New Mexico Information

Sunset on the Sandia Range

New Mexico, one of the Mountain states, is located in the southwestern United States. It is south of Colorado and east of Arizona. New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. Santa Fe is the capital, and Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico.

Physical Geography

New Mexico covers 314,937 sq km (121,598 sq mi), divided into four natural regions: the southernmost portion of the Southern Rocky Mountains, part of the Colorado Plateau, part of the Basin and Range province, and part of the Great Plains.

The Rocky Mountains reach southward into New Mexico in two branches, one on each side of the Rio Grande Valley. Between the mountain ranges are the valleys of the Basin and Range province. The eastern portion of the region includes mountains that are volcanic in origin, as well as numerous hot springs. The higher elevations of the Colorado Plateau in western New Mexico have great horizontal layers of brightly colored rocks, characterized by high cliffs, mesas, buttes, and deep canyons. Part of the vast level expanse known as the Great Plains lies within eastern New Mexico. The High Plains, making up the flattest section of the Great Plains, extend southward into New Mexico from Colorado. New Mexico’s major river is the Rio Grande. The Continental Divide, separating rivers draining to the Atlantic from those draining to the Pacific, crosses New Mexico from north to south. The largest bodies of water in the state are reservoirs built to irrigate the dry lands.

New Mexico has a generally mild, sunny, and dry climate. However, temperatures and precipitation vary widely from night to day and from winter to summer. In addition, climate varies greatly within each natural region. Higher mountain areas have a much cooler and wetter climate than lower areas nearby.