Distance: 2.5 miles (out and back)
Trail Conditions: Excellent
This short, pleasant and very easy trail in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument leads to a stunning overlook into the Rio Grande gorge. It offers fantastic views of the canyon and the river and presents good opportunities to see desert bighorn sheep!
Following NM-68 north from Espanola towards Taos, turn left onto NM-571 at Pilar at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center. Follow the road, eventually crossing the Taos Junction Bridge and start to climb away from the river. Less than a mile after crossing the bridge, turn right at a sign for La Vista Verde Trail, which quickly ends in a medium sized parking area.
From the parking area, the trail quickly dips into a small, dry arroyo, but immediately climbs back out. From here, the trail then descends onto a large, sage-filled bench with the river to your right.
For the next mile, the trail traverses along this flat bench, paralleling the river before terminating at two very nice benches that provide stunning views of the canyon above and the river below.
Be sure to look out for Desert Bighorn sheep, which like to hangout on some of the rocky outcroppings along the trail.