Skip to Content


Rio Arriba County

Río Arriba County is the largest land area within the Heritage Area, and it is the least populated. The City of Española is the primary municipality in the County, although it is a relatively small community surrounded by a number of villages within the Rio Grande Valley. The County Seat is in Tierra Amarilla, but Española is the gateway to all of Northern New Mexico, opening corridors to communities along the Río Chama, the Río Grande, and the High Road to Taos. A key archaeological attraction in the area north of Española is the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Preserve. To the northwest along the Chama River is the village of Abiquiu and the Piedra Lumbre geologic formations.

Most of the County is highly rural. It includes two Tewa Pueblos - Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh, which are situated around Española, and the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in the western part of the County. Ohkay Owingeh is at the heart of the "Tewa Homelands" and site of the first Spanish settlement in 1598.

Río Arriba County and the Heritage Area have initiated a collaboration to consider economic development activities and joint promotion of cultural heritage tourism in the many small communities within the County. For more information about Río Arriba County, please visit their home page: www.rio-arriba.org