Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is located in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, New Mexico near the small town of San Antonio, NM. The Refuge is just east of Interstate 25 midway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, just south of Socorro.
To reach the refuge from Socorro, drive nine miles south on I-25 to exit 139, go east one-fourth mile on US 380 to the flashing signal at the village of San Antonio, turn right onto Old Highway 1, and drive south nine miles to the Visitor Center.
From Las Cruces, drive north on I-25 to exit 115 for NM-107 and turn right on Old US Hwy 85, then turn left on NM-1 and proceed 18.3mi. to the Visitor Center. The entrance to the scenic tour loop for vehicles is just south of the Visitor Center.
|The tour loop is the principal access for viewing wildlife on the Refuge. It's open for driving, cycling and walking from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset daily, including Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
You probably will wish to begin your driving tour at the Visitor Center, where you can pick up a CD that's keyed to numbered stations along the route to provide interpretive information. A fee of $5 for private passenger vehicles is payable at the Tour Loop entrance station. (if unattended, drop your fee in the slot.) A Bosque pass good for unlimited visits for 12 months is available at the entry or the Visitor Center. No fee is required if an occupant of a private vehicle has a Interagency Annual, Senior, or Access pass or current Federal Duck Stamp (these may be purchased at the Visitor Center).
The commercial tour bus fee is $50. A step-on guide can be provided for an additional $50 with proceeds going to the bus scholarship fund.
|The tour loop is a 12 mile, one-way graded road with a two-way cut-off which divides the full tour into a shorter South Loop of 7 miles and a North Loop of 7.5 miles. Both portions provide excellent winter viewing of wetland wildlife and raptors; the North Loop passes close to daytime winter foraging areas of cranes and geese. In spring and early fall; both loops provide close viewing of shorebirds and waterfowl. During the summer, impoundments adjacent to the North Loop are drained for vegetation management, but wild turkeys, songbirds and mammals may be present. Summer wetlands for waterfowl are along the South Loop, and along a seasonal road which is open April 1 to September 30. Stop as often as you wish along the tour loop to view wildlife; just pull to the side so others can pass. If you remain inside your vehicle, it serves as a blind so wildlife may remain closer while being viewed. Viewing platforms along the tour route accessible to people with disabilities offer viewing of cranes and geese during fall and winter. Some are equipped with a spotting scope.