What’s Nearby

Seven wonders of our world.


Cliff River Springs is both away from it all and close to so much. There are unique off-the-beaten-track places to discover close by and the best part is, you’re likely to have them to yourself. In fact, we often marvel about that…turning to each other in front a spectacular view, ruin, canyon, or trail and saying “It’s the weekend, and we’re the only ones here!?” It’s a good thing.

Many resources exist online to point you in some right directions – the beauty, food and culture of North Central New Mexico are becoming known, after all. But you might overlook some of the wonderful, out-of-the-way places specific to our part of this world if we didn’t give you some hints. First step? Book a casita today. Then set out in the spirit of discovery to enjoy these places while you’re here.
Plaza Blanca
This hidden canyon of intriguing land formations is located near the Rio Chama, an easy half hour drive from Cliff River Springs. In the 1940s, Georgia O’Keeffe created several paintings of The White Place’s wind carved sandstone spires. Look for mud swallow nests on the white slot canyon walls. Easy hiking best done early or late in the day when shadows make for great photos. Stop at Bode’s General Store in Abiquiú afterwards for a green chile cheese burger, and to top up the gas tank.
The High Bridge

Also known as the Gorge Bridge, this steel structure spans the 600-foot space between the east and west sides of the 29 million-year-old  Rio Grande Gorge. It stands 565 feet above the surface of the Rio Grande, making it the seventh highest bridge in the U.S. Park your car and walk across it for a breathtaking (some would say heart stopping) view of the great river. Look for bighorn sheep precariously moving along the steep rocky slopes beneath you. From here, it’s just ten miles further east on US 64 to Taos.

Earthship Biotecture

Also on US 64, on the western side of the gorge and just 1.5 miles from the High Bridge, the Earthship community is hard at work building homes with recycled materials to have zero carbon footprints. Take a self-guided tour of the Visitor’s Center and education facility to experience earthships’ sustainable, off-the-grid design principles and indoor food growing capabilities in action. Ph: 575-613-4409

Abiquiú Lake

Lying beneath 9,862-foot Cerro Pedernál, the impounded waters of the Rio Chama offer opportunities for picnicing, swimming, wind surfing, fishing and boating. The lake is a 5,200-surface-acre reservoir destined for Albuquerque that’s managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A Visitor Center located on Highway 96 near the dam is open Mon – Fri, 8 to 4. From Abiquiú Lake you’re close to Ghost Ranch and the beautiful Echo Amphitheater which are just a bit further north on US 84.  

Abiquiu Lake 2
Ra’s Windows of the Earth cave

Cave artist Ra Paulette and his unique art form were the subjects of the 2014 Oscar-nominated short documentary “Cavedigger.” Note that these photos were taken in his Tree of Human Kindness cave, which sadly is no longer open to visitors. However, Windows of the Earth, Paulette’s sculpted sanctuary hidden in the sandstone hills south of Ojo Caliente, is breathtaking. Located on private land belonging to Origin, signing up for a tour is about the only way to visit it. Further information is available here.

The Mica Mines + Posi-Ouinge

Hiking trails leading into BLM land from behind the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs pass through beautiful scenery north to a number of long abandoned mica mines and south to the large unexcavated Puebloan village Posi-Ouinge, which thrived between 1300 and 1500 A.D. The end destination of one trail delivers you to ground littered with glittering flecks of mica, the other to a trove of pottery shards which must remain in place. The Mineral Springs has created a trail map showing both destinations.

Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument

In recognition of the rugged beauty of the plains and canyons running north up the Rio Grande to the border of Colorado, a Presidential Proclamation bestowed national monument status upon a quarter of a million acres — many of them virtually in our back yard — in March of 2013. The Orilla Verde Recreation Area is closest to us and offers wonderful hiking, biking and floating opportunities.Please visit the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center on NM68 south of Taos and near Pilar (ph: 575-751-4899) for a map of hiking trails in the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. 

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