Las Vegas, New Mexico
Things to do Las Vegas, New Mexico
Las Vegas Area Attractions:
- Armand Hammer United World College of the American West
The United World College-USA (or UWC-USA) is a United World College founded in 1982 by industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer. It is a two-year, independent, coeducational boarding school with about 200 students representing 80-90 countries at any time. The vast majority of these students receive full scholarships, being selected by the 124 National Committees that represent the United World Collegesaround the globe.
The school’s mission is to teach international understanding by bringing together young men and women of diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, in an environment in which they must work together for success. In addition to offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, the school has a strong program in the arts and a significant service program, including mountain search and rescue.
Typically, students are between 16 and 19 years old. More:
- Conchas Lake State Park
Conchas Lake State Park offers a wide variety of water sport activities including boating, fishing and water-skiing at this refreshing, 25-mile long reservoir.
One of the state’s largest lakes includes 60 miles of varied shoreline, secluded coves, canyons, and sandy beaches. Ancient rock formations date back to the Age of Dinosaurs. Observant visitors may discover the fossils of ancient sea creatures.
With its ample camping and picnicking facilities, boat ramps, marina, bait and tackle supplies, food services and playgrounds, Conchas offers visitors much. Anglers can catch walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and crappie.
- Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service located north of Watrous, Mora County, New Mexico, USA. The national monument was founded on April 5, 1956.
The site preserves the second of three forts constructed on the site beginning in 1851, as well as the ruins of the third. Also visible is a network of ruts from the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the old Santa Fe Trail.
Santa Fe trader and author William Davis gave his first impression of the fort in the year 1857: “Fort Union, a hundred and ten miles from Santa Fé, is situated in the pleasant valley of the Moro. It is an open post, without either stockades or breastworks of any kind, and, barring the officers and soldiers who are seen about, it has much more the appearance of a quiet frontier village than that of a military station. It is laid out with broad and straight streets crossing each other at right angles. The huts are built of pine logs, obtained from the neighboring mountains, and the quarters of both officers and men wore a neat and comfortable appearance”.
In its forty years (1851-1891) as a frontier post, Fort Union often had to defend itself in the courtroom as well as on the battlefield. When the U.S. Army built Fort Union in the Mora Valley in 1851, the soldiers were unaware that they had encroached on private property, which was part of the Mora Grant. The following year Colonel Edwin V. Sumner expanded the fort to an area of eight square miles by claiming the site as a military reservation. In 1868 President Andrew Johnson went even further to declare a timber reservation encompassing the entire range of the Turkey Mountains and comprising an area of fifty-three square miles, as part of the fort.
The claimants of the Mora Grant immediately challenged the government squatters and took the case to court. By the mid-1850s the case reached Congress. In the next two decades the government did not give any favorable decision to the claimants, until 1876 when the Surveyor-General of New Mexico reported that Fort Union was “no doubt” located in the Mora Grant. But the army was unwilling to move to another place or to compensate the claimants because of the cost. Thus, the Secretary of War took “a prudential measure,” protesting the decision of the acting commissioner of the General Land Office. He argued that the military had improved the area and should not give it up without compensation. This stalling tactic worked; the army stayed at the fort until its demise in 1891, not paying a single penny to legitimate owners.
Take the self-guided walking tour complete with push-button narrations at each stop to learn about life at this frontier outpost during the early days of American settlement of the West. As a key stopover point for travelers along the Old Santa Fe Trail, Fort Union was witness to countless expeditions, Indian raids, and commercial gatherings during its short but storied existence.
- Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge
Situated on the Great Plains where the prairie meets the Rocky Mountains, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is made up of native grasslands, croplands, marshes, ponds, timbered canyons and streams that provide habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal life.
Las Vegas (Spanish for the meadow) is as rich in history as New Mexico itself. Native Americans used the area for hunting, camping, and picking wild fruit. Coronado’s journey into the southwest brought a Spanish influence and culture that is as prevalent today as it was 300 years ago. The rock corrals and division fences of the small “ranchitos” that dotted this country during that era can still be seen on the Refuge.
The Continental Divide lies west of the refuge and the Chihuahuan desert lies to the south. The influence from both of these natural features contributes to a wide variety of plant and animal life present on the refuge year round.
