Background: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Author: Carvinrocks2

Living in New Mexico

New Mexico - Land of Enchantment

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of New Mexico

New Mexico USA Map
New Mexico USA Map

New Mexico is made up of diverse areas of dry desert, snow capped mountains and forests with a varied and colorful cultural mix of American, Native American, and Spanish, Mexican, influence.

Feature some of the nation's lowest cost of living, New Mexico economy consists of industries ranging from from mineral and silver mining to agriculture and livestock

There are major natural gas and petroleum deposits in the San Juan Basin and the Permian Basin, while gas and oil production is also a major influence in economy of New Mexico. Other major New Mexico industries include tourism, along with federal expenditures at diverse military installations situated throughout the state.

In addition the state government provides technical assistance and tax credits to promote j business investment and ob growth, particularly in new technologies. These include development of laser technology,, solar energy, and, quite recently, space tourism since the Virgin Galactic Spaceport America headquarters are in Upham which is the first airline in the world to offer commercial flights out into space.

Background image; The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS), a narrow gauge heritage railroad running between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. It runs over the 10,015 ft (3,053 m) Cumbres Pass. The track was originally laid in 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. In 1970 the C&TS began to take tourists on six-hour trips between the two towns, using steam locomotives.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, a Spanish explorer searching for gold, traveled the region that became New Mexico in 1540–1542. In 1598 the first Spanish settlement was established on the Rio Grande River by Juan de Onate; in 1610 Santa Fe was founded and made the capital of New Mexico.

The U.S. acquired most of New Mexico in 1848, as a result of the Mexican War, and the remainder in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Union troops captured the territory from the Confederates during the Civil War. With the surrender of Geronimo in 1886, the Apache Wars and most of the Indian conflicts in the area were ended.


The climate of the state is mild, arid or semiarid, continental climate characterized by light rainfall totals, abundant sunshine, low relative humidity, and a relatively large annual and diurnal temperature range. The tallest mountains have climate characteristics similar to the Rocky Mountains.


  • New Mexico Geography, Facts and History
  • New Mexico Facts & Trivia
  • New Mexico Flags
  • Famous People from New Mexico
  • New Mexico Timeline
  • New Mexico Official Song
  • Education

    New Mexico Colleges. Because of its relatively small population, New Mexico, in combination with numerous state-funded research facilities in 2000, had the highest concentration of PhD students in all states. Despite this, the state routinely ranks in quality education surveys on primary and secondary lower secondary education

    New Mexico is one of eight states that fund college scholarships through the state lottery. The state of New Mexico requires that the lottery invest 30% of its gross revenue in the scholarship fund. The scholarship is available to residents who have graduated from a state high school and attend a full-time full-time university while holding 2.5 GPA or higher. It covered 100% of tuition fees when it was launched in 1996, dropped to 90% and then dropped to 60% in 2017. In 2018, the value has risen slightly, and new legislation has been adopted to determine which funds are available to each type of institution


    Oil and gas production, tourism, and federal government spending are the greatest drivers of New Mexico's economy. The state government has an elaborate system of tax credits and technical assistance to stimulate job growth and business investment, especially in new technologies.

    Flora and Fauna

    New Mexico State Flower - Yucca Flower
    New Mexico State Flower - Yucca Flower

    New Mexico State Tree - Pinyon Pine
    New Mexico State Tree - Pinyon Pine

    New Mexico is divided into the following six life zones: lower Sonoran, upper Sonoran, transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and arctic-alpine.

    Characteristic vegetation in each zone includes, respectively, desert shrubs and grasses; piñon/juniper woodland, sagebrush, and chaparral; ponderosa pine and oak woodlands; mixed conifer and aspen forests; spruce/fir forests and meadows; tundra wild flowers and riparian shrubs. The yucca has three varieties in New Mexico and is the state flower. Thirteen plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003, including Sacramento prickly poppy, Moncos milk-vetch, and two species of cacti.

    Indigenous animals include pronghorn antelope, javelina, and black-throated sparrow in the lower Sonoran zone; mule and white-tailed deer, ringtail, and brown towhee in the upper Sonoran zone; elk and wild turkey in the transition zone; black bear and hairy woodpecker in the Canadian zone; pine marten and blue grouse in the Hudsonian zone; and bighorn sheep, pika, ermine, and white-tailed ptarmigan in the arctic-alpine zone. Among notable desert insects are the tarantula, centipede, and vinegarroon.

    The coatimundi, Baird's sparrow, and brook stickleback are among rare animals. Twenty-nine New Mexican animal species were classified as threatened or endangered in 2003, including two species of bat, whooping crane, bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher, Mexican spotted owl, three species of shiner, and razorback sucker.

  • The New Mexico State Bird (Road Runner)
  • New Mexico Official State Flower (Yucca flower)
  • New Mexico Official State Tree (Piñon Pine)
  • Government

    New Mexico State Capitol
    New Mexico State Capitol
    The New Mexico State Capitol, located in Santa Fe at 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, is the house of government of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the only round state capitol in the United States, and is known informally as "the Roundhouse". The capitol houses the New Mexico State Legislature. The first floor (below ground) contains the semicircular House and Senate chambers, which are not accessible to the public. The second story, which is the ground floor, includes galleries where visitors can view the House and Senate chambers. The House gallery seats 281 people and is located on the south side of the building. The Senate gallery, which seats 206 people, is on the north side of the building. The two upper floors are mainly offices, with legislative committee offices on the third floor and the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Legislative Council Service on the fourth floor.

