Open Space Visitor Center

Just south of Paseo del Norte and west of the Rio Grande is this portion of the Albuquerque Open Space. It is currently fenced off as a wildlife refuge. The parking area provides easy access to the Paseo del Norte bike path.

Richard had a driving lesson this Sunday morning.  I spent the couple hours in a pleasant bike ride along the Rio Grande.  I had heard of the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center and decided to try to locate it on this trip.

There are levees on both banks of the river, with an access road on top. I turned off the Paseo bike path onto the levee road along the west bank.

Richard’s driving lesson was at a storefront in a shopping center on Coors Boulevard, near Paseo del Norte.  So it was not a far drive to park next to a wildlife preserve off of Paseo that connected to the Paseo bike path.  The parking area was nearly full, as many people were enjoying the outdoors.

Paralleling the river is the Corrales Main Drain. I had to cross the Drain to the west and then double back north to reach the Visitor Center.

This day I elected to take the levee road on the west side of the Rio Grande River.  The levee road is popular with bikers, hikers, dog walkers, and joggers, all of whom were out in force.  Nice views of the bosque on my left, and horse farms on my right made for a pleasant ride.  I followed the levee road nearly to Montaño Boulevard, where I met two gentlemen walking a dog.  They had brochures describing the sculptures at Pueblo Montaño.  They pointed me toward the Open Space Visitor Center.

The trail entrance to the Open Space Vistor Center is at the end of this coyote fence.

To get to the Visitor Center from the levee road, one must first cross a drainage ditch and then backtrack north to the Center.  The path is not clearly marked and I took the wrong turn at first.  When I eventually I did find the Center, I was pleasantly surprised.  The Open Space Visitor Center has a beautiful courtyard that was in use for a yoga class.  Indoors is room for an art gallery that displays work of local artists, and a lecture hall.  Outdoors is a large field that will attract Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes in the winter.  An observation deck extends out over the field.  I saw an observation platform rising from the top of the Center building, but did not have a chance to use it.  A Spanish colonial garden completes the outdoor area.

"Arbor de la Vida" is located on the east (river) side of the Center. The sculpture is carved from a dead tree that was left in place.

Sandhill Cranes grace the top of the "Arbor de la Vida" sculpture.

Another "chainsaw" sculpture is located on the west side of the Center, next to the parking lot.

The Visitor Center had samples of solar dye displayed. Here is a yellow dye made from Saltbush.

There are a couple “chainsaw sculptures” on the grounds.  With the level of detail in these sculptures, I’m sure a chainsaw was not the only tool used.  These sculptures are carved from dead trees, probably Cottonwoods, that are left in place in the ground.  Very impressive.

A yoga class was in session in the courtyard of the Visitor Center.

Examples of a Hunter-Gatherer Garden and a Spanish Garden were displayed outside the courtyard. Here an olla serves as an automatic watering system in the Spanish garden. The unglazed clay pot is filled with water, which soaks to the soil, watering the plant.

I took this picture from the observation deck that extends out into the field on the east side of the Center. Note the observation deck on the roof of the Center.

Too soon it was time to leave in order to pick up Richard from his driving class. The return trip followed the same path as outbound, just at a faster clip.

On the north side of the Visitor Center, along the automobile access road, is a marsh and duck pond.

Adventure Maps

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center at EveryTrail

EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking near Albuquerque, New Mexico

Since the trail was along the levee beside the river, this trip was nearly flat.

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