Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge On / Off-Road Loop


Bosque Geese

The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge Loop Ride is a club favorite that begins and ends at San Antonio, 9 miles south of Socorro, about 80 miles south of Albuquerque. This is a super tour when the migrating birds are in the bosque. Bring your binos and camera. In season, there are thousands of sand hill cranes, Canadian geese, snow geese, herons, whooping cranes if you're lucky, pelicans (!) and maybe bald eagles.

The tour can be shortened to about 12 miles of off-road if it begins at the pleasant tree lined visitor center. Have a picnic lunch after the ride at the covered picnic areas at the visitor's center. The roads on the refuge are packed dirt or gravel. A mountain bike or road bike with wide tires are preferable. There is no elevation gain to worry about.. Plan about a half day for just the 12 miles. There is a fee at the entrance.

Late September to November is the best time to visit during the fall migrations. Check out the FWR website for a bird census.

Getting There: Take I-25 about 80 miles south of Albuquerque to the US380, San Antonio exit 139. Drive east and park next to the Owl Cafe.

Distance: A 12 mile loop beginning at the visitor's center or 30 miles including the ride from San Antonio, all pretty flat.

Roadway: The roads in the refuge are all packed dirt/gravel suitable for mountain bikes or road bikes with fat tires. The road from San Antonio is 2-lane with no shoulders but almost no traffic. Be careful of the railroad crossing south of San Antonio.

Options: Drive to the Refuge's visitor center and park there: 12 miles only on the refuge dirt/gravel roads.

Notes: Take your camera and binoculars. Expect to spend most of the day at all the overlooks.

  • See the MAP of the refuge. [PDF Version]
  • Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge Home Page
  • Friends of the Bosque Home Page
  • Visit Historic (1854-1885) Fort Craig, about 35 miles south of Socorro, 4.5 miles east of NM1 on gravel Fort Craig Road is on BLM land.

Bosque del Apache CueSheet // 30 miles, flat.
Mileage Waypoint Leg Description


San Antonio Ride South from San Antonio 9 miles on the paved NM1 to the Bosque del Apache Visitor center. Bathrooms and water are available at the visitor's center. From San Antonio turn south at the flashing light in the center of town on NM1 south. The visitor's center is about 8.5 miles from the intersection.


Bosque del Apache Refuge Enter the refuge across the street, pay the entry fee, and enjoy a leisurely ride, usually in a counter-clockwise direction around the refuge on the packed dirt/gravel road. There are numerous lookouts to stop and view the birds.


Refuge Entrance Return to the highway and return to San Antonio by the same route.


San Antonio