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Northern New Mexico

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Title: Northern New Mexico  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: New Mexico, Dixon Studio Tour, Harold Joe Waldrum, Penitentes (New Mexico), Juan Bautista Rael
Collection: Regions of New Mexico, Spanish-American Culture in New Mexico
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Northern New Mexico

Northern New Mexico may simply mean the northern part of New Mexico, but in cultural terms it usually means the area of heavy Spanish settlement in the north-central part. However, New Mexico state government also uses the term to mean the northwest and north central, but to exclude both the northeastern high plains counties and Sandoval County. The top 5 largest cities in Northern New Mexico are: (1) Santa Fe; (2) Las Vegas; (3) Espanola; (4) Los Alamos; (5) Raton.


  • Cultural 1
  • Governmental 2
  • Tourism 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


Blue hatched area shows approximate region culturally known as Northern New Mexico

The traditional southern boundary of the area is an escarpment called La Bajada southwest of Santa Fe. The other boundaries are poorly defined. The map in Cobos (1983) is a guide: from La Bajada the boundary runs northwest about 50 miles (80 km) west of U.S. Routes 285 and 84, and northeast about 20 miles (30 km) east of Interstate 25, to the Colorado border. The area might also be described roughly as comprising Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, Taos, and Colfax Counties; northeastern Sandoval County, northern Santa Fe County; and western San Miguel and Mora Counties, possibly with parts of adjoining counties. To the west is the Four Corners region; to the east are the high plains of Eastern New Mexico.


Blue hatched area shows region called Northern New Mexico in New Mexico state documents

New Mexico state government generally divides New Mexico into four regions: Eastern, Central, Southwestern and Northern New Mexico.[1] For those purposes Northern includes the Four Corners area together with the cultural area, but excludes Sandoval County.[1] The Northwest Region is frequently referred to as the "Four-Corners Region.


For tourists, New Mexico is divided into six regions, with the north being divided into North Central Region, Northeast Region and Northwest Region, with Sandoval County being attached to the Central Region to the south.[2] Under that schema there is no Northern New Mexico, but the North Central Region includes the core part of cultural Northern New Mexico.


  1. ^ a b Economic Research and Analysis Bureau, New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (January 2011). "State of New Mexico Workforce Report 2011" (PDF). State of New Mexico. pp. 8–9. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. 
  2. ^ New Mexico Tourism Department (2008). "New Mexico Regions & Attractions". State of New Mexico. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008.  (new page at that address no longer shows region's map)


  • Rubén Cobos (1983). Dictionary of New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish. University of New Mexico Press. The second edition doesn't include the map.  
  • Jake Kosek (2006). Understories: The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico. Duke University Press.  

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