The Big Valle is the largest meadow in the Valle Vidal unit, and can only be accessed by foot, horse, or mountain bike.
Wild Rivers Recreation Area
|Description: Two nationally designated wild and scenic rivers, the Red and Rio Grande, converge at this site and rush through a rugged gorge more than 800 feet deep. Lush grasses, pinon/juniper, and sagebrush surround the gorge. A small driving loop offers good wildlife viewing. La Junta Overlook offers a spectacular view; five of the area’s many hiking trails lead to the bottom of the gorge.|
Wildlife to Watch: Very good year-round viewing of mule deer and elk at dawn/dusk in the loop are; elk are best seen in late winter during pre-dawn hours. Black bear may be seen late summer and fall, any time of day. Watch for the black-billed magpie, turkey vulture, common raven, scrub jay, northern flicker, and hairy and downy woodpecker. Little brown bats appear on summer evenings. Look for the Gunnison’s prairie dog village near the sign for La Junta Overlook. Good year-round viewing of golden eagles and red-tailed hawks. Bald eagles use the river corridor in winter; ducks and geese occur along both rivers in summer. The western tanager, violet-green swallow, Clark’s nutcracker, and white-throated swift are present spring through fall. Many broad-tailed humming birds nest here in May, and stay through October. Abundant mountain bluebirds. Evenings, watch for elusive ringtails at the bottom of the gorge near the shelters.
Special Tips: Considering viewing during spring and fall wildflowers.
Other Activities: Weekend guided hikes in summer.
Ownership: Bureau of Land Management; New Mexico State Land Office (permit may be required).
Closest Town: Questa
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: