Small towns are an intrinsic part of New Mexico’s charm but, due to their size, they don’t always receive the love they deserve. Here are some of our state’s tiniest towns, with fewer than 300 residents. I’ve focused on places with something a little special about them. Some are close to a major attraction, while others have an intriguing history. But each of these tiny towns is worth a second glance.
1. Jemez Springs village, Sandoval County, population 250
Jemez Springs has a lot more to offer than its size suggests. First, there's its beauty - the town is surrounded by vermilion rocks. Then there are the numerous recreational opportunities. Whether you want to hike, fish, check out Soda Dam, or soak in hot springs, there's plenty to do outdoors. You can even explore the remains of a 500-year old Indian village (the Jemez National Historic Landmark).
Round out your visit with a drink at the colorful and kitschy Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon. You'll be in good company - the walls are decorated with dead rattlesnakes and the front half of a stuffed goat!
2. San Jon, Quay County, population 216
This old railroad town was once a stop on Route 66, but now it's mostly a place to refuel on the New Mexican side of the border with Texas. That being said, it's worth exploring Russell's Car Museum. It's crammed with auto memorabilia along with classic cars, and other Americana. Plus, it's free!
3. San Ysidro village, Sandoval County, population 193
The tiny town of San Ysidro is just off a stunning stretch of Highway 550 - head along it a little ways northwest to marvel at the rock formations. Two trailheads providing access to the Ojito Wilderness are just southeast of the village. San Ysidro itself was established in 1699 as a farming community.
4. Corona, Lincoln County, population 172
Corona is significant because of its connection to the supposed UFO landing in 1947. It's the town closest to the debris field from the crash.
5. Des Moines, Union County, population 143
Des Moines is a teeny town close to Capulin Volcano National Monument. This is one of the biggest and most symmetrical cinder cones in the country. It's also one of the few places where you can hike inside a volcano! From the top, you can see for miles.
6. Hope village, Eddy County, population 105
Who doesn't want to visit a town named Hope? Originally, the village was known as Badgerville or Badger. This moniker stemmed from the settlers' practice of living in dugouts. By 1890, when the village got its own post office, the name had changed to Hope.
7. Mosquero village, Harding and San Miguel Counties, population 93
Despite its diminutive size, Mosquero extends into two counties and is actually the county seat of Harding County. Buildings along the main drag are decorated with colorful murals.
8. Encino village, Torrance County, population 82
Encino appears to be teetering on the edge of becoming a ghost town. If you're into abandoned buildings, frozen in time, then you'll love this micro town.
9. Folsom village, Union County, population 56
Like Des Moines, Folsom is close to Capulin Volcano National Monument.
Its claim to fame relates to the Folsom Man archeological site. Finds here first suggested that mankind may have been living in this part of the world for approximately the last 12,000 years!
The town's Doherty Mercantile building has been converted into a fun museum.