Fall in the Rio Grande Valley

Cottonwoods of the Rio Grande in the Fall, New Mexico

A Drive along the Rio Grande

One of our annual fall trips is to take a drive along the Rio Grande.  By mid to late October the cottonwoods are at their peak and absolutely gorgeous.  We stop next to the river and set up a picnic to enjoy under a canopy of yellow leaves.  Our picnic lunch consists of cheese, summer sausage, New Mexico fall apples and local bread.  During the loop home, we venture off on side trips depending on mood, always keeping an eye out for a farmer’s produce stand.

I hope you enjoy some of the beauty of the northern Rio Grande Valley here in New Mexico during the fall.


Fall colors on the Rio Grande, New Mexico

Cottonwood limb in the fall


Fall colors of the Rio Grande, New Mexico

This time of year, unless we’ve had a lot of rain, the river is usually quite low.  The year that this picture was taken we were in a drought and had had very little snowfall the previous winter.  These conditions led to a lower than normal amount of flow.


Fall on the Rio Embudo, New Mexico

Rio Embudo – a small tributary that flows into the Rio Grande


Fall colors of Chimayo, New Mexico

Driving into Chimayo, New Mexico

Chimayo is a small village north or Santa Fe, home to the El Santuario de Chimayo, a Catholic mission and also a National Historic Landmark. It is a contemporary pilgrimage site and is considered “the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the United States“.  If you ever find yourself hungry in Chimayo, be sure to stop and have a meal at Rancho de Chimayo, winner of the 2016 James Beard’s Foundation American Classic Award.

Turchas Peaks of the Sangra de Cristo Mountains

Heading down from Chimayo along a dirt road, one is provided with this beautiful view of the Truchas mountains and Pecos Baldy to the south (right).  This is a beautiful view of the mountains but the views from the tops of those peaks are even more breathtaking!

During the drive we usually do find a few roadside stands where we purchase local apples, pumpkins, winter squash, and dried red chiles.  I do love the dried red chile from northern New Mexico.

Hope you enjoyed seeing of little of northern New Mexico, specifically the Rio Grande valley in the fall.  Now you know a little more of why New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment.


Tags: , ,

61 Responses to “Fall in the Rio Grande Valley”

  1. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    Stunning photos…what a beautiful time of the year.

    • mj October 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks so much Karen!

  2. John/Kitchen Riffs October 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Good to see this pop up again! SO pretty. We’ve had blah tree color this year, although things have been looking up the last few days, thank goodness.

    • mj October 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

      It’s such a bummer when there isn’t a good tree turn in the fall. We’re having another lovely one this year. Thanks John and hope you are enjoying the fall weather.

  3. Bill October 21, 2017 at 5:56 am #

    Lovely. Thank you for the tour. I am often here to see what you are thinking about, I enjoy the way you write. when the motor home and I go by next year I’ll wave like I did last year on my way to Pie Town (thanks for the tip).
    Have a fun day – Bill

    • mj October 21, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      Thank you so much Bill!! Waving back at cha!!! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  4. Jen @JuanitasCocina November 25, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Thank you for a trip back home. I miss it so.

  5. Amber @ The Cook's Sister November 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Gorgeous! Can’t wait for my next tip to NM, had almost forgot how beautiful it is!

  6. Swathi November 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Beautiful pictures. I been to Matamoros.

  7. sally November 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Beautiful photos! It is nice to have a little “virtual vacation” during my crazy semester.

  8. Zsuzsa November 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I cannot believe it how much this looks like the landscape around Kamloops. You could have posted it as such and I woudn’t have known. Amazing.

  9. Nancy/SpicieFoodie November 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Gorgeous photos MJ!

  10. Lori Lynn October 31, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Delightful photos. Brings a smile to my face.

  11. Patty October 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Gorgeous colors- I’m ready for a trip to the rio grande, what a beautiful time of year!
    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures;-)

  12. Sanjeeta kk October 30, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Lucky you, wish I could take time out like this with just me and my hubby…we have two tails accompanying us everywhere we go 🙂 Beautiful pictures, MJ.

  13. Treat and Trick October 30, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    What a gorgeous photos! I wish to visit such a serene place that guaranteed to put anyone in a good and calm mood!

