New Mexico is More than Desert

New Mexico is proud to claim one of the most diverse landscapes available in the country—maybe even the world. Containing wide, rose-colored deserts and mesas and snow-capped mountains, we have some interesting scenery. Our arid image leads visitors and observers to believe that desert comprises most of the state, but a significant portion is heavily forested, especially in the north. Sure, we have sand dunes and lots of cacti, but we also sport snow-capped mountains, expansive forests, and vast expanses of prairie.


The climate itself is generally semiarid to arid, but parts of the state have continental and alpine climates. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run along the east side of the Rio Grande, providing significant elevation for much of the state. Moreover, though parts of the state can be very hot (the southeast has an average annual temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit), the northern mountains have an average temperature of just 40 degrees.


The diversity in landscape and climate has fostered an incredibly biodiverse community of flora and fauna. The southern portion of our state is full of creosote bush, mesquite, cacti, yucca, and several desert grasses, whereas the northern portion is home to ponderosa pine, aspen, spruce, fir, and cottonwood. Wildlife enthusiasts can, in varying parts of the state, spot black bears, cougars, jaguars, bighorn sheep, Plains bison, and Mexican gray wolves.


To keep pace with the diverse, dynamic landscape, New Mexico residents are known to partake in a wide range of outdoor adventure and recreational activities. From skiing to camping, whitewater rafting to mountain biking, New Mexico is an adventurer’s dream come true.