    The executive branch consists of the governor and lieutenant governor (elected jointly), secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and commissioner of public lands. They are elected for four-year terms; none may serve more than two successive terms. Candidates for governor must be 30 years old, US citizens, qualified voters, and residents of New Mexico for at least five years prior to election. Three elected members of the Corporation Commission, which has various regulatory and revenue-raising responsibilities, serve six-year terms.

    In order to vote in state elections, a person must be 18 years old, a US citizen, and a state resident. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.

  • New Mexico Government Website
  • Attractions

    Having one of most incredibly scenic and diverse landscapes in North America, New Mexico provides endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. With strong influences of both Native American and Hispanic culture, the state offers the visitor a multitude of unique attractions both in large cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, as well as the smaller hubs of UFO-focused Roswell and the artists' colony of Taos. Center of the American Southwest, the "Land of Enchantment" didn't gain statehood until 1912. Today, New Mexico offers the visitor fantastic nature experiences, distinctive cuisine, and an impressive fine arts scene.
  • New Mexico Tourism
  • Amusement Parks

    Cliff's Amusement Park, Albuquerque
      Cliff's Amusement Park (previously known as Uncle Cliff's Amusement Park prior to 1991) is a combination amusement park and water park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. It opened in 1959. It features 24 rides for all ages, food, and carnival style games. It also features a water attraction, WaterMania!, which operates Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. It also has the only wooden roller coaster in New Mexico, the New Mexico Rattler.
    Western Playland, Sunland Park
      Western Playland is a 30-acre amusement park located in Sunland Park, New Mexico. It is home to the rides: Hurricane, Tsunami, El Bandido Roller Coaster, Paratrooper, Round up, Tilt-a Whirl, Pharaoh's Fury, Scrambler, Himalaya, and more. The park is opened seasonally, usually March to October. It opens only during the weekends for most of the season, except for summer, its peak season, when they also open during the week

    National Parks

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park Carlsbad Caverns National Park
    Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, NM
      Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar. Listen for an echo of ritual drums in the reconstructed Great Kiva.
    Bandelier National Monument, Los Alamos, NM
      Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad, NM
      High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus, and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes.
    Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Nageezi, NM
      Today the massive buildings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.
    El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historical Trail, NM,TX
      Take a journey on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail to savor 300 years of heritage and culture in the Southwest. This Spanish colonial "royal road" in New Mexico and Texas originally extended to Mexico City, Mexico.
    Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Silver City, NM
      For thousands of years, groups of nomadic people used the caves of the Gila River as temporary shelter. In the late 1200's, people of the Mogollon Culture decided it would be a good place to call home. They built rooms, crafted pottery and raised children in the cliff dwellings for about twenty years. Then the Mogollon moved on, leaving the walls for us as a glimpse into the past.
    Manhattan Project National Historical Park, Manhattan Project National Historical Park, NM,WA,TN
      This site tells the story about the people, events, science, and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bomb, which helped end World War II.
    Old Spanish National Historic Trail, AZ,CA,CO,NV,NM,UT
      Follow the routes of mule pack trains across the Southwest on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. New Mexican traders moved locally produced merchandise across what are now six states to exchange for mules and horses.
    Pecos National Historic Park, Pecos, NM
      In the midst of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains not far from Santa Fe, the remains of Indian pueblos stand as meaningful reminders of people who once prevailed. Pecos National Historical Park helps visitors explore the cultural exchange and geographic features that played such crucial roles in the rich history of the Pecos Valley.
    Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, Mountainair, NM
      Tucked away in the middle of New Mexico you’ll find Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The three sites offer a glimpse into a unique time in history. A time entrenched with cultural borrowing, conflict, and struggles. The now abandoned sites stand as reminders of the Spanish and Pueblo People’s early encounters.
    Santa Fe National Historic Trail, CO,KS,MO,NM,OK
      You can almost hear the whoops and cries of "All's set!" as trail hands hitched their oxen to freight wagons carrying cargo between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through five states and you'll find adventure and evidence of past travelers who made this remarkable trip before you!
    Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Springs, NM
      About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history.
    White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, NM
      Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.

