I recently returned from my first trip to Bosque del Apache. If you have never been, it is well worth the trip for any bird or nature enthusiast! Although I knew I was going a little late in the season for the masses of birds, I was not disappointed with what I did see. Overall, an amazing experience and a great refuge to visit. If you get there before sunrise and sit in the right spot, you will witness the amazing morning take off! This happens first for the geese before sunrise and then the cranes follow suit a bit later. It’s worth getting up for this scene! The noise alone is unbelievable. Think hundreds or possibly, thousands of birds squawking and taking flight together! The birds all return to their night roosting spots in the late afternoon, so it’s worth returning for this. What to expect during your visit: Drive slow and keep your eyes open for all sorts of wildlife including lots of birds, javelinas, mountain lions, and coyotes. You never know when you’ll spot something and it’s not always easy to see some of the animals. There are 2 main driving routes – the north and south loops – as well as a few intermittent roads that are open certain weekends and times of the year. I always arrived before sunrise to stake out a good spot. I would drive or walk the trails until 10-11am. Mid-day when the light is poor for photography, I would grab lunch and rest a bit or take a stroll on the many trails. Then I’d head back into the refuge around 2-3pm and enjoy the softer afternoon light and finally, sunset. You can always ask at the visitor center what animals have been spotted recently and where to go for the best sunrise/sunset locations. If you’re interested in going, I suggest staying in nearby Socorro, New Mexico. The refuge is actually 8 miles south of the tiny town of San Antonio, New Mexico. However, there are not many options for sleeping there. Socorro offers many motels to choose from as well as a grocery store and several restaurants. Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge is about 25-30 minutes from Socorro via i25 which is not far at all when you’ve driven over 500 miles already. Have you been to Bosque del Apache? What’s your favorite thing about it?