Wild & Scenic Rivers - Southwest


Verde River
Tonto National Forest
This central Arizona river flows through highly varied and distinctive terrain, including vistas with sharp peaks, serrated ridges, isolated peaks with distinctive color contrasts, and deep canyons displaying unusual configurations and colors. Threatened and endangered plant and fish populations live here.
Total Miles: 40.5, Wild: 18.5, Scenic: 22

Hardly a Mirage - Paddling along the Verde River.

Rio Grande River
Carson National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District
435 Montano Road, NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Featuring the lower box and the racecourse segments, this river offers challenging whitewater.
Total Miles: 64.75, Wild: 51.75, Scenic: 12, Recreational: 1

Jemez River, East Fork
Santa Fe National Forest
The East Fork originates in the Valles Caldera as a small meandering stream in a vast crater. On its way to its confluence with the Rio San Antonio, it passes through the heart of the Jemez Mountain's most popular recreation area.
Total Miles: 11, Wild: 4, Scenic: 5, Recreational: 2

Pecos River
Santa Fe National Forest
The Pecos River, famous in the folklore of the frontier, flows out of the Pecos Wilderness, through rugged, granite canyons and over waterfalls, and passes by small high-mountain meadows. It is one of New Mexico's most heavily used trout streams.
Total Miles: 20.5, Wild: 13.5, Recreational: 7

Rio Chama
Carson National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District,
435 Montano Road, NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Beginning in southern Colorado and flowing into New Mexico between El Vado and Abiquiu reservoirs, this river offers the fisherman and recreational boater an outstanding wild river experience. Its banks contain numerous archeological sites indicative of the native American culture of northern New Mexico.
Total Miles: 24.6, Wild: 21.5, Scenic: 3.1

Rio Grande River
Big Bend National Park
A 191.2-mile strip of the American shore of the Rio Grande in the Chihdabuan Desert protects the river. It begins in Big Bend National Park and continues downstream to the Terrell-Val Verde county line.
Total Miles: 191.2, Wild: 95.2, Scenic: 96

Definitions of the terms;"Wild, Scenic, and Recreational."Contrary to what you might think, these terms don't describe the character of the river. Wild doesn't mean it's a wicked and foamy stretch of whitewater, and scenic doesn't mean it's a pastoral float. Rather, it's all about accessibility. Here's what the government says. . . Wild; this river is accessible only by trail, is undeveloped and generally is unpolluted.
Scenic; this river can be accessed by some roads but is mainly still a trail access river.
Recreational; this river has been developed along the shoreline and is easily accessible by roads, trails not necessary.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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