Las Vegas, NM: Gateway to the Sabinoso Wilderness

By: City of Las Vegas, NM
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Las Vegas - New Mexico - US


LAS VEGAS, N.M. - Nov. 17, 2017 - PRLog -- The Sabinoso, a high-desert jewel containing narrow mesas, wind-carved canyons, meadows, riparian areas, and a variety of wildlife and native vegetation, was designated a wilderness area by Congress in 2009 but has been inaccessible to the public.

The Sabinoso was inaccessible when it received its wilderness designation, effectively isolated from public access  by private ranches. But in 2015, the Wilderness Land Trust acquired the Rimrock Rose Ranch, a ranch bordering the Sabinoso,  and began the hard work of creating the infrastructure needed for public access. That work is now complete.

With the opening of the wilderness to the public, there are abundant opportunities for sightseeing, backpacking, horseback riding, bird-watching, hunting, nature photography and more.

Las Vegas, NM, a historic tourist destination nestled in the ecotone of the Great Plains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is the closest city to the Sabinoso wilderness.

"The Sabinoso Wilderness is a landmark of national importance" said Las Vegas' Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón, "and we believe it will attract visitors from around the globe. Our community provides a convenient, welcoming and historic point of departure for the Sabinoso and many other scenic natural attractions, from Hermit's Peak to the Cimarron Canyon. We have an abundance of dining and shopping opportunities, as well as a selection of both historic and modern hotels, making Las Vegas a great base of operations for those looking to explore the area."

The opening of the Sabinoso Wilderness to public access is the latest step forward for local ecotourism, which is positioned to be a growth industry for Las Vegas and the surrounding area.

Local sportsman and conservation activist Max Trujillo has worked on many public land conservation initiatives, and assisted in the ranch purchase which made access to the Sabino Wilderness possible.

"I have seen surrounding communities uptick in economic growth, and people benefit," Trujillo said. "Rio Grande del Norte is a prime example. Lodgers Tax and gross receipts are up, it sustains jobs and gives us a place to experience nature, all good for the community and the local economy."

Ecotourism is travel to an area for the purpose of engaging both with local habitat and local culture.  It often  incorporates an educational and interpretive component, which is to say, visitors don't just see the sights, they are taught about the local environment and the past and present of the land-based culture which that environment nurtures.

Arturo Sandoval, founder and president of the Center of Southwest Culture, and Rock Ulibarri, a county commissioner and teacher, have joined forces to establish an ecotourism cooperative in the Gallinas Canyon near Las Vegas, NM..

The Gallinas Cultural Tourism Cooperative  will acquaint visitors with the natural beauty of northeastern New Mexico and the unique expressions of the region's traditional culture. It will also provide income opportunities for local artists, musicians, craftspeople, chefs and guides.

The Cooperative was formally incorporated in August, and the organization's operational launch is scheduled for the summer of 2018. Commissioner Ulibarri said that the group is already busy GPS mapping local trails in preparation for next year's launch.

For more information about the Gallinas Cultural Tourism Cooperative, call (505) 247-2729, or email

To get to the Sabinoso wilderness area, take State Route 104 east from Las Vegas, NM. Drive 32 miles to the village of Trujillo, where you will turn left onto County Road C51A. Drive seven miles, following the signs, turn left at the "Y,"  and continue another three miles north to the parking area.

To learn about  other Las Vegas, NM tourism opportunities, go to

Lee Einer, PIO
City of Las Vegas, NM
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Tags:Recreation, Tourism, Outdoors
Location:Las Vegas - New Mexico - United States
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