Refuge Gate: M-F 8-4:30
Visitor Center: W-TH 8-4:30
In 2023, the gate and the visitor center are closed on these weekday federal holidays: 1/2, 2/20, 5/29, 6/19, 7/4, 9/4, 10/9, 11/10, 11/23, 12/25.
When the gate is closed, you may park outside the gate and hike in. Trailheads are about a 10-minute hike from the gate.
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, in central New Mexico, stretches from the Ladrone Mountains in the west to the Pinos Mountains in the east. The Refuge is open year-round. No entrance fees are required. The Refuge can be found 50 miles south of Albuquerque and 20 miles north of Socorro. It spans 30 miles east-to-west, and 15 miles north-to-south. To find the Visitor Center, take exit 169 from Interstate 25, head west and follow the signs.
Bringing the Outside In
The exhibits inside the Visitor Center tell stories of the life on the refuge. See plants and animals from the great river habitat, the Chihuahuan Desert, the rich prairie, and the rugged mountains. Some of the most fascinating exhibits tell the story of the geology of the Sevilleta, with its fault block mountains and the effects of the volcanic activity from long ago.
The business of the refuge is conducted at the Visitor Center. Staff and volunteers will be available to provide you with maps, brochures, checklists, and other information about what's happening on the refuge. The Visitor Center is also the starting point for three walking trails. Finally, don't forget to stop by the Nature Store for educational materials and souvenirs.
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge trails are open from sunrise to sunset every day. For more information on these trails and a trail guide, stop at the Visitors Center. For other hikes in Soccorro County see the online book Hiking and Biking in Socorro County New Mexico.
Mesa View Trail
A strenuous three and a half mile hike, the Mesa View Trail, leads through rolling land before a steady climb to the top of the mesa that overlooks the river valley to the east and the La Jencia Plain to the west. A short section of steep stairs returns you to the Visitors Center. Allow approximately 2 hours for this hike. For a longer, 5.2 mile hike, connect to the Ladrones Vista trail which will take you back to the Visitors Center. This adds 1 ½ hours to the hike.. Click for map. Click for video tour (opens in YouTube).
This loop, the shortest of the three trails that begin at the Visitor Center, rambles through a beautifully diverse mix of plants typical of the Refuge's varied habitats. Click for map.
The easy 1.1 mile Nature Trail loop passes through open desert and follows sandy arroyos before returning to its start. Family-friendly, this trail is marked with signs identifying plants and physical features and takes approximately 45 minutes. Click for map.
San Lorenzo Canyon
A scenic area of sheltered caves, sandstone cliffs, arches and hoodoos, San Lorenzo Canyon is rich in history and natural beauty. Geological formations make it an excellent spot for hiking and photography. You can explore a small spring, arroyo bottoms, and cave sites. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail. Driving to this site takes you along unpaved roads. Ask at the Visitors Center for directions to the canyon and information on BLM trails in the area. Click for map and driving directions.
Ladrones Vista Trail
This trail links the Mesa View and Nature Trails. As a loop, Ladrones Vista is an approximately 3.5 mile hike. This moderate-to-strenuous trail includes steep grades and stairs up and down the mesa. Along the way you will marvel at the beauty of Sevilleta, the Ladrones mountain, and middle Rio Grande Valley. Keep your eyes open for birds, lizards, and insects. The Ladrones loop takes approximately 2 hours. Continuing north on the Mesa View trail provides an approximately 5.2 mile loop back to the Visitors Center, and takes an additional 1 ½ hours.
Four birding trails exist in Unit A and Unit B, along the Rio Grande. Access is from the east frontage road at I-25 Exit 169 following gravel and dirt roads which may not be passable in bad weather. Maps, directions, and fall hunting schedules are available at the Visitors Center.