One of the advantages of living in Rio Rancho and New Mexico, in general, is the immediate access to outdoor activities. Rio Rancho offers many bicycling options including bike lanes, paths, and trails throughout the city. The varied trails range from easy to difficult, and many allow dogs. Families with children may prefer easy trails along the Rio Grande River. To find your favorite and maps of trails, visit Rio Rancho Parks, Bike Paths, Open Space, and Trails.
Mesa Contenta Lookout Park is an easy one-mile out-and-back trail that will take about a half hour to complete. This trail is great for hiking, running, and walking, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring it. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
Fat Bike Trails
The Mariposa Preserve has more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails. This scenic preserve caters to fat bikes, which are required to preserve the highly erosive trail system. This collection of trails is a directional system. Please read all signs and look for the directional arrows. Most of these trails are planned for expert riders and are rated intermediate to difficult.
One of the top-rated mountain biking trails is the Mini Badlands Loop. However, it’s not for the novice mountain biker. This exciting trail is a very sandy, narrow singletrack loop. The almost two-mile trail, located at 6037 Redondo Sierra Vista NE, is rated as intermediate to difficult. This challenging trail passes through a flash flood area, so use caution during the summer monsoon season or winter rains. The trail provides great views of the sprawling Mariposa Preserve and surrounding mountain ranges. Dogs are not allowed.
Mariposa Parkway Trail, west of Mariposa Community Center at 2501 Parkway Ave., is an intermediate to difficult trail in the Mariposa Trails area. This is a very narrow and sandy trail built specifically for fat bikes. A more than seven-mile clockwise directional loop trail for advanced riders, Parkway Trail features steep climbs and scenic views. Sections of the trail are edged with cacti requiring precision and expert riding skills.
Rio Rancho Bosque Preserve Trail, at the corner of Riverside Drive and Allegheny Drive, has dirt biking and hiking paths through four acres with views of the Sandias and stands of cottonwood trees. Parking and a children’s park are nearby. The entire family — including the dog — can explore this trail at 1740 Black River Dr, NE. The trail is near the Rio Grande, so it may flood and be muddy. Depending on the river level, there are areas of sandy beach. Locals recommend visiting around sunset.
Trails for Children and Families
Willow Creek Trail, located at Willow Creek Road and Highway 528, is a local favorite for hikers and cyclists. It is dog and bicycle friendly. Along with beautiful views of the mountains and the Rio Grande, the multipurpose trail is shaded by established trees. Nature guides posted along the trails and the frequent availability of benches makes this trail inviting for children and their families. It is conveniently located near shopping and eating areas.
This level trail set in just over three acres is compacted and approximately six feet wide. The trail passes along the Rio Grande bank in a bosque setting. Park in a lot off Willow Creek Road to access this trail.
Enchanted Hills Path, between Chayote Road and Satellite Blvd., is a five-mile out-and-back trail that takes less than two hours to complete. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.
This wide paved path runs the length of the Enchanted Hills neighborhood with space for walkers, runners, and cyclists. You can access this trail from two parks: Mountain View Park and Vista Grande Park. This popular trail is a favorite at sunset when there are fantastic views of the colorful skies and the pink Sandia Mountains.
At the southeast end of the trail, a paved parking lot off Satellite Blvd. NE has designated van-accessible spaces. The most accessible portion of the trail is the first half-mile.
This easy trail has a gentle grade with some steep sections. A narrow gate about halfway along the trail may prevent wheelchair/mobility equipment or stroller access. Before the two-mile mark, stationary workout stations have been installed. The trail also passes a skate park and dog park.
Thompson Fenceline Trail at 411 Villa Verde Dr. SE is a mixed paved and dirt trail that runs through a power line utility corridor. The sometimes-steep trail offers sweeping views of the imposing Sandia Mountains and accesses several small local parks in neighborhoods along the trail.
Dogs love this trail! Watch for wildlife such as coyotes, hawks, roadrunners, and quail. Roadrunners and jackrabbits are also seen on a regular basis. There is very little shade, so grab a hat and put on sunscreen.
Dedicated parking is available at Villa Verde Drive. Additional parking is available next to the playground and trail entrance on Dolores Hidalgo Drive.