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Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

#1 of 14 things to do in Socorro Features Animals
1001 State Highway 1, Socorro, NM 87801
+1 505-835-1828
Review Highlights
Best to visit during fall or springtime for large flocks of migrating birds

This time, we visited in July 2017, and the water levels were very low, it was not the season to... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Houston, Texas
Nice place to take a break along I-25

My husband and I went to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge on a Tuesday afternoon. We... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Austin, Texas
Read all 402 reviews
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Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 to provide "a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife" and to develop wintering grounds for greater sandhill cranes, which were then endangered.Located on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert, the 57,331-acre refuge straddles the Rio Grande approximately twenty miles south of Socorro, New Mexico. The heart of the refuge is 8,000 acres of floodplain where the waters of the Rio Grande have been diverted to create extensive wetlands and agricultural lands. The rest of the refuge is made up of arid foothills and mesas, which rise to the Chupadera Mountains to the west and San Pascual Mountains to the east. Most of these arid uplands are preserved in three Wilderness Areas.Bosque del Apache means "woods of the Apache," named for the Apaches that routinely camped in the riverside forest. Today, Bosque del Apache is known as one of the most spectacular refuges in North America. Each autumn, tens of thousands of birds - including sandhill cranes, Arctic geese and ducks - make the refuge their winter home. The air is filled with honking of geese and guttural call of cranes. Flocks of snow geese abandon their feeding grounds when frightened by a stalking coyote or eagle. At dusk, flights of geese and cranes return to roost tin the marshes or on the Rio Grande. In the summer, Bosque del Apache, thought quiet, remains an oasis for diversity of wildlife, both in the riparian areas and surrounding arid uplands.
  • Excellent81%
  • Very good14%
  • Average3%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“sandhill cranes” (118 reviews)
“snow geese” (111 reviews)
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Hours Today: 08:00 - 16:00
1001 State Highway 1, Socorro, NM 87801
+1 505-835-1828
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Reviews (402)
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1 - 10 of 396 reviews

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This time, we visited in July 2017, and the water levels were very low, it was not the season to see lots of wildlife, and we only saw a few birds.

Thank BigTXN
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My husband and I went to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge on a Tuesday afternoon. We entered through the north entrance, a few miles from I-25. The visitor’s center was closed. The center is closed on Monday & Tuesday. For a short time, we...More

Thank M J
Reviewed 11 July 2017

Went in November and the park was crawling with bird photographers with largest cameral lenses i've ever seen. All waiting patiently around a pond full of snow geese. The sight of so many snow geese was amazing but right on cue they lift off en...More

Thank TeenuhRunay
Reviewed 31 May 2017

This place is lovely any time of the year, but if you go in December to February, you will see gazillions of the most amazing birds. Snow geese and Sandhill Cranes winter here and the water is covered with birds. When they take wing -...More

2  Thank Rita B
Reviewed 28 May 2017 via mobile

We live in Socorro County, and the Refuge is one of our favorite places! This is a great place for families to visit. The Visitor's Center and gift shop are excellent, there are short hikes and long hikes, the Arboretum is beautiful, and the tour...More

Thank Melissa E
Reviewed 9 April 2017

This refuge is quite large. It has 2 six mile loops for animal and bird observation that are designed for driving. There are also numerous short hikes and observation areas. We saw a great quality of ducks in the northern loop. This is kind of...More

Thank plivsey2017
Reviewed 24 March 2017 via mobile

This is a birders paradise, haven or heaven! Plan to take your time and enjoy the wildlife, birds, deer, javelina, turtle, skunk, road runners. We love NWR areas. Use caution for snakes and mountain lions we did not see. There are clean pit toilet stops...More

Thank Mary P
Reviewed 15 March 2017 via mobile

Lovely nature area not too far off the highway. Lots of birds. Other than deer (and birds) we did not see any animals. The visitor center has some good interactive displays, a theater, and offers the junior ranger program for kids. The cactus garden has...More

Thank GypsySouls5
Reviewed 10 March 2017

Love bird watching and peaceful animals walk around. Sunset by the water is so beautiful. fun with family.

Thank sfccdast
Reviewed 5 March 2017

Had we come at the peak season, I'm sure that we would have rated it higher. The sandhill cranes had departed, as had many of the ducks and geese. We did experience, up close, one sizeable flock of snow geese, some Canada geese, turkeys and...More

Thank raytrav
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Questions & Answers
19 January 2017|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from Susan M | Reviewed this property |
I agree with the commenters who said to check before at the Visitors' Center. The fly-off areas can vary. When I was there last month, the best place was the first pond on the right on the way to the refuge. One day the... More
Jun S
16 November 2016|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from travelcatz1 | Reviewed this property |
I've no idea ... but there are so many camera people out here that you can make friends, swop stories, share interests, and get more questions than I can imagine answered.
22 June 2016|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from Steveschwartzphoto | Reviewed this property |
The professional tour guide photographers seem to frequent Bosque after the festival. So that puts the preferred time as late November or early December. In November 2015, the bird count was light the week of November 16... More