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Wildlife Watching and Nature Trails

Petroglyph/USFWS Wildlife watching and nature trails are open to the public free of charge.

This is where you can enjoy wildlife-related activities, including wildlife watching, hiking, and photography.

Mesa View Trail
Located adjacent to the refuge’s visitor center, the Mesa View Trail is a 3.8 mile journey that climbs the mesa west of the visitor center and skirts the mesa’s edge before dropping back down into the valley.  This trail provides some wonderful views of the Ladrone and surrounding mountains, as well as a wide diversity of awe inspiring landforms.  This moderate to strenuous hike is great for viewing lizards in the spring, summer and fall and sparrows in the winter.

Nature Loop
Located just south of the refuge’s visitor center, the Nature Loop is a 1.1 mile loop that takes you through an arroyo and back up onto higher ground.  This moderate hike has several resting spots that are good for taking in the views.  Look for coyote, rabbit and deer tracks, and lizards.

Wildflower Loop
Located just east of the refuge’s visitor center, the Wildflower Loop is a paved ¼ mile loop that provides great views of the Rio Grande Valley, surrounding mountains and stunning flowers (in season). 

Wetland Units
Just a short drive southeast of the Visitor Center you can explore the wetland units.  Waterfowl abound in winter, songbirds in spring through fall, and year-round watch for deer and elk.  Most wildlife viewing will occur from your vehicle, but there are also limited hiking opportunities.  For safety, please note the area is closed to “non hunting” access on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday during hunting season.

San Lorenzo Canyon
 
A scenic area of sheltered caves, sandstone cliffs, arches and hoodoos, San Lorenzo Canyon is rich in history and natural beauty.  The geological formations make it an excellent spot for hiking and photography. The Canyon is jointly managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management as a primitive recreation area.  There are no restrooms or drinking water.  All trash must be packed out!

For more information, visit the website on San Lorenzo Canyon.

View a Fact Sheet with directions to San Lorenzo Canyon.

Page Photo Credits — Petroglyph/USFWS, Gunnison's prairie dogs/Jeremy Stein ©, All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2012
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