- 24 miles (38 km)
- 2 hours to drive the byway.
The Quebradas Back Country Byway is an unpaved county roadtraversing 24 miles of rugged, colorful landscapes east of Socorro. TwoNational Wildlife Refuges are only a few miles from this byway --Sevilleta to the north and Bosque del Apache to the south. Much of theroute includes rolling bench lands that rise above the Rio Grandefloodplain to the west and rugged north-south running ridges ofalternating bands or red and yellow sandstone, red and purple shale,and white to gray limestone.
The Rio Grande and its associated vegetation provide importanthabitat for a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, coyote, bobcat,gray fox, raccoon, porcupine, oppossum, ground squirrel, cottontail,and jackrabbit. Typical bird species you may see include the snowgoose, sandhill crane, quail, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel,roadrunner, horned lark, raven and numerous songbirds. The endangeredwhooping crane is also occasionallysighted along the river. Common reptiles include the collared lizard,eastern fence lizard, bull snake, king snake, whip snake, and westerndiamondback rattlesnake.
The region includes upper Chihuahuan desert mountain ranges withsparse vegetation. The Quebradas road crosses several arroyos whichdrain into the Rio Grande. Erosion has created scenic geologicalsettings such as the Arroyo de la Presilla, Arroyo del Tajo, and theLoma de las Canas ridgeline. Many areas along the road contain nearvertical, multi-colored cliffs, twisted and convoluted badlands, narrowbox canyons, and other topographic landforms. Colorful soils andbanding of rock formations can be viewed midway through the drive.
The Arroyo de la Presilla, Arroyo del Tajo and Arroyo de Tio Bartoloare areas of outstanding visual quality characterized by variouserosional features, including water-sculpted limestone and granite walls. These areas provide excellent back country opportunities.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
The 15-mile auto tour loop allows visitors to enjoy wildlifeviewing and photography. Wildlife here is accustomed to visitorsand may be closely observed from vehicles, which serve as photoblinds. The refuge tour route is open from one hour before sunriseto one hour after sunset every day of the year.
The Seasonal Tour Road is open April through September. This isan excellent place to observe shorebirds and waders. During thewinter, this area is reserved as a roost area for eagles andcranes. Vehicles must remain on established roads that are open tothe public and out of designated wilderness areas.
Rio Grande (NM)
The drive along the Rio Grande from Elephant Butte Lake to Truthor Consequences is very picturesque, with the river meanderingthrough the desert mountains. Fishing is popular in the riverduring the summer.
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NM)
Refuge tours are generally offered 1-3 times throughout the year, while educational programs may be scheduled upon request, depending on weather and availability of staff. Please check with refuge manager for dates, times, and further details.
Sevilleta NWR's Unit A is open to limited hunting of ducks and doves. Only non-toxic shot is permitted. Please check with the refuge manager for additional rules and regulations.
The Unit A, Cornerstone Marsh and Unit B areas are open to wildlife viewing. They are wonderful locations to observe and photograph migrating shorebirds and waterfowl. Please contact refuge manager for dates and times.
San Lorenzo Canyon is open to hiking and offers a wonderful chance to explore the Chihuahuan Desert plant and animal life. Unique geological formations make it a wonderful spot for photography. Please contact refuge manager for a map and specific details.
The original purpose for establishing Sevilleta NWR was to maintain the lands in their natural state. Consequently, the refuge is not open to general public use.