Rio Puerco

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Rio Puerco
Rio puerco 025.jpg
Photo: Power Wagon at Moonrocks Obstacle.
Trail Information
Other Names: None
Part of: N/A
Trail Length: See Description
Trail Time: See Description
Terrain: Desert, slickrock
Off-Road Use: Trail, obstacles, duning
Difficulty: Easy - Hard
County: Sandoval County, New Mexico
Nearest Cities: Albuquerque or Rio Rancho, NM depending on which way you came in.
Map Links: Google Map
Satellite Map: See Above
Special Map:
GPS Start: N35 14.53 W106 51.81
GPS End: N35 02.085 W106 56.331
Google Earth:
Elevation: 5,400 to 6,150 ft.


The Rio Puerco is an expanse to the West of Albuquerque, NM (on I-40) and West of Rio Rancho, NM (on southern Blvd). What makes this area so impressive is that it's pretty much a mini-Moab. There's something there for everyone, ranging from novice to experienced wheelers. While the primary trail is a big loop where you can get from the Southern Blvd entrance to the I-40 entrance, typically the people more interested in duning and other sand sport will come in from the Southern Blvd entrance. People looking for more technical wheeling will usually come in from the I-40 entrance.

To get past the dunes from the Southern Blvd entrance to the more technical wheeling requires going to the right of the main dune in the staging area to the top of another dune. You'll find a trail that starts heading down into the basin. (need some pics with arrows, or a GPS route).

Pretty much every obstacle in Rio Puerco has a bypass, so even stock four wheel drive vehicles can enjoy the area. It's also an open expanse, so there really isn't a "trail" to follow per-se. You could easily spend five or six hours out here hitting various obstacles and if you more or less drove in at the Southern Blvd. entrance, went through the majority of obstacles, and exited at the I-40 entrance, you're looking at roughly 20 miles.


From Albuquerque:

Take I-40 West till you see the casino on the left with a gas station to your right. Take the exit to get on the westbound Frontage road before getting to the gas station. From the frontage road, you'll turn to the right in front of the gas station and head down that road. It'll be paved for a couple miles, then turns to a dirt road. Continue following the dirt road for quite a while. The distance from I-40 to Snoopy Rock (one of the first obstacles you'll encounter) is about 13.5 miles.

From Rio Rancho:

Take Southern Blvd. West until it turns into a dirt road. Continue straight down the dirt road until you hit the Rio Puerco staging area. You can't miss it.

Maps and GPS Coordinates[edit] (GPX format with obstacle waypoints) (Google Earth format with obstacle waypoints)

In the below map, the Rio Puerco marker on the far right marking the Southern Blvd entrance is N35 14.531 W106 51.581. The I-40 entrance (not shown) is N35 02.085 W106 56.331.

A huge thanks to members of for many of the waypoints on the below map.

Rio Puerco topo map with obstacle waypoints


Pictures, Videos, and other Resources[edit] (pics and vids) (pics and vids)

The below is my attempt to come up with some info icons which tell you things about the trail at a quick glance. For instance, the FSTF is a Full Sized Truck Friendly icon which will tell you that you can navigate this trail with something like a Dodge Ram 2500, Power Wagon, or F-250. Other icons I think would be useful would be camping, pet friendly, cell coverage etc..

Full Sized Truck Friendly