Treasures in the desert
The Socorro Nature Area, near Lemitar, has had countless hours of volunteer labor and service poured into it to transform a small patch of bosque into an informational and relaxing destination.
The Nature Area features a self-guided walk just over a mile that can be abbreviated with a shortcut in the middle for those who are unable to trek the whole distance. Numbered sign posts identify and educate about dozens of native plants, and a few other unique sights in the bosque. Benches are liberally sprinkled along the path for those who need regular breaks.
A wheelchair accessible walkway leads to a small pond, with a viewing platform above the water. Small birds, such as blackbirds, can typically be found flitting about among the cattails in the pond.
Access to the site is somewhat limited because the vehicle gates are usually locked. Usually visitors need to park near the gate and walk in, which is not wheelchair friendly. To obtain a key to open the gates and reserve the site stop by the Bureau of Land Management Office at 901 S. Highway 85 in Socorro. There are no usage fees, but groups need to call the office at 575-835-0412 to reserve dates.
Group use is also a feature of the site. A group shelter, with tables and barbecue stands, and campsites are available. The only facilities are a single outhouse, though, so make sure to bring plenty of water to sanitize with and for drinking if planning an extended stay.
The Nature Area is a work in progress, and it is evident some projects have not been completed. Some areas are not well maintained and appear overgrown. Vandalism has also been a problem in the past, so keep an eye out for broken glass or other trash left behind.
If you visit and think the site needs a little love, consider volunteering with one of the organizations that maintain the Nature Area.
Best Activities: picnics as a family or in groups, light walks
What to Avoid: leaving the Nature Area messier than you found it
Open: year round
Directions: to get to the Socorro Nature Area, which is well tucked away, take Lemitar Exit 156 off I-25 and turn east onto N.M. 408. Travel about 1.1 miles and then turn right (south) after you cross the railroad tracks at the “T” intersection. After following the curving road for about 0.2 mile, turn left (east) onto a maintained dirt road. The park is about half a mile east. Keep an eye out for well-placed signs marking the way all the way from the Interstate.
Contact Nat Holland