Culture & Recreation
Sandoval County offers an abundance of cultural and recreational activities for residents and families. Its rich history of Spanish and Native American influences inspires artists and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
From exquisite artwork to authentic celebrations passed down from centuries earlier, nine Native American communities continue to weave an integral pattern into the fabric of Sandoval County, creating a cultural diversity and harmony.
MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES
Located in Corrales, this restored Spanish Colonial Hacienda was built in the 1870′s on property that was a portion of the Township of Alameda Grant in 1704. Visitors will find a collection of rare Hispanic New Mexican artifacts.
In 1540, Spanish explorer Coronado, on a quest for The Cities of Gold, stopped at what is now Coronado State Monument. The Coronado Historic Site and the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo are located at the site in Bernalillo, which features a museum and gallery, and a self-guided trail meanders through the ruins, including a fully reconstructed kiva.
Just off of Highway 44 between Bernalillo and Santa Ana Pueblo is the historic Delavy House. Maintained by the Sandoval County Historical Society, the house contains more than 1,000 photographs depicting Sandoval County from 1880 to 1980 as well as village histories and genealogical information.
This historic 1874 convent in Bernalillo was a place people came to meet, learn, and exchange ideas. Today, its mission is the same. With its thick adobe walls and brick floors warmly refurbished, the 1874 convent is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The courtyard outside, with its fountains and grassy areas, provides a focal point for the building. The convent that is now El Zócalo was built on El Camino Real ("the Royal Road") for easy access to the people living, working and traveling by. El Camino Real follows the Rio Grande from the U.S./Mexico border to Santa Fe and for 300 years was the Southwest's main road for travelers. Portions of the road followed the Rio Grande Pueblo Indian Trail, in use since before the arrival of the first Spanish explorers.
Located in Jemez Springs is the Jemez State Monument. This prehistoric site of the Pueblo of Giusewa features the early 17th century ruins of the Mission Church of San Jose de los Jemez. Visitors may wander through the excavated mission ruins and marvel at the construction of six-to eight-foot-thick walls. The remains of a bell tower stand sentry above nave walls.
Ski to Tee and Everything in Between
Sandoval County's temperate climate and natural landscapes offer a myriad of year-round outdoor activities for the avid outdoorsman. Explore this section using the accordion below, or download the Sandoval County Outdoor Recreation Guide using the button to the right.
There are currently three golf courses in Sandoval County, with a variety of amenities, difficulty levels, and breathtaking views.
Located on the Santa Ana Pueblo, this course features a challenging layout and an unmatched view of the Sandia Mountains.
Part of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, this course winds through the sacred lands of the Tamayame (people of Tamaya) and 20 ancient cultural sites. The course boasts 18 holes of high desert, championship golf designed by Gary Panks to preserve the land and its cultural spirit.
A public 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. public golf course located in Cochiti Lake, New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Cyclists will find a peaceful ride in the shade of cottonwoods on a trail that winds through the Rio Grande Bosque near Corrales. Intermediate and advanced riders can explore Guacamalla and Paliza Canyons.
Forest areas throughout the Santa Fe National Forest, including wilderness areas, are open to Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Generally, the higher the elevation, the better the snow. An easy 2ó mile loop trail starts near Redondo Campground in the Jemez, but cross-country aficionados will thrive in the challenging San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area or the open space at Valles Caldera. Telemark skiers can practice on the west side of Corral Canyon and Upper San Antonio Canyon. Try the open mountain trails on the east side of San Antonio Creek.
Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.
The Jemez Mountain Trail offers a variety of adventures and hikes including Spence Hot Springs, Valles Caldera and Battleship Rock. The rock, named for its similarity to the bow of a ship, is peppered with bits of glassy smooth obsidian.
Tent Rocks is a one-of-a-kind hiking experience amongst rocks formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. The Monument includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.
Santa Fe National Forest hikes are as plentiful and diverse as the life zones of the forest. With so many elevations and habitat types, there is year-round access to hiking trails in the forest. Popular hikes include Battleship Rocks, Jemez Falls, Las Conchas Trail, McCauley Hot Springs, San Pedro Parks trails and Dome Wilderness.
Close to Placitas, the Sandia Mountains offer a convenient chance to connect with nature with its many trails and adventures.
About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history.
