Whether you want to experience birding and wildlife, educational experiences for children, tranquil gardens, or trails for jogging, Albuquerque parks serve a wide range of interests. Here are just a few of the city’s popular parks to explore.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
The Rio Grande Nature Center is entered through what appears to be a metal culvert, which blends into its habitat. The center was designed by New Mexico architect Antoine Predock. Located at 2901 Candelaria Road, the park is hidden away in a residential area.
On a broiling hot day or a brisk winter morning, enjoy comfortable indoor viewing areas overlooking ponds alive with the activities of turtles, a variety of water birds, and hummingbirds. The visitor center also has informative displays, many educational opportunities for children, and a nature gift shop.
In the 38-acre wildlife preserve around the center, visitors can roam meandering trails around four ponds, learn about native plants and pollinators, or take the trails through to the Paseo del Bosque del Trail. Within the Nature Center is an easy half-mile loop from the parking lot to the Rio Grande.
Linger on benches and seating areas, as well as bird blinds that are scattered through the park with feeding stations that attract a variety of birds and small wildlife. Animals observed here include more than 300 species of birds, including cranes; mammals, such as porcupines, raccoons, and long-tailed weasels; reptiles and amphibians, such as aquatic and terrestrial turtles, Woodhouse toads, and whiptail lizards; and about 40 species of dragonflies.
The area is day-use only with no camping and the fee to visit is $5 per vehicle. Leashed pets are allowed in the parking area and on the adjacent city trails only.
Tricentennial Tiguex Park
The Tricentennial Tiguex Park is conveniently located next to historic Old Town, just a quick stroll from restaurants and music, and a short walk from several museums. Take the kids for an educational outing that allows a stop at this park for the playground and a picnic. Tiguex also has two flat, paved, and wheelchair-accessible loop paths for walking. The outer loop is half a mile, and the inner loop is under a third of a mile. You’ll find exercise stations along the paths.
Pueblo Montaño Picnic Area and Trailhead
The Pueblo Montanño Open Space, located at 4100 Montaño Road, has an easy 1.7-mile loop trail along the Rio Grande. The trail is well-situated for birding, hiking, and running. Dogs on leashes are welcome in the sculpture garden and on the trail.
The picnic area features a touching tribute to the wildlife that perished in a wildfire that burned hundreds of acres of bosque, or riverside woodland. With a chainsaw, firefighter Mark Chavez carved a memorial to many of the animals lost in the fire from the trunks of burned cottonwoods.
At the entrance to the open space, a sign provides insight into the importance of this portion of the bosque. In ancient times, Puebloan people depended on the Rio Grande for survival. Later, in the 1700s and 1800s, Spanish families settled the land, and it became part of the Atrisco Land Grant. As the territory changed hands, more people moved to Albuquerque to farm, raise livestock, and enjoy the Rio Grande’s beauty and bounty.
Mariposa Basin Park
Mariposa Basin Park, located at 6401 Taylor Ranch Road NW, contains almost 50 acres to explore. Bring a picnic and watch the ducks and geese that gather at the pond. The many family activities include play areas, ballfields, horseshoe pits, and a jogging path. This location offers three flat and easy trail loops that range from a half mile to a mile.
North Domingo Baca Park
North Domingo Baca Park can accommodate the whole family and doggie friends. Take your pup to the dog park, which has water and separate areas for large and small dogs. Youngsters can rock climb, visit the skate park, or scramble over the playground equipment. The multigenerational center also has a 50+ fitness center. Visit the tennis courts, and play racquetball, pickleball, or bocce ball. There are shade structures with picnic tables and plenty of grass and trees. Ramble the paved, accessible walking paths. There is a well-maintained public bathroom.
Jerry Kline Park
Jerry Kline Park, in Uptown, is attached to the Jerry Cline Tennis Center with 18 courts. The park features a more than half-mile, wide gravel trail for walking. There is a large playground with lots of grass around it. Small shade trees and shade structures provide shelter. A trail has access to the Tom Black Urban Forest and dog park. There also is access to the multi-use Paseo de las Montañas trail.