Day Trips: Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, N.M.

Take a walk with a wild view across the seventh-highest bridge in the U.S.

Day Trips: Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, N.M.
photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside of Taos, N.M., offers a magnificent view of the long, narrow canyon. The Rio Grande cuts a deep gash in the flat desert landscape with the purple Sangre de Cristo Mountains framing the horizon in the distance.

Day Trips: Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, N.M.

From the dizzying height of 565 feet, the river looks like a silver ribbon reflecting the sunlight at the bottom of a rugged V-shaped chasm. You can drive U.S. 64 across the bridge, or you can walk across on the sidewalks on either side of the bridge. Small platforms extend out from the bridge, giving pedestrians the feeling of floating above the fissure.

Unfortunately, the spectacular height is also a magnet for an average of three jumpers per year. In an effort to avoid the difficult task of retrieving bodies from the rugged terrain, the state has placed crisis phones intermittently along the bridge, which only adds to the spookiness of looking over the edge.

Day Trips: Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, N.M.

On the western end of the bridge is the Rio Grande Gorge State Park, with covered picnic tables, restrooms, and an impressive view of the bridge. Vendors set up along the highway sell jewelry, New Mexico souvenirs, and food.

Another way to see the bridge is from the river looking up. All-day rafting trips begin north of the bridge and then pinball through the white water of the Taos Box before coming out near Taos.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is about 12 miles northwest of Taos on U.S. 64.

1,252nd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos, New Mexico, Rio Grande Gorge State Park

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