Sometimes my road-trip discoveries are carefully planned out. Before I go, I’ve already plotted out a route, looked at pictures, and decided whether a place is worth my time. But, it’s always fun when I stumble upon something great, completely by accident.
In this case, I found the Rio Grande Overlook at White Rock, New Mexico. How, you might ask? Well, I was driving by on NM-4, passing through the town of White Rock, and I saw a road sign for Overlook Park. For all I knew, it was a couple of picnic tables and a swing set. From the main road, I couldn’t see anything special about the surrounding landscape — certainly nothing worth looking over at. But on a whim, I decided to follow the signs, which led me past some soccer fields, and on to this platform, which, indeed, did look over something extraordinary.
That’s the Rio Grande River in the valley below. As I discovered, White Rock sits on the edge of a plateau — quite literally on the edge, roughly 800 vertical feet above the river. Overlook Road leads to the very tip of one finger of this plateau, where there are excellent views looking south…
… and northeast.
The river, by the way, is 1.1 miles away, via the Blue Dot Trail, which begins near the viewpoint.
Instead of hiking down and back, I propped my feet up and enjoyed the view for a few minutes.
On the way back from the viewpoint, you might notice a beautiful waterfall cascading into a side-canyon, forming a creek that trickles down to the Rio Grande. You probably don’t want to hike down to this idyllic scene — since that waterfall is produced by the runoff from the town’s sewage treatment plant.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from White Rock Overlook to Santa Fe, New Mexico: