlife that call the refuge home.

photo: Trailhead. Photo by Pam Riches.

Length: 2.20 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation

     Animal tracking, geology

See more details.


Location: At Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro, NM
State(s): New Mexico
Counties: Socorro
Longitude: -106.90214
Latitude: 33.78796

Driving Directions

From the north (Socorro, NM), drive south on I-25 to exit 139 (San Antonio), go east 0.25 miles on US 380 to the flashing signal at the village of San Antonio, turn right onto Old Highway 1, and drive south nine miles to the Visitor Center (on right).

From the south (Las Cruces, NM), drive north on I-25 to exit 124 (San Marcial), go east on the dirt road 1.5 miles, then north on Old Highway 1 to the visitor center (on left).


This trail is located in the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico and accesses the Indian Well Wilderness Area of the Bosque del Apache NWR.

Here you can search for stories in the tracks; beetles, kangaroo rats, lizards, snakes and box turtles leave stories in the shifting sands. Follow them to see what the critter was up to. "Tracks" of geological forces can be observed in the preserved sand dunes and water-deposited rock formations. Birds and bats roost and nest in the canyon walls. Ancient pack rat nests show layers of feast and famine. Rock wrens line the entrance to their nests with pebbles. Junipers and black grama grass remnants left over from a cooler, wetter time grow on the northern slopes while creosote bushes are encroaching on the hotter southern slopes. This trail is used by refuge staff for interpretive programs to school groups and is open year around to refuge visitors.

Additional Details

Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: None
Average Grade: 4%
Maximum Grade: 33%
Elevation Low Point: 4,570
Elevation High Point: 4,825
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 375 feet

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: American Trails Featured NRT
Website: USFWS Trail Information

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
1001 NM-1
San Antonio, NM 87832
(575) 835-1828



Trailhead. Photo by Pam Riches.

Trailhead. Photo by Pam Riches.

In the canyon. Photo by Pam Riches.

In the canyon. Photo by Pam Riches.


Looking over the Refuge from the ridge. Photo by Pam Riches.

Looking over the Refuge from the ridge. Photo by Pam Riches.


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