Los Pinos River Valley

Los Pinos River Valley

Conserved Land: 2 easements, 135 acres

Description & History
The Rio de los Pinos River meanders along the Colorado/New Mexico border from high in the San Juan mountains in the west, through the Toltec Gorge to meet the San Antonio River in the east. Literally translated “The Pines” river, it runs through some of the most pristine, undisturbed pine forests in the country. Rio de los Pinos also supports extensive cottonwood forests and wetlands: native grass meadows and terraced flood plains are largely grasslands with mixed coniferous forest. Of the particular wildlife importance are the riparian meadows which support a large diversity of invertebrate, bird and mammal species, including a resident elk population. Deer and elk seek out riparian shrub-lands and wet meadows for their rich and nutritious grasses. Lower mountain streams are also important for a variety of cold-water fish. Open water areas such as beaver ponds provide nesting, feeding, and resting habitat for migrating water birds. Small mammals such as meadow voles, pocket gophers, field mice, shrews, mink, and ground squirrels may use riparian woodlands that are seasonally wet. Bobcat, black bear, mountain lion, raccoons and coyote inhabit the area. Species of birds include wild turkey, great horned owl, golden eagles, woodpeckers, mallards and others.

The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is not alone in wishing to preserve this area: the Rio Los Pinos Wildlife Area, Cruces Basin Wilderness Area, and the Carson National Forest all protect portions of the river valley; but many gaps remain to be filled. SFCT is working with several of the landowners in the area to place their properties under easement, encouraging sustainable agricultural and land stewardship practices so that the Los Pinos will remain available for the enjoyment of future generations. The Rio de los Pinos provides water for several communities down river including Los Pinos and San Miguel. Protecting the subject property from further development will supports the health of the watershed by maintaining rich riparian areas that reduce soil erosion and runoff and assist with groundwater recharge and infiltration. Protecting headwater areas such as this means more clean water for everyone downstream.

Sharing the river valley is the Cumbres/Toltec Scenic Railroad, a historic rail line built in 1880 for the silver mining towns in the San Juan; it still serves to carry people through this beautiful area on a strictly recreational level. The rail line runs along a ridge from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. It is the longest narrow-gauge railway in the United States, the entirety of which is designated a national Historic Site.

Nestled along the Rio de los Pinos is a five mile stretch that was homesteaded by Hispanic farmers and ranchers at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is now one of the last traditional Hispanic agricultural communities that were once so typical along the northern New Mexico tributaries of the Rio Grande.

For more information on the Los Pinos River Valley, please see:

Hispano Homesteaders by F. Harlan Flint

Upcoming Events

10:00 am Vamonos – Walk with Our Elders @ Bicentennial/Alto Park
Vamonos – Walk with Our Elders @ Bicentennial/Alto Park
Jul 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
All walks meet on Friday at 10 AM at 1121 Alto Street and we’ll walk in Bicentennial/Alto Park. One walk per month: June 25th July 30th August 26th September 24th October 22nd For more information[...]
10:00 am Vamonos Hikes
Vamonos Hikes
Aug 7 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
All hikes happen once a month on a Saturday at 10 am (except in October at 3 PM).  Locations vary for each hike. One hike per month, June through October: June 5th Vámonos Hike, National[...]
6:00 pm Vamonos – Take a Walk on the Sou... @ Southside Library
Vamonos – Take a Walk on the Sou... @ Southside Library
Aug 10 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
All southside walks meet at 6 PM at 6599 Jaguar Drive and go from the Southside Library to Arroyo Chamiso Trail One walk per month: May 18th June 15th July 13th August 10th September 7th[...]
9:00 am Insider Tour – Garden of the Gods
Insider Tour – Garden of the Gods
Aug 14 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Insider Tour - Garden of the Gods
Santa Fe Conservation Trust 2021 INSIDER TOURS Ruins · Artifacts · Views · Historical Sites Rare opportunities to explore archaeological and geological sites on private land. R.S.V.P. by phone (505) 989-7019 or email Garden[...]
5:30 pm Vamonos – Wellness Walk @ Larragoite Park
Vamonos – Wellness Walk @ Larragoite Park
Aug 18 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
All wellness walks meet at 5:30 PM at Larragoite Park on Cristobal Colon to the Acequia Trail to Ashbaugh Park and back. One walk per month: May 26th June 23rd July 21st August 18th September[...]

2019 Annual Report