  14. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb October 30, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    MJ I bet you had fun, it sounds like a trip I would enjoy to the fullest with my husband. The region looks calm and so pretty with the autumn dress of the trees. =) Oh how much I wished I could travel more like this and discover new exciting places as you did! =)

    Can’t wait to see what u r cooking up with the pumpkin and chillis!

  15. Rathai October 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Stunning! I especially enjoyed the pictures of the river – they made me happy. I love taking walks in the woods but the water here is so polluted and nowhere as clean as the water in those pictures. Such beautiful sunny, fall pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Giulietta | Alterkitchen October 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Wonderful pictures and wonderful places, MJ! 🙂

  17. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 29, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    What nice scenery to start a new week. Lovely… I really love autumn, but I don’t get to see many fall color trees around here, so your post brighten my morning. I virtually enjoyed the fall with you!

  18. Asmita October 29, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Gorgeous clicks!

  19. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings October 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous views 🙂 I’ve not been to your neck of the woods yet, and hopefully, that will all change some time in the near future! You are indeed fortunate to live close to all this beauty!

  20. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Your photos are just stunning. A friend of mine was recently in Taos and got some gorgeous photos of the glowing foliage. You’re so lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery!

  21. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Outstanding scenery!

  22. Charles October 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    What gorgeous photos – you’re so lucky to live near such breathtaking places. I love where I live but I find we’re often lacking the incredible scenery of parts of the US, or the far East. Maybe it’s just because I’m so accustomed to it, but it always seems very plain. No great mountainous regions, nothing dusty or deserty, no bluffs or plains 🙁

    • mj October 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Thanks Charles! Yes, I do feel quite lucky! I can see the Sandia mountains whenever I look out my front window. It’s a great way to start the day. I do enjoy the lovely pictures of your part of the world! You’ve taken me to some beautiful places I’ll never get to and I thank you for that.

  23. Reese@SeasonwithSpice October 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Enchanting indeed! Thanks for sharing these pictures with us, MJ. Cheese, summer sausage and apples under a canopy of yellow leaves…..that’s the way to enjoy the most glorious season of the year. I have to put down New Mexico as our next destination when we get a chance to travel around the States.

  24. Gomo | cHowDivine October 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Beautiful landscape! We live in a crowded city, and long for peace and quiet often. This looks perfect.

    We actually were talking about taking a vacation to New Mexico this year. These photos may seal the deal for our vacation for next year. 🙂

    • mj October 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks Gomo! I hope you do make it. It’s a beautiful place! We came out in 1976 and haven’t been able to leave.

  25. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Lovely photos of an area that I have never been to.

  26. Anne@FromMySweetHeart October 28, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Oh, these pictures ARE so enchanting, MJ! I hope you had a nice sojourn for your birthday week! Wow..there was hardly a cloud in the sky on that beautiful day. I think I will add New Mexico to my list of places I hope to visit before I go! Just beautiful! : )

    • mj October 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks Anne! It was a beautiful day! Happy birthday tomorrow!!!

  27. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen October 28, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Gorgeous! The landscape in New Mexico is so different than what we have here in California. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  28. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 28, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    The Land of Enchantment indeed… thank you for this breathtaking tour of the Rio Grande valley….how smart of you and Bobby to take a day off to enjoy the view and serenity of nature. Enjoying some cheese and summer sausage beside the babbling river under blue skies and yellow leaves sounds downright magical to me. Beautiful photos MJ.

  29. ChgoJohn October 28, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    These are some beautiful photos. Thanks for showing me a bit of New Mexico that I probably will never otherwise see.

  30. Ramona October 28, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Beautiful!! and Romantic! I never knew the southwest changed colors in fall like this…. really wonderful. 🙂

    I love that you and your husband enjoy such beauty and time together. 🙂

  31. peachkins October 28, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    The photo of the Rio Embudo is so calming, I could stare at it for hours!

  32. fati's recipes October 28, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Beautiful shots! 🙂

  33. Raymund October 28, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    really nice fall pictures

  34. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious October 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    What gorgeous photos! I totally need to go on vacation here!

  35. Amanda@ChewTown October 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    My goodness that is beautiful!

  36. ping October 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Awww … that’s so purty! I’ve missed the colors of fall. Thanks for the lovely pics.