Because the refuge is within the Central Flyway, a variety of migratory birds use the area including sandhill cranes, long-billed curlews, rough-legged hawks, and numerous shorebirds. Winter residents include bald eagles, Canada and snow geese, and 21 species of ducks. Other wildlife common to the area include golden eagle, prairie falcon, mule deer, antelope, badger, coyote, and bobcat. Byways
- McAllister Lake
The refuge contains a number of lakes used by wintering waterfowl. The refuge offices are open on weekdays so stop at the refuge headquarters (3) for a map. The tour route through part of the refuge is open in the fall only. NM281 is open year round as is the dirt road behind McAllister Lake and by Brown’s Marsh. McAllister Lake (6) is owned by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. The area is open for boating, fishing, and camping in the spring, summer, and fall, but is closed in the winter. If the area is open, a dirt road leads around the bottom and up the west side.
Directions: Seven Miles SE of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Take the University Exit from I-25 (the middle exit) for Las Vegas. Turn east (toward Tucumcari) on NM 104. After 1.5 miles turn sourh on NM281 and follow it to the refuge. boatingwaters lake mcallister
- Montezuma Hot Springs
A collection of hot springs bubbling out of the side of a hill, feeding a variety of rock and cement tubs. Though the springs were originally used by the historic Montezuma Castle Resort, they are now accessible to the public. Three groupings of hot springs has been diverted into rather rustic cement and rock pools and tubs along the side of the road in the small community of Montezuma. Originally the numerous indoor hot-spring pools were operated by Montezuma Castle and several other resorts. Though most of the bathhouses are gone now, and the hot springs are out in the open – they have been kept rather clean, and bathers tend to be orderly becausethe owners, the United World College, maintain stringent regulations for using the tubs. Pools and tubs range in size and temperature, and with a little experimenting, you can find the perfect soak.
Directions: From Las Vegas, NM go approx. 6 miles northwest on NM 65. Watch for signs on the right side of the road near the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West
- Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park preserves 12,000 years of history including the ancient pueblo of Pecos, two Spanish Colonial missions, Santa Fe Trail sites, 20th century ranch history of Forked Lightning Ranch, and the site of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass. The visitor center contains exhibits (text in English and Spanish), book sales and 10-minute introductory film available in English. The park has a one and a quarter mile, self-guided trail through Pecos Pueblo and mission ruins. Guided tours available to groups with advance reservations. Tours of the Glorieta Battlefield are also available with advance reservations. Reservations for school groups and tour groups should be made two weeks before visit. Summer program includes weekend cultural demonstrations. There are lovely picnic grounds near the mission ruins.
Pecos National Historical Park
P.O. Box 418
Pecos, NM 87552
Phone: (505) 757-6414×1
- Rough Riders Memorial and City Museum
Housed in a 1940’s era Works Project Administration (WPA) building, the city of Las Vegas manages a collection of Rough Riders memorabilia and artifacts belonging to Northern New Mexico’s territorial history and regional culture.These include household items, costumes, weapons, ranching gear, tools and furniture dating from the late 1800’s. You’ll also find books, newspapers, maps and historic photographs of the era when the coming of the railroad displaced agriculture as the primary industry and brought an influx of Anglos to this Hispanic farming community.
City of Las Vegas Museum/Rough Rider Memorial Collection
727 Grand Avenue
Las Vegas, NM 87701
Phone (505)454-1401 ext. 283
- Santa Fe National Forest & Pecos Wilderness Area
The Santa Fe National Forest has over 300,000 acres of wilderness areas within its boundaries.
Storrie Lake State’s Park’s serene waters are open for fishing year-round. Storrie Lake boasts consistent winds that provide excellent conditions for sailing and windsurfing.
With the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway in 1879, Las Vegas and the surrounding area became a hangout of some the shadiest characters of the Old West, including Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp. The visitor center features historical exhibits about the Santa Fe Trail and 19th century.
The bird watching is outstanding—geese and ducks flock to the lake during seasonal migrations. Follow walking-trails through sagebrush-covered landscape spotted with cactus, yucca and wildflowers.
Storrie Lake State Park
HC33, Box 109#2
Las Vegas, NM 87701
Phone: (505) 425-7278
Nestled between high red sandstone bluffs along the Pecos River, near the picturesque Spanish Colonial village of Villanueva, lies Villanueva State Park. Villanueva State Park is a charming riverside park situated in a canyon of red and yellow sandstone cliffs. Towering cottonwoods and a variety of other native trees and shrubs add additional color to the landscape.
The park’s adobe-style picnic shelters are designed and grouped to resemble a Spanish hamlet, similar to those that existed in the area in earlier times. A footbridge gives hikers access to trails leading to other sites in the park, including a prehistoric Indian ruin and a cliff-top vantage point.
Links From Our Town
Las Vegas/San Miguel Wireless Internet Provider and Local Web Portal
High Speed Wireless Internet
- Visit our historic hotel
- Check out our Economic Development Corporation!
- Peruse our Arts Council
- Read our newspaper online
- Get more info at our City Website
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