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Southwest, New Mexico

New Mexico's Southwest Region, home to the first designated wilderness in the country, offers boundless opportunities to enjoy the state's natural landscape and exhilarating history. The Gila Wilderness, established in 1924, influenced notable individuals such as Also Leopold - the conservationist whose efforts helped secure the Gila Forest wilderness area as a protected space - and courageous Apache chief Geronimo. Visitors journey in a land of cacti, junipers, pine, aspens, black bears, mountain lions, elk, and wild turkeys while hiking, camping, birding or rafting in the Gila Mountains.

New Mexico's second largest city lies in the Southwest Region. Las Cruces (Spanish for "the crosses"), so named because it was the site of several cross-topped graves of an 1830s caravan of travelers ambushed by Apache Indians, still harbors the ghosts of many historic figures and events. Las Cruces Sheriff Pat Garrett captured infamous outlaw Billy the Kid and held him in Mesilla's jailhouse. You can still see the site of this jail when you visit Las Cruses and the Mesilla Plaza for some of the region's finest shopping and dining.

Explore Southwest



Langmuir Laboratory

Late June to late August lightning and thunderstorm research; gate blocks last mile to laboratory (gate is often closed). Hikers, picnickers welcome year-round.

Socorro, NM Recreation

Western New Mexico University Museum

World's largest permanent exhibit of Mimbres pottery, natural /

Silver City, NM Museums

Pancho Villa State Park

Site of March 9, 1916, Villa raid on U.S. Camp Furlong site. Botanical Garden, visitors center, 61

Columbus, NM Battlesites


Fort Bayard

1863 U.S. Infantry post, once housed Buffalo Soldiers. Original officers'

Silver City, NM Historic Forts





The Catwalk

Steep Trail over suspended bridges through whitewater canyon, handicapped accessible. Grand Reopening May 29

Glenwood, NM Trails

Explore Southwest