A Visit to an Underappreciated Destination South on I-25
Socorro: Terrific Getaway Just 70-plus Miles South of ABQ
Socorro’s tourist offerings include birds, beer, hiking
BY MORIAH CARTY
After hours on the road, be it any main highway, New Mexico starts to seem terribly similar. Take a detour on a lone state road, however, and underappreciated landscapes are waiting to be enjoyed.
Pack some snacks and jump in the vehicle.
Head south on I25. Take exit 150 to Socorro, and turn west on Spring Road. Follow the road signs toward The Box Recreational Area and watch as the slow, rolling hills turn into dark-colored rock features.
Albuquerque to The Box in Socorro: 85.9 miles
The area may seem unprepossessing at first. The trail follows the wash north and jagged rock features parallel the trail. It is a one mile out-and-back hike.
Since it’s so close to several wildlife reserves/refugees, bird sightings are sure to happen.
As you head north on the trail, many caves are visible. Enter at your own risk and be aware of various wildlife that may be resting.
On the east side, the rock is covered with bright green lichen. Along the hike, the canyon walls rise as the trail goes north. If you’re like me, you appreciate the small feeling that comes with it. Pick a spot in this relaxing location and unpack the snacks. The canyon creates a natural wind tunnel, so hold on.
If you’re lucky, you might spot some climbers. The area is a popular sport climbing and bouldering spot.
At sunset, should you happen across the area at that time, the rocks have a brilliant reddish hue.
When you’re done, head back through Socorro for some grub.
The Box to Socorro Springs Brewery: 9.3 miles
Back on NM 60, stop off at Socorro Springs Brewery. You can smell the delectable pizza as you exit the vehicle. Let the mouthwatering begin. They use a wood-fired stove to cook their pizzas. It’s to die for. And, if that’s not enough, they only use pecan wood from southern New Mexico.
When they opened in 1999, the brewery was the first to serve alcohol in the area since Prohibition.
After eating almost too much, hop back in the vehicle and head even further south, through San Antonio towards the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Socorro Springs Brewery to Bosque del Apache: 20.1 miles
Get ready for some real excitement. The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge comprises more than 56,000 acres, dedicated to the well-being of various wildlife.
The refuge was established in 1939, and is famous for the many types of cranes, geese and other avian groups that stay for the winter.
It’s so quiet, it’s hard to believe. Birds are everywhere so a true birdwatcher will be in heaven. There are different migration seasons for different birds, so if you’re looking for a specific type, check in with one of the staff to learn more.
There are many hikes and walks throughout the refuge, many of which cater to specific ecosystems. Again, check in with the folks who know the most.
Bosque del Apache to Albuquerque: 96.4 miles
Although it was a short trip, it was anything but dull.
As the day nears an end, head home. Small town travels are one of the most relaxing types.
Stops: 3; Miles: 211.7
Moriah Carty is an Albuquerque local with heavy sense of wanderlust.