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Recreational areas now available to the public on State Trust Lands

—New Mexico State Land Office website

State Trust Lands are home to some extraordinary landscapes and historic sites. The New Mexico State Land Office invites you to explore these remarkable places:

Mystery Stone

Channel your inner Indiana Jones and visit Mystery Stone, located on State Trust Lands at the base of Hidden Mountain, 16 miles west of Los Lunas. Also known as the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone and Commandments Rock, this eighty-ton boulder of volcanic basalt bears an inscription which is believed to be an abbreviated version of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew.
Mystery Stone was first documented in 1933 by University of New Mexico archaeology professor Frank Hibben. Believers say the carvings could be two-thousand-years old; skeptics call Mystery Stone a hoax. Which are you? Visit and decide for yourself.

Monticello Box

Monticello Canyon, also known as the Monticello Box, is rich in Native American history. Nearly five hundred years ago, Native Americans made their home among the high rock walls and along the meandering Alamosa River. Apache Chief Geronimo hid here from the U.S. Calvary and Chiricahua. Apache leaders Cochise and Victorio passed through frequently.
Today, the Monticello Box is located on State Trust Lands, 25 miles north of Truth or Consequences and is an impressive place to hike, bike, rock climb, or horseback ride.

Moon Mountain

Moon Mountain is located on State Trust Lands within the Village of Ruidoso. The diverse forest of pinon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir provides ample opportunity for recreation and breathtaking views.
In 2016, the Moon Mountain Fire scorched 125 acres but demonstrated the value of active forest management by limiting the fire’s size and severity. In the wake of the fire, flood mitigation work saved Ruidoso High School from being washed away. Amateur biologists and seasoned conservationists alike will find Moon Mountain a stellar example of land management strategies effectively enhancing the ecosystem.

Black Lake

Only six miles from Angel Fire, the secluded mountain setting of Black Lake is the ideal spot to take refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Black Lake offers one of the state’s best mountain bike rides. For those slightly less adventurous, visitors can take a tranquil stroll through a scenic forest of ponderosa pine and aspen. In autumn, view the spectacular fall foliage, or when the snow falls explore this winter wonderland on snowshoes, sleds, or cross-country skis.

Melrose Trap

The North Roosevelt Trap, also known as the Melrose Trap, and locally as Cottonwood Spring, is a popular birding destination 10 miles west of Melrose on the eastern high plains of New Mexico.
The trap consists of about four acres of cottonwood and poplar trees surrounded by a sea of desert shrub and grasslands. The grove, located on State Trust Lands, makes it a classic trap for rare migrants and casual vagrants. During migration, forty to seventy species of birds can be spotted.

Rio Grande Bosque

The Rio Grande Bosque is a recreational treasure, popular among outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The State Land Office owns 240 acres within the Bosque on the east and west side of the Rio Grande, south of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge.
Easily accessible, the area is ideal for hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, and bird-and-wildlife viewing. This parcel also provides a multitude of educational opportunities for children and adults alike.

La Semilla

La Semilla, located on 1,800 acres of State Trust Lands south of Albuquerque, stretches from Isleta Pueblo to the south, the Manzano Mountain and Kirtland Air Force Base to the east, and City of Albuquerque Open Space to the north. These lands together represent a substantial piece of undeveloped plains-mesa grassland—an ecotype that is vanishing rapidly as urban expansion degrades wildlife habitat.
La Semilla serves as a feeding and nesting area for grassland birds, hosts a community of small mammals and reptiles, and functions as both a foraging and movement corridor for migratory species and larger animals such as coyote and black bear.

Sierra Grande

Sierra Grande is an extinct shield volcano that rises 2,200 feet above the plains and boasts 360 degree views from the summit.
Located on State Trust Lands near the community of Des Moines, Sierra Grande is part of the Raton-Clayton volcanic field. Sierra Grande is identified as a shield volcano which is typically built almost entirely of fluid lava flows. They are named for their low profile, resembling a warrior’s shield lying on the ground.

White Peak

Located on State Trust Lands south of the Philmont Scout Ranch, White Peak offers stunning vistas and excellent hiking opportunities in rugged and mountainous terrain. A network of old logging roads serve as hiking trails through grassy meadows and diverse forests of ponderosa pine, aspen, spruce and Douglas fir.
Known as a sportsman’s paradise, White Peak is extremely popular during New Mexico’s hunting season.

Luera Mountains

Get away from it all in the Luera Mountains, located thirty miles south of Datil. This 15-mile long mountain range on State Trust Lands offers hiking, extreme biking, and wildlife viewing.
These mountains are another example of how the State Land Office’s land management strategies are improving the ecosystem. Prescribed burns have restored ponderosa pine stands and pinon-juniper woodlands, and reduced the risk of catastrophic wildfire and associated post-wildfire erosion.

How to do it

To access State Trust Lands you must purchase a recreational access permit from the New Mexico State Land Office. Permits cost $35, are good for up to 10 people, and are valid for one year.
Visit for further information.

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