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caja del rio

Journey Text


Just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, within O’ga Pogeh and Cochiti Pueblo territories is a place of cosmic connection and cultural convergence: The Caja del Rio.


From dramatic geologic features and diverse wildlife, to millennia-old petroglyphs and Pueblo cultural resources, to traditional Spanish land grant communities, to the original path of the modern day Route 66, the Caja del Rio plateau tells the story of human journey in this part of the world.


This sacred plateau, situated between the Rio Grande and Santa Fe Rivers, connects us to the past, the future, each other, and ourselves. It’s a continuum of human journey within and alongside the natural world. It deserves our protection.


This is the caja del rio


Since time immemorial to the present day, Indigenous communities have thrived in the Caja, building dozens of village sites and irrigation structures and leaving behind remarkable petroglyphs in the basalt canyon walls. Today, surrounding Pueblo people continue to regard the landscape of the Caja as sacred, home to ancestors and spirits, and critically important for future generations to maintain cultural connection to traditional lifeways. As the original stewards of this landscape, these Pueblo communities continue to fight for the protection of the Caja alongside many other dedicated allies from diverse backgrounds.

In addition to Indigenous communities, the history of Spanish settlement along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro dates back more than 13 generations. Communities like La Bajada, Agua Fría, Jacona, Cañón, La Cienega, El Rancho, and many more have relied on the land for hunting, grazing, foraging, firewood collection, religious pilgrimage and spiritual sustenance.



Approximately 107,000 acres, the Caja del Rio Plateau is one of the most ecologically rich and culturally significant landscapes in the Southwest. With a wildlife corridor that runs along the Upper Rio Grande from New Mexico to Colorado, the Caja plays a critical role in maintaining animals’ mobility and provides vital habitats for a diverse range of plants and wildlife including many endangered and sensitive species of mammals, reptiles and birds.



The Caja is a strikingly beautiful place of invaluable cultural, historical, and ecological importance. Sadly, the area has long suffered the consequences of inadequate protection. Desecration of petroglyphs, persistent illegal dumping and unregulated shooting, poaching and killing of threatened and endangered species and destruction of critical wildlife habitat and irresponsible off-roading are all imminent threats that must be addressed in order to protect this cherished landscape.

Latest News & Events


July 11, 2024

Join us on JULY 22 to protect the Caja del Rio The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) Los Alamos Field Office will be hosting a Town Hall on July 22. […]

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Earth Day Clean-Up

March 28, 2024

Give back to the Caja this Earth Day! Join us on Saturday, April 20 for a guided hike and clean-up – see you there!

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Press release: Proposed power transmission line through the Caja del Rio sees overwhelming public opposition

March 13, 2024

Press Release: Proposed power transmission line through the Caja del Rio sees overwhelming public opposition FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 13, 2023 Proposed power transmission line through the Caja del Rio sees overwhelming public opposition Over […]

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The Caja del Rio is under direct threat

January 5, 2024

BACKGROUND In November 2023, Los Alamos National Labs (LANL), with oversight from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), announced the proposal of a 14-mile, 115kV power transmission line project that would cut across the Caja […]

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Help us protect this treasured place of journey

Take Action

Visit our action center to learn more about how the Coalition is working to protect the Caja del Rio and how you can help.

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