Sabinoso Wilderness Area

Sabinoso Wilderness Area featured image

During the day, Sabinoso’s cliffs tower over the juniper woodlands that speckle the region as mountain lions, black bear, and elk roam through untouched piñon pine and grasslands. As the sun goes down over fractured rock ledges, candy-colored hues of purple, pink, and blue paint the setting sky and twinkling stars seem to emerge brighter than ever as city lights can’t dim their brilliance. This is the Sabinoso Wilderness Area, and up until 2017, this space was inaccessible to the public as private property surrounded the area—blocking entrance to this expansive and incredible wonderland that’s only 30 miles east of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Working with New Mexico leadership for over a decade, Trust for Public Land has helped expand the Sabinoso Wilderness Area, doubling the number of wild acres for adventurers to explore. In 2021, we conveyed the 9,855-acre Cañon Ciruela property as an addition to the wilderness area, growing it by nearly 50% as the largest addition to a designated wilderness in U.S. history. Increasing access to the Sabinoso Wilderness Area connects nearby communities to the outdoors and the benefits of nature. Visitors enjoy the scenic views, picturesque sunsets, and new opportunities to hike, observe wildlife, camp, and horseback ride in this largely untouched area. While finding this area can be difficult since it’s off the beaten path, visitors say the challenge is well worth it.