With fall on the horizon, it’s finally time to experience autumn’s vibrant palette at some of Rio Rancho’s most picturesque locations. The following are some of the top places to see fall leaves in Rio Rancho and its surrounding areas this season.
Only a 15-minute drive from our community lies Willow Creek Bosque Trail, an enchanting destination for witnessing fall leaves in Rio Rancho transform (pictured above). This serene trail is only one mile, guiding travelers alongside the tranquil waters of the Rio Grande River. During autumn, the surrounding cottonwood trees and vegetation burst with a sea of warm colors, making the site ideal for savoring the ever-changing beauty of the foliage.
For more information: rrnm.gov.
Distance from Mariposa: 15 minutes.
Grab your camera and set off on a 20-minute journey from our community to Rio Rancho Water Wise Demonstration Garden, a haven for capturing the essence of fall leaves in Rio Rancho. This lush site showcases an array of native and adaptable plants, including trees that undergo striking changes during autumn. Visitors can explore well-maintained pathways adorned with trees and shrubs that ignite into a kaleidoscope of red, orange and yellow hues as the fall season unfolds. The garden also offers educational exhibits shedding light on Rio Rancho’s water-efficient landscaping practices, making it a delightful and enlightening excursion.
For more information: sandovalmastergardeners.org.
Distance from Mariposa: 20 minutes.
Situated at the heart of Albuquerque, a mere 35-minute drive from Mariposa, ABQ BioPark is a renowned site for nature enthusiasts and families alike. This park encompasses Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Albuquerque Aquarium and Rio Grande Zoo, all offering splendid settings to behold the changing leaves of fall. Rio Grande Botanic Garden, in particular, boasts a diverse collection of trees and plants, many of which put on a remarkable display of color during the autumn months. As you wander through the garden’s winding paths, you’ll be treated to a captivating tapestry of red, orange and golden leaves.
For more information: cabq.gov.
Distance from Mariposa: 35 minutes.
Embark on a day trip to eastern Albuquerque this autumn and visit Sandia Crest. Perched at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Sandia Crest offers awe-inspiring panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape, including Rio Grande Valley and the vibrant hues of fall foliage. Accessible via the scenic Sandia Crest Scenic Byway, this destination provides a unique vantage point for enjoying the changing seasons. Visitors can choose between a relaxed drive along the winding byway to reach the summit or opt for one of the numerous hiking trails in the area.
For more information: fs.usda.gov.
Distance from Mariposa: 1 hour.
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 liveinmariposa.com.
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