Best View of the Rio Grande

By Richard Mahler

Author of "New Mexico's Best"

White Rock Overlook-also called Overlook Park-is a spectacular aerie on a basalt cliff high above the roiling, frothy Rio Grande. There are a few picnic tables and a hiking trail that winds to the river below. This is a terrific place to watch the vast New Mexico sky against a backdrop of tall mountains and deep canyons.

"Go while you still can<" advises geographer and author Don Usner." The New Mexico Highway Department is considering construction of a new road through the gorge tht would remove this overlook."

If You Go: Take U.S. 84/285 north from Santa Fe to Pojoaque, then N.M. 502 west toward Los Alamos, then follow N.M. 4 for 4 miles to the small community of White Rock. Look for the Overlook Park directional sign. You'll drive through a residential neighborhood to get there.

Insider Tip: If you want to see another side of the local landscape, visit the Bradbury Science Museum (505-667-4444) in the city of Los Alamos (at 15th and Central). You'll see exhibits outlining the history of the atomic bomb, born here in 1945. so secret was research surrounding this device that Los Alamos was closed to unauthorized visitors until 1957. Open daily, admission free.

Los Alamos also has one of New Mexico's few outdoor ice-skating rinks, open daily during the coldest winter months for a small admission fee. The rink is in a canyon off West Road, near downtown. Rental skates are available.


Richard Mahler is author of "New Mexico's Best" and several other books. A journalist and photographer as well, he specializes in travel writing, among other subjects. He has contributed to National Public Radio since 1973 and to the Los Angeles Times since 1979. He has written thousands of articles for more than 100 magazines and newspapers, including The New Mexican, New Mexico magazine, and Santa Fean magazine. A longtime resident of New Mexico, he lives in Santa Fe.

For a full listing of Richard Mahler's books, and to place orders for them, visit Amazon.com.

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