If you enjoy outdoor activities, there is no better base camp than Rio Rancho. Within easy travel of the City of Vision are recreational opportunities for every adventurer, every extreme sports fan and every nature lover. New Mexico is home to 13 national monuments and parks, 29 state parks and 5 national forests. The state hosts 6 of the 7 life zones on earth, many of which can be explored on a single day trip.
Great star gazing
Because of Rio Rancho's high altitude and distance from the night-sky polluting lights of Albuquerque, the City of Vision is a popular venue for astronomy buffs that take to the desert hills with telescopes in hand.
Rise above it all
By sunrise, the skies above Rio Rancho on any given weekend are filled not with stars but hot-air balloons . Rio Rancho's many licensed balloon pilots enjoy a year-round flying season and offer balloon rides thanks to moderate temperatures and 330 sun-filled days from January through December. Pilots participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta regularly land in Rio Rancho, and the skies above the city during this annual October event come alive with color as hundreds of balloons float silently overhead.
On the move
The City of Rio Rancho offers a healthy network of bicycle trails for both fun and fitness. With Rio Rancho's high altitude, the City of Vision has hosted competitive cyclists for rigorous training routes. Nearby trails give mountain bikers the ride of their lives. And families enjoy the paved trails along the tree lined Rio Grande river.
Hooked or hunting?
There are dozens of lakes, both natural and manmade throughout the state and many are within an hour or two of Rio Rancho. Trout, bass, walleye and catfish are just a few of the species to be hooked in the mountain streams and lakes nearby. Hunting ranges from the mule deer to elk, and even the exotic oryx and ibex.
Branching out from Rio Rancho, hiking enthusiasts have their pick of several nearby mountain ranges that offer spectacular trails to challenge novices and experts alike.
One of the crown jewels among hiking circles is the La Luz Trail, a six-hour hike that starts in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains and climbs all the way to the crest of the mountain. What starts as a hot hike through sparse, high-desert terrain soon evolves into a trek through lush forest, alpine meadows, dramatic boulder fields, and culminates in a vantage point with a 100 mile vista view. At the end of the trail, hikers may rest up in the High Finance restaurant or the snack bar before boarding the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway back to the bottom, a trip which offers yet another series of breathtaking views.
Northwest of Rio Rancho are the pine-forested trails of the Jemez Mountains, where cascading waterfalls, natural warm springs and mind-boggling expanses of meadows - created after volcanic eruptions tens of thousand of years ago - treat visitors to a naturally beautiful day trip.
Wild water sports
Even farther north, Taos yields vistas and white water rafting in a cavernous gorge carved by the Rio Grande for millions of years. Adrenaline junkies find a thrill as they hurl down the turbulent white water at dizzying speeds. A 3 hour drive south on Interstate 25 brings Rio Rancho travelers to Elephant Butte Lake. This 30-mile expanse of water is a favorite for jet skiing, motor boats and water skiers.
State-of-the art skating
For skaters, competitive ice hockey takes place at the brand new, high tech Santa Ana Star Center . Blades Ice Arena gives visitors a chance to glide gleefully. And for skateboarders, the Rio Rancho Sports Complex is also home to one of the most advanced skate parks in the nation.
New Mexico may be one of the best-kept secrets in American alpine skiing, and many of the best ski destinations are a simple car ride from Rio Rancho. Closest by is Sandia Ski Area , a basic slope whose biggest draw is for families, snow-boarders and skiers from beginners to experts. Santa Fe Ski Area blankets the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with a variety of terrain just a few hours north. At Taos Ski Valley , thrill-seeking skiers are treated to some of the bumpiest moguls, freshest powder snow and steepest double diamonds in the country.
Where the northern portion of the city meets the Rio Grande are 60 acres of "Bosque," a riverside environment of ancient cottonwood trees and lush native grasses. A network of walking trails gives wildlife lovers a firsthand experience of the many species of plants and animals who call Rio Rancho home. Sightings of bald eagles, beavers, coyotes, jackrabbits and other critters are commonplace in this veritable Garden of Eden. The City of Rio Rancho has recognized this special natural resource and protects the Bosque as a natural preserve.
Access adventure from Rio Rancho