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The Road Trip Through New Mexico’s Cowboy Country That Is Second To None

Today, ranching remains an important industry for our state. But it’s been significant ever since the end of the Civil War, when cowboys started driving cattle through New Mexico, along routes like the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Nowadays the largest ranches are in private hands, so this drive focuses on stops where you can learn about cowboy life or experience it firsthand, rather than on areas where cattle currently graze.

This 12 hour and 42 minute drive covers the southeastern portion of the state and a little of Northern New Mexico. It’s 761 miles in length. Wild west shows, chuckwagon dinners, and cowboy museums are all part of the journey. Since chuckwagon events tend to be seasonal, this is an ideal drive to take in summer. Here is the map.

So, there we have it! Your cowboy road trip is designed to start and end with a chuckwagon dinner. But, of course, you can hop on the loop at whichever point is closest to you and go from there. Are you up for a drive?

You may want to time your trip to coincide with special events like New Mexico’s many rodeos – the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium is especially good. The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces is another excellent place to learn about ranching, but it involves a significant detour from the route. If you’re in the vicinity of Las Cruces, definitely check it out.

Juliet White
Staff writer for Only In Your State and freelance writer. Juliet can be reached on Twitter @JulietWrites.