Sandoval County is the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors and enjoy fishing. San Pedro Parks Wilderness is home to native cutthroat trout. Fenton Lake offers picnic areas, wheelchair accessible platforms and even ice fishing in the winter. San Antonio Creek offers plenty of catch-and-release fishing opportunities. Fly-fishing enthusiasts can enjoy the Rio Cebolla in the Jemez Mountains. Visitors are welcome at Seven Springs Fish Hatchery near Jemez. The Ice Pond is stocked and open to children 12 and younger and adults 65 and older. At Cochiti Lake, catch catfish, crappie, bass, bluegill, and perch. The Sandia Lakes Recreation Area offers several ponds stocked with trout and other fish. Learn more about New Mexico fishing waters here.
The gentle waters of the Rio Grande offer family-friendly adventures like kayaking, floating or paddleboarding. Spring is a great time to take a guided trip with Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures. You can sail, windsurf and swim at Cochiti Lake, which is popular year-round.
There’s more than 30 million acres of public lands open to hunting in New Mexico, with a comparable amount of private land also available. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish publishes the annual Proclamation of Big Game and Furbearer Seasons in late January or early February with specifics for hunters. A current list of active outfitters or guides can be obtained from New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. Hunting is also allowed on certain tribal lands.
Year-round hot air ballooning in Sandoval County includes competitive events the third weekend of every month sponsored by Top Gun, the local division of the Balloon Federation of America. The Albuquerque Erostat Ascension Association hosts the Friends and Lovers Rally in February (the weekend before Valentine’s Day) as well as the Jingle Bell “Non Rally” in December. Our neighbor and partner, the City of Albuquerque, is host to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest, held annually in October.
Jeep tours are for the adventurous traveler who wants to explore Sandoval County’s history, culture and land. Tours are guided and personalized and can include seeing ancient petroglyphs, wild horses, and Spanish ruins.
Rio Rancho Aquatic Center (Indoor)
Many public and private tennis courts are available in Sandoval County including Bernalillo High School, Twin Warriors Golf Club, Cleveland High School, Corrales Community Center, Rio Rancho High School, Felician Sisters Convent, and Haynes Park. For more information, visit the Global Tennis Network online.
The City of Rio Rancho offers skate parks at a number of parks in the city. Additionally, the McDermott Athletic Center operates an indoor ice skating rink year round.
The New Mexico Soccer Tournament Complex boasts 22 international sized fields, is one of the largest of its kind in the country and has hosted many prestigious youth and adult tournaments. The west side has great activities at Club Rio Rancho, such as golf, tennis, and swimming. There’s fine dining, live music and dancing when you’re ready to wind down.
Youth & Team Sports
The City of Rio Rancho and other communities in Sandoval County offer a number of facilities and programs for youth and team sports.
Sandoval County and Rio Rancho offer a number of events throughout the year for families and community members. Additionally, the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho holds a variety of shows from Disney on Ice to Monster Trucks to an array of concerts. For a comprehensive list of community events, visit the Sandoval County Tourism Site by clicking the button below.
PARKS & RECREATION
Each community in Sandoval County offers a variety of parks and recreational activities for families and individuals. Some of our favorites are highlighted below.
Located adjacent to Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho, A Park Above is one of the nation's first all-inclusive parks and has won numerous awards and recognitions for its features and design. Play on the splashpad, get in a workout, make music, play sports - the amenities are endless! You can even bring Fido. Learn more by visiting A Park Above on The City of Rio Rancho's Website.
Haynes Park is one of the busiest parks in the City of Rio Rancho. Many people come and enjoy the many amenities the park has to offer. Some of the amenities range from horseshoe pits to a seasonal swimming pool.
Cabezon Community Center and Park offers a wide variety of programs from pet parades, to Kamp Rio and special community events like Movies Under the Stars and Rio Rancho's Largest Yard Sale.
Other Parks & Facilities by Community
With a collection of unique communities, Sandoval County offers an eclectic mix of shopping, cuisine, and nightlife activities. A number of breweries, wineries, restaurants, art galleries, farmers markets, antique stores, and gift shops are abundant throughout our communities just waiting for their treasures to be discovered. Sip and stroll, sit down for a savory meal, take in a live performance, test your luck at one of our casinos or stay awhile at one of our cozy bed & breakfasts or lush resorts.