REGION FAST FACTS
- Three of the U.S.’s 23 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage sites are in New Mexico – Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Chaco Culture and Taos Pueblo. New Mexico is the only state with more than two sites.
- New Mexico ranks as the nation’s fifth largest state and sixth nationally in total acreage of public lands.
- New Mexico’s 14 national monuments are the third-most among all states in the U.S.
- New Mexico is second only to Arizona in days of sunshine per yet.
- One-fourth of the state is forested with seven National Forests across the state including the nation’s largest, the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest, which includes the Gila Wilderness.
- Route 66 spans over 600 miles of the state and is listed as one of New Mexico’s Scenic and Historic Byways.
- The New Mexico state question is “Red or Green?” which refers to the option of red or green chile when ordering New Mexican food. Chile is featured in every meal from breakfast through dinner and is the No. 1 cash crop in the state as New Mexico grows more chiles than any other state with over 120,000 tons produced annually.
- The state’s elevations range from 2,871 feet at Red Bluff Lake to 13,161 on Wheeler Peak.
- New Mexico has six of the seven life zones found in the world – classified by vegetarian type and varying by altitude and orientation to the sun.
- New Mexico is known as “The State of the Arts” because it is home to more working artists, open studios, artist-owned galleries and specialty and artisan-oriented shops than any other state per capita.
- The state has five national forests, 20 national parks and monuments, 35 state parks (20 of which have lakes), 25 scenic byways and 21 wilderness areas.
- The Rio Grande, which ribbons through the state from north to south, is the fourth-longest river in the country.
- The state receives 200-300 inches a year of snow.
- Nineteen pueblos and three reservations span across the state with 22 tribes represented.
- Smokey Bear originated in New Mexico as an actual black bear cub found by firefighters from Taos Pueblo in southeaster New Mexico during the massive Capitan Gap fire of 1950.
- The Wilderness Act was signed into law in September 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, with the Gila Wilderness the first official designated Wilderness Area in the nation.
- New Mexico is the only state with night light legislation enacting the Night Sky Protection Act in 1999.
- Home to the two highest elevation zipline tours in the U.S. (Apache and Angel Fire).
- New Mexico is one-fourth of the Four Corners Monument, which is the only unique landmark in the U.S. where four states intersect at one point.
- Chaco Culture National Historic Park dates back to 850 AD and is considered the most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.
- Gallup is the Indian Jewelry Capital of the World.
- The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.
- Santa Fe is the nation’s highest elevation capital (7,000 feet) and nation’s oldest capital.
- San Miguel Chapel is the oldest standing church in the U.S. (1610).
- The Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in the U.S. with the 900-year-old buildings still occupied.
- Taos Pueblo is the only active Native American community designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historical Landmark.
- Red River has the longest summer tubing tracks in the country.
- Santa Fe has been a UNESCO Creative City since 2005 – the first city honored as such.
- The world-famous Santa Fe Opera has an open-air theater situated dramatically outside of the capital in the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains.
- Las Vegas has 900 buildings in nine historic districts on the National Registry – more than any city in the United States.
- More than 500 dinosaur tracks were discovered at Clayton Lake State Park in the early 1980s. Their age is estimated at 100 million years, in the late age of dinosaurs.
- The Capulin Volcano (8,000 feet) is so tall that five states can be seen from the top: New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
- White Sands National Monument contains the largest gypsum dune field in the world. The result of water evaporating from transitory lakes with a high mineral content, the gypsum deposits span 275 square miles.
- With Albuquerque considered the “Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World,” the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been touted as the most photographed event globally.
- The American International Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque is home to the largest collection of live rattlesnakes in the world.
- The Gila National Forest is the largest in the country.
- Las Cruces holds the Guinness World Record for making the largest enchilada (done every year at the city’s Whole Enchilada Festival) using 75 gallons of red chili sauce and 750 pounds of ground corn to make the tortillas.
- Southern New Mexico is the oldest wine making region in the country producing grapes for over 400 years since the arrival of Spanish colonists and their “mission” grapes.
- Hatch is known as the “Green Chile Capital of the World”
- The city of Truth or Consequences was once called “Hot Springs” before the town changed its name to the title of a popular radio quiz program in 1950.
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