Saturday, May 19, 2012

Travel Day to Abiquiu Lake, NM and Wow!

Yesterday, we left our friendly Rock Pigeon in Cochiti Lake P1010825

(who loved to enjoy the little drip we had from our faucet) and drove 90 miles north to Abiquiu Lake in northern NM. There was very interesting highway art to entertain us as we drove north. I’d not seen painted overpasses before that were not graffiti!


The terrain changed the further north we went and the rocks turned redder with every mile.


Once we turned off Highway 84 to Highway 96, we found our next home, Riana COE Campground at Abiquiu Lake.

This started my Wow! factor. I have tons of pictures of this area. I can’t decide which to share. I just keep looking around and saying “wow”!


Our site, # 15, gives us magnificent views of the lake and the mountains. This is our view out Lucy’s front window.


The view to the right.


The view to the left…


and, Lucy in her site, all tucked in.


This is another Corp of Engineer campground, our very favorite.

This morning we decided to do a little exploring and get our bearings. First, we stopped at the boat ramp to see about launching our Sea Eagle for a paddle around the lake.   It was gorgeous out there but a tiny bit too breezy. P1010854

If you looked closely,  you could see white caps on the waves! Maybe another day. We then took off to the tiny town of Abiquiu. I believe the latest  population numbers puts it at 700. There is not a lot there. A Post Office, a library, a church and a General Store. OK then… off in the other direction to Ghost Ranch.


Famed painter Georgia O’Keeffe, a Wisconsin native before moving to New York,  began spending summers here in 1929, and in 1949, made Abiquiu her permanent home. She came to the ranch in 1934 and eventually bought a house and 8 acres here. This land/house is now privately owned with no public access :( Georgia O’Keeffe is a national treasure in New Mexico :)

Another of Ghost Ranches claim to fame is the fact that is is one of the ten biggest dinosaur fossil beds in the world! Pretty amazing stuff.  200 million years ago, Ghost Ranch and the American Southwest were located close to the equator and had a warm monsoon-like climate. Fossils have been found here as early as 1885.


When we left Ghost Ranch we headed back to the campground stopping at the Rio Chama Recreation area just past the campground entrance.


We attempted to go to the Visitor’s Center to get some trail guides and general information about the area, but it was closed :(  It’s sad that our park system has no one to work/volunteer in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday! There are some very good opportunities out there for those that want to volunteer :)

We headed down into the Canyon of the Rio Chama Recreation area. The first mile or so, once we got to the canyon floor, was a nicely maintained road with a picnic area on the left right on the Rio Chama River. There was a small rapids there and the thought of sitting river side, reading a good book was very enticing. We continued onto a non-maintained dirt/mud road that followed the Rio Chama for quite some time.


This is not a route we’d suggest to anyone that didn’t have a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle. Seriously. It’s quite the ride. We followed the Rio Chama until we decided it was time to turn around and go back :)  We would have loved to have kayaked the river. It had a great flow and it would have been a great paddle (very little paddling would have been required). Unfortunately, it was many miles from put-in to take-out and we only have one vehicle :( So, if anyone would like to paddle the RIo Chama this week, let us know! We can work something out!

That’s about it for today. I must leave  you with a picture of last nights sunset right through Lucy’s front window :)


Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. COE parks rock! How's the temps there? It might be the reason there are no volunteers at this time of the year??

    1. Judy, the temps are mid 70's to low 80's. Perfect, actually. If we didn't have obligations to get to later in the summer, I'd check into staying. Of course, by then, it'd be HOT, I'm sure :)

  2. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! What spectacular scenery!!!

    We would love to kayak the Rio Chama... We are available until Tuesday ;o))

    Can't wait to see more of this area!!!

  3. Love that park - definitely pinning it. Can't wait to stay in all these great COE parks.

  4. Your pictures are amazing - they look like postcards! We are free too but oh what a commute that would be! Miss you!

  5. Again, another wonderful post. Thank you so much.

  6. Wow, wow, and wow!! You have found another beautiful place. Love COE. Did you put in reservations or were you a lucky walk-in? I think I could spend quite a while in NM and CO.

    1. Syl, we did have a reservation here because we were coming in on a Friday and were afraid the weekend warriors would scoop up all the sites before us. (There are only 15 RV sites but several tent sites) Normally, however, we just wing it, but we tend to travel earlier in the week.

  7. What gorgeous scenery!! We cannot wait to get out to that part of the country! Keep sharing and we will pretend we are there!! :)

  8. I have pinned this destination! Thanks for blogging about the area.

  9. Beautiful pictures. Wish we could be there to paddle with you.


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