New Mexico February 16, 2016
These 14 Epic Mountains In New Mexico Will Drop Your Jaw
Mountain ranges shape and define the landscape of New Mexico, contributing to the state’s natural beauty. Although we don’t have any fourteeners like our neighbor, Colorado, we come pretty close. Whether you’re interested in scaling New Mexico’s peaks or just want to admire them, here are some of the best mountains that our state has to offer.
I’ve focused on peaks with high prominence, because they tend to be more dramatic. They’re listed by descending elevation (according to
1. Wheeler Peak, 13,166 feet
The tallest mountain in New Mexico is Wheeler Peak. Located near Taos, it belongs to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The latter is the southernmost range in the Rockies.
2. Truchas Peak, 13,107 feet
Truchas Peak is also in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in the Pecos Wilderness Area. Driving along the High Road to Taos affords you great views of its summit.
3. Jicarita Peak, 12,840 feet
Another highlight of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is Jicarita Peak. A rough map, discovered on the bodies of two dead prospectors, launched rumors that there is a gold mine hidden somewhere up here.
4. Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622
This is the last of the Sangre de Cristo peaks on this list. While this range is interesting for its youth—in geological terms, 30 million years is the new 30—and because it continues to rise, there are many other dramatic ranges in New Mexico to cover.
5. Sierra Blanca Peak, 11,977 feet
SIerra Blanca, in the Sacramento Mountains near Capitan, scores the title of highest peak in the southern half of New Mexico. It also has the highest prominence in the state, so it appears particularly impressive!
6. Chicoma Mountain, 11,561 feet
Chicoma Mountain is part of the Jemez Mountains, and is located in the southern portion of the Rockies, near Espanola.
7. Mount Taylor, 11,306 feet
This extinct volcano is near the town of Grants, in the San Mateo Mountains. It's one of four mountains that the Navajo hold sacred.
8. Whitewater Baldy, 10,899 feet
Whitewater Baldy is formed from volcanic matter and, despite its name, this peak is not actually bare. It's located in Gila National Forest, near Glenwood.
9. Sandia Crest 10,682 feet
Sandia Crest towers over Albuquerque, providing panoramic vistas of the city. If skiing's your thing, you can use the Sandia Peak webcam to check on conditions before leaving the comfort of your home.
10. Capitan Peak, 10,086 feet
Unlike most of New Mexico's ranges the Capitan Mountains, near the town of the same name, run from east to west. In 1950, an injured bear cub was found in the mountains following a forest fire. You probably know him as Smokey Bear!
11. Ladron Peak, 9143 feet
Ladron Peak, situated in the small mountain range known as the Sierra Ladrones, dominates the landscape near Socorro.
12. Organ Needle, 8980 feet
The Organ Needle is the tallest part of the Organ Mountains, which are named for the instrument that the steep peaks resemble. In 2014, this area became a national monument, encompassing 500,000 acres of land near Las Cruces.
13. Big Hatchet Peak, 8356 feet
Head to Big Hatchet Peak if you want to get away from it all. Close to both the Texan and Mexican borders, this peak feels both remote and rugged.
14. Florida Peak, 7448 feet
Since the desert around nearby Deming is flat, Florida Peak appears grander than its elevation suggests.
What’s your favorite peak or range in New Mexico? Do you prefer the views from the bottom or from the top? Share your experiences in the comments.