Approximately 15 miles south of Taos, New Mexico the Taos Junction is the nexus of the Rio Pueblo de Taos and Rio Grande.
The Rio Grande Gorge Visitor’s Center is located in Pilar, NM, at the intersection of NM 570 and NM 68 the Visitor Center provides information about the recreation experiences to be had in the area as well as about the geological and natural history of this diverse and interesting area. From May 1 through October, the Visitor Center is open 7 days per week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Winter hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 7 days per week. For more information, contact the Visitor Center at 575-751-4899, or the Taos Field Office at 575-758-8851.
Access to the Orilla Verde Recreation Area is provided by NM 570. The Visitor Center is located 1 mile south of the Recreation Area in the town of Pilar at the intersection of NM 570 and NM 68. The Recreation Area includes trails, seven campgrounds, boat launches, picnic tables, grills, drinking water, and restrooms. Two group shelters are available.
There are seven campgrounds with tables, fire grills, and restrooms. Four of the campgrounds also have drinking water and shelters available. Pilar Campground and Río Bravo Campground both have RV sites with water and electric hookup (no sewer). Pay showers are also available at Río Bravo Campground.
Group Shelters are available by reservation. Each group shelter accommodates up to 40 people. Fees for the group shelters are $30.00/day use and $40.00/overnight. For reservations, call 575-758-8851.
The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is located within the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument and along the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande and within the steep-walled Rio Grande Gorge, the campgrounds in this area offer nearby access to the river. The elevation along the river is 6,100 feet and the steep canyon rises 800 feet from the river to the Gorge rim.
Gentle waters with occasional small rapids flow through Orilla Verde, providing an ideal setting for many recreational activities. Because of the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws many species of animals, including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, ringtail, mule deer, and more. The Rio Grande also has attracted humans since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the Recreation Area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.
The canyon ecosystem descends 800 feet from rim to river, creating a unique diversity in plant and animal life. Ancient piсon and juniper forests include 500 year-old trees. Watchable wildlife opportunities include mule deer, red-tailed hawk, mountain blue-bird, and prairie dog. The climate is semi-arid with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from November through March. Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90F and in winter from -15 to 45F.