Photos and videos: Rio Grande Headwaters, April 2021

This page features drone-captured and ground-based photos and videos of the Rio Grande near its headwaters in southern Colorado.

The Rio Grande begins in the San Juan Mountains of south-central Colorado and travels some 1,900 miles through Colorado and New Mexico before serving as the border between Texas and Mexico.

In its upper reaches, the Rio Grande Basin is adjacent to the Colorado River Basin, which lies on the other side of the Continental Divide. Like the Colorado, the Rio Grande faces major threats and challenges in the 21st century, including drought, climate change, pollution, invasive species, and human overuse of a limited water supply.

These photos and videos were captured near the Rio Grande’s headwaters in southern Colorado, upstream from Del Norte and near the town of Creede. This scenic stretch of the river is popular with anglers and is lined by the abandoned tracks of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.

Learn more:

DateApril 1, 2021
LocationAlong the Rio Grande, upstream from Del Norte, Colorado (map)
CreditMitch Tobin/The Water Desk
RightsFree to reuse under Creative Commons license.

Selected images from the gallery

Click to enlarge

To use these images

Please read and consent to the terms and license below for access to the download page.

The Water Desk’s photo and video resources are part of our efforts to aid and enrich news coverage of Western water issues. Our imagery is shot by professional photojournalists and is available for free reuse under a Creative Commons noncommercial license.

To help us continue to offer this free material, we ask that you please:
  1. Credit the original photographer and the Water Desk as the source
  2. Email us a link to the published story at
  3. Consider sending The Water Desk your ideas for future content that we could add to the library
  4. Keep supporting professional photojournalists by hiring them for assignments

I understand and consent

< Show related galleries

Explore aerial, drone and ground-based imagery from The Water Desk