  37. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen October 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    I have never been to New Mexico and never imagined it to be so filled with trees.. your walk was so lovely, I really enjoyed your photos tonight! xx

  38. Debra October 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    I am so jealous. We love NM. Last Christmas was spent in Santa Fe and we actually drove to Chimayo on Christmas Day. Spectacular! Your pics make me want to plan another trip soon!

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      We went to Chimayo one Christmas and yes, it is beautiful! Thanks and hope you get back here some day. Please look me up if you do!

  39. CCU October 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Your photos are breathtaking my friend, autumn is stunning 😀


  40. Jane October 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    Gorgeous! How nice you can take a day and actually enjoy it!! I do love fall, but here it is so short. We are already covered in snow… and I think it is going to stick around till spring!

  41. Sissi October 27, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Beautiful and so unusual to my European eyes… I know Rio Grande only from the title of the famous film 😉 so I am glad to see a bit more what it looks like in reality.
    Autumn in warm regions is such a pleasant season I can imagine. Here it’s not the worst, but I wish I could save wool coats and boots for Winter only (or never wear them; I hate warm clothes).
    I’m looking forward to see the recipes with the produce you have bought (especially the chilies 😉 ).

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      Well, the amount of water in the Rio Grande nowadays is A LOT less than when they made the movie. 🙂 It’s been so dry here for a lot of years, that we now have trees growing on sandbars in the middle of the river. It’s kind of sad. Sure would love more rain, and nowadays, I’d even take snow! Have a great weekend!

  42. Diane Balch October 27, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I am very found of New Mexico and would love to retire out your way, but my husband loves the Adirondacks which has mountains too, but I love the desert also.. thanks for sharing your gorgeous pictures.

  43. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 27, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Breathtakingly beautiful!

  44. Nads October 27, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    The pictures are beautiful. Fall is such a great time of year. One of my favorite things to do to is stop at roadside stands. There is usually something unexpected and wonderful. And a picnic on the riverside – how romantic! Glad you had such a geat day. XOXO

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks Nads! Unfortunately, since it was a Monday, there were only a couple of stands open, and this time of year, the produce was very limited – apples, red fresh or dried chiles, and pumpkins. That was about it.

  45. Tessa October 27, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Wow! Your photos are beautiful! I’ve only been to New Mexico once and it was when I was a child. I have no memory of the visit whatsover. One day, we will visit your lovely state. A visit to Carlsbad Caverns is on the list :).

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Thanks Tessa! I love Carlsbad. One of these years I’ll get Bobby there. 🙂

  46. Nisa Homey October 27, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Mj, glad u enjoyed the day off…New Mexico is so beautiful….thanks for sharing these pics….here I am sitting at the Southern tip of India and viewing your amazing capture of nature…the power of internet is awesome!!

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Thanks Nisa! I agree about the power of the Internet. I also love seeing where all my friends live and the beauty of their homelands, so I thought I would share a little of mine.

  47. john@kitchenriffs October 27, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    So pretty! Some years ago we were semi-seriously thinking about moving to New Mexico, probably Las Cruces (we were living in Florida and anticipated a couple of years before it happened that real estate was going to tank; and we’ve freelanced for years, so our work is wherever we happen to be). Such a great state, and I love the food. We actually ended up in St. Louis because my parents are elderly, could use some help, etc. (and St. Louis is a real deal – lots of good stuff to do, and it’s relatively inexpensive). Still, sometimes I wonder about New Mexico! Really nice. And we’re fans of summer sausage too!

    • mj October 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      John, when we moved out here in the 70’s we weren’t quite sure how long we would stay. But once NM got its hooks into us, we weren’t able to leave. We talk about it every once in a while, but that conversation is always very short. 🙂 I’ve heard St. Louis is a beautiful city. One day, I hope to see it for myself. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  48. CJ at Food Stories October 27, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Love these photos 🙂


  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Manchego Cheese | MJ's Kitchen - October 31, 2012

    […] week on our road trip through northern New Mexico, we bought two baskets of apples, one being Winesap and the other cameo.  Winesap apples are crisp […]

I love hearing from my visitors, so please leave a comment. Thanks for dropping by!