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10 Best Places for Wildflowers in the Rio Rancho area

10 Best Places for Wildflowers in the Rio Rancho area

Posted on March 28, 2019

New Mexico’s precipitation in the past month could yield a particularly robust crop of wildflowers this spring. Great for hikers, bikers and photographers, these gorgeous signs of spring are easy to find when you ask the experts.

Las Cruces Sun News asked Judith Phillips, local landscape designer and author of books about planting climate-adapted species, and botanical artist Wren Allen of Santa Fe for suggestions on the best places to hunt for wildflowers.

What specific blooms will be visible? Phillips said desert marigolds, fleabanes, white-tufted evening primrose, blue flax, sundrops, white delphinium and various verbenas are among the expected varieties. Bloom times depend on how quickly the soil warms, which can be accelerated or delayed by day and night temperatures.

Tops Spots to See Wildflowers Near Rio Rancho

  1. Mariposa Preserve: The Mariposa Preserve; 2,200 acres of dedicated open space owned by The Albuquerque Academy, provides immediate access to stunning wildflowers throughout more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails through high desert vistas, juniper and pinon-covered hills, boulder outcroppings, and gentle grasslands. It offers gorgeous 360-degree views of both the Jemez Mountains and majestic Sandia Mountain Range and is only 30 minutes from Albuquerque.

Phillips also recommends these areas as the most likely spots to find spring wildflowers:

  1. The Volcano Day Use Area, just west of Albuquerque, part of the Petroglyph National Monument. Access for the volcano trails and parking area is up on the mesa off Atrisco Vista Boulevard.
  2. The Placitas Open Space trails in the Sandia Foothills, off New Mexico Highway 165. This area is part of the city of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division, which includes 29,000 acres in and around the city.
  3. If you can make it further south, approximately 100 miles from Albuquerque, Phillips says, “The Chupadera Trail at Bosque del Apache could be really good this spring.”
  4. Drive south another two and a half hours and you might see a carpet of Mexican gold poppies that smother the base of the Franklin Mountains in the northwest corner of Texas and the base of the Organ Mountains for a few weeks each year.

Botanical artist Wren Allen suggests these areas for beauty and inspiration:

  1. The sunny upslope side of the Aspen Vista Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest offers a lovely mix of wildflower species pretty much all late spring and summer.
  2. Tesuque Creek Trail is steeper, narrower, and more challenging, but it may be worth the trek to see the lovely crimson columbines there.
  3. Winsor Trail Loop features a river and is rated moderate. You can take your dog on this one!
  4. Nambe Lake Trail features a lake, rated as difficult.
  5. Cerrillos Hills State Park has mining history amongst five miles of trails and spectacular views of the Sandia, Ortiz, Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges.

For links to excellent wildflower resources and details on how to access these trails, visit https://nmsudesertblooms.blogspot.com/.

Both Phillips and Allen highly recommend visiting the Santa Fe Botanical Garden for tours and plant education.

Another great recommendation is Native Plants of New Mexico’s Facebook page for the latest wildflower sightings.

Finally, the New Mexico State University Extension Horticulture page offers additional resources. Social media is @NMDesertBlooms.

Happy hunting amidst the wildflowers!

Credit to Marisa Y. Thompson for the Las Cruces Sun News.

Looking for a new home or custom home site near Albuquerque? Nestled among the foothills of Rio Rancho, Mariposa is a master-planned community situated just 30 minutes north of Albuquerque. Mariposa is designed for living naturally and offers a fully-equipped fitness center, resort-style indoor and outdoor pools, parks, sports courts, miles of trails and abundant open space, and endless views at the Mariposa Preserve and surrounding mountains.

Learn more at https://www.liveinmariposa.com/

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