New Mexico’s 
Best Kept Secret Catron County

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Visit Catron County, New Mexico

Apache National Forest.  

Photo by Linda Aragon


Hunting Camping Horseback Riding Lodging

Catron County is 6929 square miles, larger than Rhode Island, Delaware, or Connecticut. It is New Mexico's largest county.  Catron County has a few red octagonal stop signs, but not a single stop light.


Catron  County is wilderness, wildness of the natural sort.  It's 400 miles of pavement, miles and miles of dirt roads, and even more miles of hiking trails, where you can spend all day and not run into another person.


Catron County is 3725 people, approximately 99.8% of whom are friendly most of the time.  If you want to respect local manners, you wave as you pass by in your car.  There are old timers descended from the original Spanish settlers, more recent old-time ranchers, and people who have newly discovered the wonder of living in Catron County, and bringing with them their talents and interests and insights, enriching the whole community.


Catron County is dark skies and bright stars, a vivid Milky Way you can almost reach out and touch, and city kids (and older folks, too) saying "There can't be that many stars!"

Catron County is people volunteering - to fight fires, run ambulances, work with kids, save resources, and help their neighbor.   It's ranchers and hunters and artists.  It's a big community where your next-door neighbor may live over the hill, too far away to see, but you know dozens of other neighbors from other communities a hundred miles away.


Catron County is 4-H kids raising steers or sheep, swine or goats.  It's the horse-rider teams of a rodeo, and the brotherhood of a basketball tournament.


Catron County is ponderosa forests, and juniper-speckled hillsides.  It's blue spruce growing on cliffs, and delicate wild flowers.  It's hot springs and cold rivers, sparkling lakes and waterfalls and green-growing marshes.



Storm Over Mogollons, by Suzi Ley

Old Cabin near Alma, New Mexico

(Plein Air painting) - Vickie Jo Scott

Catron County is old folks with memories, and Native American ruins hidden away in nooks, and stories of old gun fights that still stir controversy.  It's kids telling scary stories about Saliz Pass at midnight.



Catron County is snow-covered landscapes, soft green hillsides, and colorful falling leaves.  It's watching the dust blow in a bronze sky, and praying for rain.  And then praying for the fire fighters before the rain comes.  It's being cozy by your wood fire when the electricity goes out for a few days.


Catron County is a great place to grow up, a fascinating place to live, a satisfying place to retire.  It's good for a detour or a drive-through on your way to Arizona, or a few days stopover for real rest and relaxation.  It's a soul-filling place to reconnect with nature, or a peaceful place to reconnect with the kids.  It's a place to make new friends, for a weekend or a lifetime.  And it's waiting for your visit.


Catron County is driving slow because there are so many elk out on the roads.  It's white-tailed deer in the forest, antelope on the plains, and javalina running down the arrollos.  It's bear and mountain lions and turkeys.  It's wolves, and people who love wolves and paint them, and people who hate wolves and study their kills.  It's raccoons that eat chickens and gophers that eat potatoes.