Explore the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
New Mexico › Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Added by Brittany Weber
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is an amazing non-profit that rescues displaced, unwanted, and un-releasable captive-bred wolves, wolf-dogs, and other exotic canines. Take a day or two to explore the area to learn and observe wildlife in a way that serves as a humble reminder to slow down and not take anything for granted.
Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is an incredible place that has 3 main focuses: rescue, sanctuary and care, and education. It's important to keep these in mind when visiting, but also when you're exploring elsewhere.
As WSWS is a bit far from your typical town, I recommend preparing in advance if you are camping on-site or if you plan to explore El Morro National Monument or El Malpais National Monument, both of which are nearby and highly recommended.
Using a GPS may not be wise to arrive here as you are heading through reservation land, so it's important to have a map with you and to keep an eye out for any signs. The route I've taken down from Gallup had several signs at turns, so I imagine they have signs no matter the direction you're coming from, but it's always better to be safe than sorry!
WSWS offers an array of tours, encounters, and accommodations. For those of you on a hiker trash budget, I recommend taking the standard tour which is a guided walk that is offered six days a week (the sanctuary is closed Mondays) and four times a day and doesn't require a reservation. It's $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children 7-12, and children 6 and under are free. All of the proceeds from the tours and anything you may buy in the gift shop directly fund taking care of the amazing animals you'll be seeing. Most of the employees are actually volunteers too, so don't forget to put a tip in the tip box. It's located inside the cabin near the map where you are encouraged to place a pin so people can see where visitors are from!
Currently, the sanctuary doesn't allow guests to walk around unescorted, so you must join a guided tour to see the animals. Tours range in length depending on the size and age of the group, the interest of the guests, and activity of the animals. Regardless of which tour you go on, you will start your tour on the patio of the cabin that doubles as the gift shop and then take the fun-filled, educational walk with one of their very knowledgeable tour guides. Many of the animals will approach the fence allowing you to get great photos. The standard tour is about 1/4 of a mile round-trip on a gravel and dirt path with some hills. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather!
Some other tours and experiences that WSWS offers are group tours, feeding tours, and photography tours as well as different encounters such as walking a wolf, hiking with a wolf, or even simple educational encounters with the wolves, wolf-dogs, Australian Dingos, or New Guinea Singing Dogs. All of these require reservations in advance, so check out the website (https://www.wildspiritwolfsanctuary.org/index.php) in order to plan your visit if you're looking for something more than the standard tour.
The sanctuary has several different accommodations too. Camping, RV's, Cabins, Lodges, and a Retreat Center are all available, the last three requiring reservations in advance. Camping is what I recommend and it will only cost you $15 a night for 1-2 people. The campground is on-site and each site includes a picnic table, a fire pit, and firewood. You'll also have access to outhouses and fully equipped shower houses (which is awesome when camping!), and propane grills are available to rent. Some nights you'll even get to experience the cacophony of all the wolves and other canines howling, which is truly an incredible experience.
It's important to remember to keep your pets on leash if you decide to bring your furry friends along too. Your camping neighbors will appreciate it and the wolves that might pass through the campground during your stay will not encounter any surprises. Make sure to keep your campsite clean and tidy while you are there too and follow Leave No Trace principles. Be VERY cautious with your food – don’t leave open packages lying around, keep your food close to you while being cooked and packed away when not. Open food may attract unwanted wildlife like coyotes, bears, or raccoons which can disturb the animals in the sanctuary. And don't leave ANYTHING (rubber balls, water bottles, toys, etc., etc.) that may be found by the wolves that are regularly walked through the campground - they will find it and may want to ingest it!
Overall, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary will leave you feeling ready to take action to protect our wildlife and in awe of the wonder that lives within every animal. It's a place full of unique and incredible opportunities if you're willing to look past any fear you may have and run with the wolves for a little while.
- Money for entrance fee/camping/goodies from the gift store
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Campsite essentials
- Food and water
- Map of the area for other hiking ventures
- Hat - especially in the summer
- Your own wild nature :)
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Volunteering
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ReviewsLeave a Review
The Hallmark of the Wild Nature is That It Goes On
Wolves are my favorite animal and to experience a place that has allowed me to get closer to them yet still respect their wild nature and boundaries was truly a dream come true. The staff are all super friendly and helpful, the campground is great, and the work they're doing is incredible. If you're ever in the area pop in and take a tour - I promise you won't regret it!
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