Brazos Falls Heralds In Spring Runoff


By George  Morse

One of the most beautiful and visible signs that spring is here and winter is waning is the seasonal appearance of Brazos Falls near Tierra Amarilla. Bursting forth from the spectacular Brazos Cliffs and fed by melting snow, the stunning stream of whitewater is visible from US Highway 84 as you approach Tierra Amarilla. 

The Falls are seasonal and by early summer will have dried up and disappeared. For that brief period of time that they are running, they are the longest waterfall in the state and one of the longest in the country with a combined height of 2,400 feet. 

After a promising start, the snowpack this winter ended up being below normal. With the record-breaking high temperatures experienced throughout the state recently, the snowpack is melting fast. Streamflow levels may be running high right now in the Rio Brazos and Rio Chama in Rio Arriba County.

You may drive closer to the Falls by turning off US Highway 84 on to NM Highway 512. Much of the land near the Falls is private and please respect people’s property. You will need a high-clearence, four-wheel drive vehicle to get close to the Falls.