    National Forests

    Lincoln National Forest
    Lincoln National Forest
    Lincoln National Forest - 1,095,470 acres
      With portions of four mountain ranges, the Capitan, Guadalupe, Sacramento, and Sierra Blanca mountains, elevations range from 4,000 feet to 11,500 feet in Lincoln National Forest. The forest was the birthplace of Smokey Bear
    Gila National Forest - 2,658,321 acres
      The forest's Gila Wilderness was the world's first wilderness area and was proclaimed on June 3, 1924. The Catwalk National Recreation Trail travels up a narrow canyon for 1.1 miles while following Whitewater Creek
    Cibola National Forest - 1,616,435 acres
      Part of this National Forest are four wilderness areas, including the Sandia Mountain Wilderness east of Albuquerque. Elevations range from 5,000 feet to 11,301 feet at the summit of Mount Taylor, a stratovolcano in the San Mateo Mountains.
    Santa Fee National Forest - 1,544,748 acres
      Santa Fe National Forest's highest point is Truchas Peak at 13,103 feet in the Pecos Wilderness. There are 1,002 miles of trails in the forest, which includes the Valles Caldera National Preserve


    No major league professional sports teams are based in New Mexico, but the Albuquerque Isotopes are a Pacific Coast League Triple-A baseball affiliate of the MLB Colorado Rockies. New Mexico is home to several baseball teams of the Pecos League: Santa Fe Fuego, Roswell Invaders and the White Sands Pupfish. The Duke City Gladiators of the CIF are an indoor football team that plays their home games at the Tingley Coliseum. The Albuquerque Sol F.C are a soccer club that plays in the PDL (the 4th tier of the American soccer pyramid).

  • New Mexico Sports
  • Taxes

    New Mexico Tax Facts
    • Income tax: 1.7% - 4.9%
    • Sales tax: none (a gross receipts tax of 5.50% - 9.25% effectively acts as a sales tax)
    • Property tax: 0.76% average effective rate
    • Gas tax: 18.88 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 22.88 cents per gallon of diesel



    Albuquerque International Sunport
    Albuquerque International Sunport
    New Mexico Airports. There are 62 airports in New Mexico for the public to use. New Mexico airports offer friendly assistance to passengers. New Mexico airports are well connected to international destinations and other states in the US.

    The airports in New Mexico are Albuquerque International Sunport in Albuquerque and the Roswell International Air Center in Roswell. Apart from these airports in New Mexico, Las Cruces International Airport in Las Cruces is a general aviation airport. The main regional airports in the region are the Farmington Four Corners Regional Airport, Los Alamos Los Alamos Airport, Taos Regional Airport Taos, Santa Fe Santa Fe Airport and Carlsbad Cavern City Air Terminal.

    Albuquerque International Sunport receives more than six million travelers every year. The amenities at this airport include free hotel telephones, handicap assistance, restaurants, lounges, ATMs, Internet kiosks, news and gift shops, retail stores and cafes. In some terminals, free wireless internet access is available.

    The airlines flying from this airport are United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Skywest Airlines, American Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines, Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines.


    New Mexico is served by two class I railroads, the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. Combined, they operate 2,200 route miles of railway in the state 

    Amtrak's Southwest Chief passes through daily at stations in Gallup, Albuquerque, Lamy, Las Vegas, and Raton, offering connections to Los Angeles, Chicago and intermediate points. The Southwest Chief is a fast Amtrak long distance train, being permitted a maximum speed of 90 mph in various places on the tracks of the BNSF Railway. It also operates on New Mexico Rail Runner Express tracks. The Southwest Chief is the successor to the Super Chief and El Capitan.115 The streamliner Super Chief, a favorite of early Hollywood stars, was one of the most famous named trains in the United States and one of the most esteemed for its luxury and exoticness—train cars were named for regional Native American tribes and outfitted with the artwork of many local artists—but also for its speed: as few as 39 hours 45 minutes westbound.

    The Sunset Limited makes stops three times a week in both directions at Lordsburg, and Deming, serving Los Angeles, New Orleans and intermediate points. The Sunset Limited is the successor to the Southern Pacific Railroad's train of the same name and operates exclusively on Union Pacific tracks in New Mexico.


    New Mexico had 59,927 route miles of highway as of 2000, of which 7,037 receive federal aid. In that same year there were 1,003 miles of freeways, of which 1000 were the route miles of Interstate Highways 10, 25 and 40. The former number has increased with the upgrading of roads near Pojoaque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces to freeways.  As of 2001, 703 highway bridges were declared "structurally deficient" or "structurally obsolete".

    Rural and intercity public transportation by road is provided by Americanos USA, LLC, Greyhound Lines and several government operators.

    New Mexico Housing

    The median home value in New Mexico is $190,100. New Mexico home values have gone up 8.6% over the past year and predictions are they will rise 1.3% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in New Mexico is $133. The median price of homes currently listed in New Mexico is $224,990. The median rent price in New Mexico is $1,200. New Mexico Association of Realtors
    New Mexico Real Estate Commission
    New Mexico Real Estate Listings

    New Mexico Cities & Towns

    New Mexico is divided into 33 counties and contains 106 municipalities consisting of cities, towns, villages and an incorporated county. New Mexico's incorporated municipalities take up only 1% of the state's land area but are home to 65.4% of its population. The largest municipality by population in the state is Albuquerque with 545,852 residents or approximately 26.5% of the population of the state. The smallest municipality by population is Grenville with 38 residents. The largest municipality by land area is also Albuquerque which covers 187.73 square miles, and Virden is the smallest at 0.22 square miles.
  • New Mexico Cities and Towns
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    Living in New Mexico . Living in New Mexico