North Central Region, NM
New Mexico's North Central Region is just above the Central region, and borders Colorado to the north. Cities
include the state's capital Santa Fe, the fourth largest city in the state, and also Los Alamos, Taos, Tierra
Amarilla, Chimayo, White Rock and Espanola. Santa Fe is also the highest state capital in the U.S, at 7,199 feet
above sea level.
Though only encompassing four counties, the region has more than 15 state and national protected areas. Most
notable include Carson National Forest, with some of the best mountain scenery in the Southwest and many big game
animals, El Santuario Church National Historic Landmark, El Vado Lake State Park, offering fishing, boating,
water-skiing and winter cross-country skiing, Glorieta Battlefield National Historic Landmark, Heron Lake State
Park, a picturesque lake set among tall pines, Hyde State Memorial Park, Pecos National Historic Park, which
preserves 12,000 years of history including the ancient pueblo of Pecos, two Spanish Colonial Missions, Santa Fe
Trail sites, and more, Rio Grande Gorge State Park, home to many species of waterfowl and other birds, and the
Santa Fe National Forest. Santa Fe especially is known for its history in the arts, reflecting the multicultural
character of the city. Some attractions include New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts,
Georgia O'Keefe Museum, New Mexico History Museum, Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts, Center for
Contemporary Art, Santa Fe Children's Museum, Museum for International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and
Tourism is a major part of the economy of the county and of Santa Fe, with many visitors attracted to the climate
and outdoor activities, as well as cultural activities offered. Many visitors are especially attracted to Santa
Fe's historic downtown. Santa Fe has been associated with science and technology since 1943 when it served as a
gateway to Los Alamos National Laboratory. The National Center for Genome Resources was founded in 1994, continuing
research in bioscience, computing and mathematics. There are several higher education institutions in the region,
which include University of New Mexico Taos Campus, New Mexico Highlands University, Northern New Mexico College,
Institute of American Indian Arts, St. John's College, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Insight University,
Southwestern College, Southwest Acupuncture College and Santa Fe Community College.
Santa Fe County is located in the southern part of New Mexico's North Central region. It is the third most
populated county in the state. Santa Fe is the largest city, the county seat and the state capital. Espanola is the
only other city, and there is one town and nearly 40 other census-designated places and unincorporated communities.
There are four pueblos located in the county. Protected areas in the county include, Seton Village National
Historic Landmark, Santa Fe National Historic Trail, Glorieta Battlefield National Historic Landmark, Santa Fe
Plaza National Historic Landmark, Hyde Memorial State Park, Santa Fe River State Park, part of El Camino Real de
Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail, part of Pecos National Historic Park and part of Santa Fe National Forest.
There are number of excellent locations for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, golfing and skiing.
Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve features Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. In addition to the numerous unique art museums
in Santa Fe, some other attractions include El Rancho de las Golodrinas, a living history museum dedicated to the
heritage and culture of Spanish Colonial New Mexico, Old Coal Mine Museum, Chimayo History Museum, the Poeh
Gallery, Bataan Memorial Military Museum, dedicated to the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment sent to the Philippine
Islands in World War II, and San Miguel Mission. The county was named as a 2014 Silver Level Ride Center by the
International Mountain Bicycling Association, due to its large-scale mountain bike destinations and a wide range of
trails for every riding style. Santa Fe County and the City of Santa Fe actively promote the outdoor recreation
economy in business recruitment efforts, event sponsorship, tourism and marketing and trail infrastructure
creation/maintenance. Available resources best support the Green Industry, including Energy and Water Conservation
Technology, Arts and Culture, Film/Media, Agriculture and Ecotourism and Outdoor Recreation.
Taos County is located in the northeastern part of New Mexico's North Central region, bordering Colorado to the
north. The Town of Taos is the largest community and the county seat. There is one other town, and nearly 30 other
villages, census-designated places and communities. The county is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The
Summit of Wheeler Peak is the highest point in the county, and the highest natural point in the state. Taos County
has the highest mean elevation of any U.S. county outside of Colorado, and has 17 of New Mexico's 25 highest peaks.
There are several pueblos in the county, including Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo. Fiestas de Taos is an annual
community celebration honoring the feast of the two patron saints of Taos, Santa Ana and Santiago. There are a
number of historic sites which are homes and studios of artists. Other historic sites include Taos Downtown
Historical District, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Governor Charles Bent House, Taos Inn and D.H. Lawrence Ranch,
home of the English novelist in the 1920's. There are several art museums in Taos, many of which provide art from
the Pueblo Native Americans, and the town has more than 80 art galleries and several houses of the Taos Society of
Artists. Taos Valley, Rio Grande and Taos Mountains provide many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including
fly fishing, horseback riding, golfing, hot air ballooning, llama trekking, rafting and mountain biking. There are
also numerous hot springs along the Rio Grande and in the Taos Mountains, and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic
Railroad provides a scenic ride through the Toltec Gorge and Rocky Mountain passes in an authentic narrow-gauge
steam railroad. Taos is a popular location for skiing in the winter, with four ski areas, including Taos Ski
Valley, Red River ski area, Sipapu ski area and Angel Fire ski area. University of New Mexico operates a community
campus in Taos.
Rio Arriba County is located in the northwestern part of New Mexico's North Central region, and borders Colorado to
the north. Espanola is the only city and the community of Tierra Amarilla is the county seat. There is one town,
one village and more than 40 census-designated places and unincorporated communities. Jicarilla Apache Reservation
is partially located in Rio Arriba County. Some points of interest in the county include Abiquiu Lake, a reservoir
offering camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, boating and fishing, the Chama River, a major tributary of the Rio
Grande River, and Puye Cliff Dwellings, featuring ruins of an abandoned pueblo, a National Historic Landmark.
Northern New Mexico College and New Mexico Highlands University are located in the county, in Espanola. Los Alamos
National Laboratory is near the county and is one of the largest employers, accounting for 12% of resident
employment. Espanola Public Schools is the 16th largest school district in the state and is also a large employer.
There are also a number of large retail and restaurant chains in Espanola.