NM Geography

Located in the desert Southwest, New Mexico borders Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and Mexico. It is the fifth largest state in total land area, following Alaska, Texas, California, and Montana.

New Mexico Desert

New Mexico Desert

New Mexico Desert and Mountains

Climate and topography vary greatly due to the state’s size and location, allowing for both dry desert and heavily forested areas. Mountain ranges and mesas provide some of the most distinctively “New Mexican” land features. Notably, the Rio Grande divides the state approximately in half, providing water for early explorers and settlers.

Southern New Mexico features expansive, semi-arid areas showcasing cactus, yucca, sagebrush and other desert plants. Northern New Mexico is less arid and much cooler, leading into the Rocky Mountains where snow and rain feeds rivers and streams as well as vast alpine forests.

  • Geographic Area: 121,593 square miles
  • Land Area:  121,356 square miles
  • Mean altitude: 5700 feet