Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Programs title bar with the National Park Service arrowhead Parknet and arrowhead

New Mexico Segments
Attila Bality
National Park Service
Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance
UNM Hibben Center Rm 307
450 University Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
(505) 346- 2871 ext 213
Photo of river in New Mexico




Length (miles)

Year Listed/ Updated



Other States

Canadian River

San Miguel, Harding, Mora, Colfax

From upper Conchas Reservoir upstream to Taylor Springs (SE of Springer)




S, R, G, W, H

Portions of the Canadian River are within Kiowa National Grasslands, managed by the Forest Service, and the area was identified in RARE II. The Canadian River was recommended as a component of the proposed state rivers system. The river canyon in Mora County is also recommended as a component of the state Natural Areas Inventory. The river provides good fishing for channel catfish in lower reaches.


Canones Creek

Rio Arriba

From confluence with Abiquiu Reservoir upstream to headwaters near county line




S, R, G, F, C

The Creek is almost entirely within the Santa Fe National Forest and its headwaters are in the Valles Caldera, a National Natural Landmark. The Creek is characterized as a unique, strongly enclosed drainage which reveals part of the geologic history of the Valles Caldera, a large volcanic crater in the Jemez Mountains. The Creek area is under study as a special non-motorized dispersed recreation area by the Forest Service. It provides good fishing opportunities and supports a viable population of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, a state protected species. The lower reaches pass near the impressive Tsiping Ruins (Canones Mesa). Canones Creek was identified as a potential state natural area in a 1975 study.


Costilla Creek


From Costillo Reservoir upstream to headwaters (New Mexico - Colorado state line)




S, R, F, W

One of the best native trout streams in the state. Within Vermejo Ranch (privately owned) which was studied for potential public acquisition as an area containing significant natural resources (timber, minerals, large elk herd, diverse fish and wildlife species, scenic qualities, cultural resources, variety of recreation opportunities. Vermejo Ranch meets the significance criteria for inclusion in the National Forest and National Park Systems, and has been identified by Fish and Wildlife Service as an area of important fish and wildlife habitat. It is a small, meandering stream in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, with a wide valley bottom. Valley walls consist of rounded, conifer-covered hills.


Gallinas Creek

San Miguel

From gaging station near Montezuma upstream to headwaters in Youngs Canyon (Evergreen Valley Ranch)




S, R, F, W

Partially within Santa Fe National Forest. Eight campgrounds/picnic/fishing areas in National Forest. Flows through a narrow V-shaped canyon with good coniferous tree cover.


Gila River

Hidalgo, Grant

From San Carlos Reservoir in AZ upstream to confluence with East and West Forks of the Gila River




S, G, F, W, C

Partially within the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located near the NM segment. The Gila Trout, a federally listed endangered species, is found in the NM watershed. Three areas in NM have been identified by the Fish and Wildlife Service as areas of important fish and wildlife habitat. Recommended as component of proposed NM rivers system and NM Natural Areas Inventory has identified the red rock cliff area as significant. The river varies from the pristine setting in the Wilderness and National Forest to a broad sandy floodplain traversing low, rolling terrain. In NM, the river valley is important as habitat for a variety of state listed endangered species, but is unique because of the tremendous diversity of wildlife species found in the area. Richest avifauna of any riparian system in NM. The river flows through a highly scenic gorge of unspoiled beauty in the Gila Box in AZ. Highly eroded deep canyon with steep rock walls. One of the least altered stretches remaining in AZ. Numerous archeological sites with National Register potential. Scientific values are high- great opportunities for research. Strata is vivid and well displayed with many cliffs and very narrow side canyons. Southern Bald Eagle is a resident.


Gila River, Middle and Lower

Hidalgo, Grant

San Carlos Reservoir in AZ upstream to confluence of east and west forks of Gila River


1982/ 1993


S, G, F, W, C

Scenic, recreational, geologic, T&E species, fish and wildlife, cultural. Steep sided canyons with associated high quality riparian and aquatic habitat.


Mora River

San Miguel, Mora

From confluence with the Canadian River north of Sabinoso to a spot 12 miles upstream, north of Maes




S, R, G, W, H

The Canadian and the lower Mora Rivers form scenic canyons with few man-made intrusions, providing outstanding opportunities for a canyon wilderness experience. Numerous old Spanish homesteads can be found along the river. The river is unique for its free-flowing character on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, exhibiting natural hydrologic cycles. The corridor provides opportunities to view geological strata and has excellent riparian habitat. High quality recreation opportunities exist for camping and hunting.


Pecos River

Guadalupe, San Miguel, Mora

From upper Los Esteros Reservoir (below confluence with Gallinas River) upstream to headwaters




S, R, F, H

Partially within Sante Fe National Forest and is an important, heavily used recreation resource (fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking). Pecos National Monument is near the river corridor, and part of the Sante Fe Trail parallels the river. Recommended as a component of proposed state rivers system and identified as a significant natural area in state inventory. Noted as one of the best fishing streams for trout in the state- well stocked and heavily used. Villanueva State Park is located near the river and provides a variety of recreational opportunities. The upper reaches flow through wooded high mountain canyons; the lower reaches flow through barren tablelands with bluffs and rugged rock formations.



Rio Guadalupe


From confluence with Jemez River near Canon upstream to confluence with Rio De Las Vacas and Rio Cebolla




S, R, G, W, H

The river is within the Santa Fe National Forest. The corridor contains historic railroad tunnels through the spectacular Guadalupe Box Canyon. Surrounding mesas contain significant cultural ruins. The canyon is a popular dispersed recreation area for camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. It provides habitat for threatened and endangered species. The river was identified as a potential state natural area in a 1975 study.


San Francicso River


From south crossing of New Mexico-Arizona state line (SW of Glenwood) upstream to Luna Lake (near Alpine, AZ)




S, R, F, C, O

Entirely within Gila National Forest. The Arizona Trout, a federally listed threatened species, is found in upper reaches. Recommended as a component of proposed state rivers system. The San Francisco River Box, Canyon Hot Springs and Natural Bridge are identified as a significant natural area. The upper reaches are noted for deep canyons with stands of ponderosa pine, juniper, cottonwoods, box elder, and Arizona sycamore. Principal recreation uses are hiking, photography and scenic vistas. Wildlife includes bighorn sheep, whitetail or Coos deer and Rocky Mountain mule deer. Many hot springs occur on lower reaches and are popular for recreation. Other recreation uses include hiking and fishing. Prehistoric remains are evident in canyon walls, cliffs and caves. Rock art is also evident. Wildlife includes bighorn sheep and desert mule deer. Channel and flathead catfish, carp and suckers are plentiful. Vegetation is primarily willows, cottonwoods, and Arizona Sycamore.