Scenic USA - New Mexico

Rio Grande Gorge

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Rio Grande Gorge - El Prado, New Mexico

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   Descending westward from a mountainous region around Taos, U.S. Route 64 opens into a broad, flat plain. Covered in sparse desert vegetation, the immense valley floor spreads out for miles. If it wasn't for the sight of a bridge ahead, first time visitors would have no idea the Earth opens up into a huge chasm in the desert floor. Here, the gorge depth is 800 feet deep where the Rio Grande River follows a 30 million year old rift.
   Just to the north across the border, the Rio Grande River begins its 1900 mile journey in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Better known as a border river between Texas and Mexico (much further to the south), Rio Grande Gorge Bridge State Park this upper, not so famous, section of the Rio Grande is recognized for its soul-shaking whitewater. A frothy mixer churns up Class II to Class V whitewater. Known as the Taos Box, river runners are often warned there's no turning back once you've entered into the canyon.
   Although the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge earned plenty of recognition from the American Institute of Steel Construction, it still makes for a shaky viewing platform. Among some of the highest bridges in the United States, the 1280 foot cantilever bridge completes a major east-west highway in north-central New Mexico.

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