Río Grande del Norte National Monument is located near Taos, New Mexico and was established on March 25, 2013. The Monument includes approximately 242,500 acres comprised of rugged, wide open plains, volcanic cones, and steep canyons cut by hidden rivers. The Rio Grande carves an 800-foot-deep gorge through high plains at an elevation of about 7,000 feet, and is known as a world-class destination for kayakers and rafters.
This area has attracted human activity since prehistoric times. Evidence of ancient use is found throughout the area in the form of Native American petroglyphs, prehistoric dwelling sites, and many other types of archaeological sites. More recent activity includes abandoned homesteading from the 1930s.
Among the volcanic cones dotting the plains, Ute Mountain is the highest, reaching to 10,093 feet. Lying between the San Juan Mountains and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this area is also an important area for wintering animals, and provides a corridor by which wildlife move between the two mountain ranges. The diverse landscape in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument provides year round protection for many of New Mexico's iconic species like the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, cougar, black bear, bald eagle, and the native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout.