The County Highpoints of New Mexico
New Mexico is a varied land of high alpine mountains, forested ranges, cliffs, interesting rock formations, and for variety, mind-numbing flat plateau in the east. Its 33 county highpoints offer a variety of hiking experiences from multi-day backpacks, some techical peaks, a few 'flatties' where orienteering is the challenge, a wide selection of fun day hikes to high summits, and a few on private property where your charm will have to suffice to win permission.
Highpoint Information and Links
The following is a table of the county highpoints of New Mexico. The Summitpost link is given if a page exists, otherwise alternative links are offered in the fourth column. I have supplied my personal trip reports as well. The best resource for many of the lesser-known highpoints would be at www.cohp.org, where various trip reports are posted, often giving recent new information on access issues, etc.
Two pairs of counties share highpoints. Rio Arriba and Mora Counties both share South Truchas Peak as its highpoint, while Grant and Sierra County share McKnight Mountain. In Grant County's case, another spot elevation of equal height must also be visited.
|Highpoint Name (summitpost link)||Elevation||County||Other links|
|Wheeler Peak by Alan Ellis||13,161||Taos||surgent • cohp.org|
|Truchas Peak by dsnell||13,102||Mora & Rio Arriba||surgent • cohp.org|
|Santa Fe Baldy by dsnell||12,622||Santa Fe||surgent • cohp.org|
|Little Costilla Peak by A. DePasquale||12,584||Colfax||surgent • cohp.org|
|Sierra Blanca by surgent||11,973||Otero||surgent • cohp.org|
|Elk Mountain||11,661||San Miguel||surgent • cohp.org|
|Lookout Mountain by attm||11,580||Lincoln||surgent • cohp.org|
|Mount Taylor by dsnell||11,301||Cibola||surgent • cohp.org|
|Redondo Peak||11,254||Sandoval||surgent • Valles Calderas Preserve • cohp.org|
|Whitewater Baldy by streeyyr||10,895||Catron||surgent • cohp.org|
|South Baldy by streeyyr||10,783||Socorro||surgent • cohp.org|
|Sandia Crest by dsnell||10,678||Bernalillo||surgent • cohp.org|
|Caballo Mountain by surgent||10,460||Los Alamos||surgent • cohp.org|
|McKnight Mountain by surgent||10,165||Grant & Sierra||surgent • cohp.org|
|Manzano Peak by streeyyr||10,098||Torrance||surgent • cohp.org|
|Beautiful Mountain||9,388||San Juan||surgent • cohp.org|
|Cerros de Alejandro||9,166||McKinley||surgent • cohp.org|
|Organ Needle by surgent||8,980||Dona Ana||surgent • cohp.org|
|Manzano West Range||8,960||Valencia||surgent • cohp.org|
|Sierra Grande||8,720||Union||surgent • cohp.org|
|Cookes Peak by surgent||8,408||Luna||surgent • cohp.org|
|Dog Canyon Overlook (Guadalupe Mtns)||7,480||Eddy||surgent • cohp.org|
|One Tree Peak||7,089||Chaves||surgent • cohp.org|
|Sugarloaf Mountain||6,455||Harding||surgent • cohp.org|
|Mesa Leon||6,339||Guadalupe||surgent • cohp.org|
|Loma Alta||5,583||De Baca||surgent • cohp.org|
|Luciano Mesa||5,560||Quay||surgent • cohp.org|
|Northwest Corner||4,792||Curry||surgent • cohp.org|
|Northwest Corner||4,780||Roosevelt||surgent • cohp.org|
|Mescalero Ridge||4,476||Lea||surgent • cohp.org|
Also, check out John Kirk's informative New Mexico Counties Website
for more information and photographs.
New Mexico County Map
Resources• County Highpointers Website, hosted by Adam Helman and the archive of trip reports for virtually all U.S. counties.
• County Highpoints of the United States, ordering information for Andy Martin's remarkable book of lists.
• My New Mexico Counties Page, a collection of my reports of the New Mexico County highpoints.
Private Property Issues
A few of the New Mexico County highpoints are located on private or restricted lands. You should always endeavor to ask permission before entering onto these restricted lands.
• Animas Peak - Hidalgo County: This is located on a working ranch and access is almost always denied. See the summitpost page and other links for useful background information.
• Redondo Peak - Sandoval County: Located on the Valles Calderas National Preserve, the peak is currently closed to the public for the time being. Hiking is available on the preserve (as is biking, hunting and all sorts of winter activities) but as of yet no access to the summit is being allowed. Old roads do lead to the top, which is broad and flat. Please see the above links for some useful information.
• Cerros de Alejandro - McKinley County: I was there in 2000, and I have recently heard the surrounding lands have been fenced. I do not know how this will impact access to the summit, or how actively the area is patrolled. The region is a checkerboard of public and private lands.
• Sierra Grande - Union County: A thin strip of New Mexico Public Lands offers access from the east side but navigation is difficult. You may try asking permission from the landowners on the north flanks of the peak, where a rough 4wd road leads to the summit. This has worked well in the past - the landowners are friendly. Be prepared to possibly hike the whole road from the base as it is very rough.
• Cookes Peak - Luna County: Access past a gate on the road can be requested from the rancher. Please see the link for information. Otherwise, an all-public route exists from the gate to the top, adding about 5 miles to the overall journey.
Much of Eastern New Mexico sits atop the Llano Estacado, or the "Staked Plains", a vast plateau that straddles New Mexico and Northern Texas, notable for its total flatness on top and the abrupt bluffs and cliffs that surround it. The county highpoints of Curry, Quay, Roosevelt and Lea are found here, all on their northwestern corners, and all are very easy to visit. So... if you have all the big county peaks done, come out this way for a fun day of flatties. A bunch of county highpoints in Texas sit astride the NM/TX state line as well. A wonderful harvest for the highpointer who has no shame!
List of Completers
For a complete list of who has completed New Mexico's 33 county highpoints, click Here