Bosque del Apache is Spanish for "woods of the Apache," and is rooted in the time when the Spanish observed Apaches routinely camped in the riverside forest. Since then the name has come to mean one of the most spectacular national wildlife refuges in North America. Here, tens of thousands of birds--including sandhill cranes, Arctic geese, and many kinds of ducks--gather each autumn and stay through the winter. Feeding snow geese erupt in explosions of wings when frightened by a stalking coyote, and at dusk, flight after flight of geese and cranes return to roost in the marshes.
In the summer Bosque del Apache lives its quiet, green life as an oasis in the arid lands that surround it.
Nature of the Area
Bosque del Apache is located on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert. Elevations range from about 4500 at the river level to 6,272 at the top of Chupadera peak and includes riparian and desert habitats. Consequently, the animals reflect the different habitats on the refuge. Several species of mammals including coyotes, mule deer, and elk occur on the refuge. Over 340 species of birds and many species of reptiles, amphibians and fish live here.
Plants are many and diverse to reflect the different habitats of the refuge. Cottonwoods are spectacular in October/early November. Visit the Desert Arboretum and the plantings around the visitor center for a sample of plants found both on the refuge and in the north american deserts.
Situated just off Interstate 25 midway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, Socorro is the nearest town to the refuge. To reach the refuge from Socorro, drive eight miles south on I-25 to exit 139, continue east on-fourth mile on US 380 to the flashing signal at San Antonio, turn right onto Old Highway 1, continue south nine miles to the Visitor Center. From Las Cruces, drive north on I-25 to exit 124 (San Maracial), then north on Old Highway 1 to the Visitor Center.