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Welcome to New Mexico!

The State of New Mexico is "divided" on six major regions- Northwest, North Central, Norteast, Central, Southwest and Southeast. The capital of the State is Albuquerque, and is located in the Central region. Major tourist centers besides the capital are Santa Fe, Los Alamos,and the ski resort Taos.

The Southwest part of the state is also called "Old West Country". In the Old West Country one will find the state's second-largest city, Las Cruces (Spanish for "the crosses"), so named because it was the site of a cluster of crosses marking the graves of a group of travelers from Taos who were ambushed by Apaches in 1830, our largest lake, Elephant Butte (36 miles long), and the "Chile Capital of the World," an agricultural village called Hatch, where more than 30,000 acres of our addictive chile is grown and celebrated every Labor Day.

State of New Mexico Map

Further north and east is Truth or Consequences, a community that gained world fame when it changed its name from Hot Springs at the urging of Ralph Edwards, the host of a popular game show. Still north is the cow town of Magdalena, home of the Magdalena Stock Driveway and Shipping Pens situated at the end of what once was the longest cattle trail in New Mexico, and the wetlands of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, where every spring and fall, migrating waterfowl and other species of birds touch down for a little R & R.

The Southeast part of the state is the so-called "home of larger-than-life locations and legends." The southeast has what's been referred to by many as the 8th Wonder of the World - Carlsbad Caverns National Park which invites people to explore some of the largest caves in the world - there are 100 known, 870-foot underground caves where the collection of stalagmites, stalactites, and Mexican freetail bats will leave anyone speechless. So may the world's richest quarter-horse race in Ruidoso Downs. Also in Ruidoso is the 2nd largest ski mountain in New Mexico - Ski Apache at 12,000 feet in the Lincoln National Forest has some of the best warm-weather powder in the state. For a different take on mountains of white, be sure to travel to White Sands National Monument outside of Alamogordo, where one can hike through the largest natural reservoir of gypsum in the world - nearly 300 acres of the stuff!

The "Heart of New Mexico" or Central New Mexico contains the largest city and only metropolitan area- Albuquerque. Here, one can find the Kodak International Balloon Fiesta, Sandia Peak Ski Area and World's Longest Tramway, the Albuquerque Biological Park, numerous museums, art galleries, performance halls, vineyards, and historic Route 66. While the city and the surrounding area has a contemporary, bustling feel, the legends of the past are present and preserved.

North Central New Mexico is the region some call "North to Adventure and Central to Everything." Thas is due to the fact that one can enjoy endless recreational activities, art, history, and great cuisine. This is the landscape that inspired Georgia O'Keefe's startlingly colorful and shapely paintings. Allow it to do the same to you - ski or snowboard on our powdery snow (Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, Angel Fire Resort, Red River, and many others), climb the highest NM mountain, Wheeler Peak (13,161 feet), or raft through the cavernous Rio Grande Gorge. Hard to miss is Santa Fe, the state's capital and home to North America's oldest church and world-renowned art galleries, marketplaces, and performance.

Northwest New Mexico is the Indian Country, a place that holds a wealth of Native American culture. One can walk in the footsteps of the Anasazi, an ancient people who lived in Chaco Canyon, now a National Historic Park featuring dramatic rock formations; Explore America's largest Indian reservation, the Navajo Nation, as well as the Zuni, Acoma, and Laguna pueblos, and the Jicarilla Apache Nation; Walk the streets of Gallup and discover the Native American arts; Witness the natural desert beauty of the Four Corners. At Chaco Canyon, in particular, one can witness the stone structures they constructed to mark the paths of celestial bodies.

Last, but not least,Northeast New Mexico is the land "where the plains meet the mountains." Visit Capulín Volcano National Monument, an extinct volcanic cone (inactive now for 10,000 years) and you can say you saw the plains of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Still visible are the deep wagon-wheel ruts left by those frontiering souls traveling the 175-mile Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to our capital city. Explore the Army post ruins established in 1851 at the Fort Union National Monument near Las Vegas and you'll learn about the soldiers whose job it was to protect the trail. Also around Las Vegas, check out the spring and fall commutes of waterfowl and birds of prey at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge.

Source:New Mexico Tourism Department 2007

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