The Nambé falls are located on the Nambé reservation which also happens to be the first stop on the High Road Scenic Bypass to Taos (going south to north). The High Road Scenic Bypass traverses through picturesque Northern New Mexico where travelers can stop off to enjoy food, art, and history along the way.
We chose to go on a Friday; a phone call to the ranger station informed us that the park was open only Thursday-Sunday. That morning we woke up to a smokey haze and the air smelled like a campfire. There were wildfires in the Gila Wilderness, southwest of Albuquerque, and strong winds had carried smoke across the state. We decided to go anyways, so we left about 8am and arrived 1.5 hours later at Nambé.
The hike up to view the falls is a short one, only 1/4 of a mile. It took us about 20 minutes at a slow pace. Visitors are not allowed to get up close but there is a fenced observation area. The path is well maintained, rocky and lined with pinon trees that were seeping a fragrant sap.
While I was walking up I heard some clicking in the trees which I assumed were bugs. Little did I know at the time that the clicking sounds were actually from bark beetles. The clicking sound can be described as the sound of pop rocks popping in your mouth or splattering oil in the microwave. Watch the YouTube video below to hear the bark beetles I recorded.
Video: The sounds of bark beetles infesting pinon trees
These beetles have infested the drought stricken pinon trees boring holes into the trees which can kill it. Trees with enough hydration are able to produce sap which seeps out of the holes made by the beetles to force them out. Click here to read more about the bark beetles.
The sight of the waterfall was refreshing. The fall has two tiers which the water gushes over and down into the Rio Nambé. Right above the waterfall, one can see the dam of Nambé Lake where boating and fishing is available certain times of the year; be sure to call in advance. There are also facilities for BBQ picnics, large gatherings, and camping. On our way out, we drove through the pueblo which happens to be the smallest pueblo I have seen so far; not much to see.
We decided to take a quick swing further up north to Chimayó before we headed back towards Santa Fe for lunch. My husband and I decided that we would be back for a second visit to see the art galleries, tour El Sanctuario de Chimayó, and dine at Rancho de Chimayó. (I will be sure to post this later.)
If you happen to be in the Santa Fe area or just passing through be sure to stop by Nambé Falls for a quick detour through nature.
Date visited: May 25, 2012
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