Abandoned places in New Mexico provide a glimpse into the rich tapestry of history that has shaped the state. From the ruins of ancient Native American pueblos to remnants of the Old West and deserted mining towns, New Mexico’s abandoned places bear witness to the cultural, economic, and natural forces that have defined the Land of Enchantment.
The state’s vast landscapes and open skies are a treasure trove for urban explorers and history enthusiasts who seek the thrill of discovering forgotten places and learning about the past.
Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned places in New Mexico are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Breakdown: The Top 10 and More
If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in New Mexico location.
Broaden Your Horizons Beyond New Mexico
Are you interested in venturing outside the state of New Mexico? Maybe you live close to the state line, or maybe you’re just looking for adventures outside your home state. Whatever the case may be, here are some guides to bordering states that may be helpful in effective urban exploration:
Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws
It is important when considering abandoned places in New Mexico to know the basics of New Mexico trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to New Mexico, please click here.
Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list of abandoned places!
The Best Abandoned Places in New Mexico
Elizabethtown (near Eagle Nest)
In the northern reaches of New Mexico, tucked away in the Moreno Valley near the town of Eagle Nest, lies Elizabethtown—often referred to as E-town—a once-thriving mining settlement now reduced to a ghost town. It’s a place steeped in history and folklore, a stark reminder of the American West’s booming mining era and its cyclical nature of boom and bust.
Founded in 1866, Elizabethtown sprang to life following the discovery of gold on the slopes of nearby Baldy Mountain. It was named after the wife of the first settler, Captain William H. Moore’s daughter, Elizabeth Catherine Moore. Almost overnight, prospectors and settlers flooded into the town, seeking fortune and a new life. At its peak, Elizabethtown housed approximately 7,000 residents, making it the first incorporated town in New Mexico.
The town itself was a picture of vibrancy and prosperity. A well-appointed main street boasted saloons, hotels, a mercantile, blacksmith, post office, and even a newspaper called the “Elizabethtown Lantern”. Life was far from easy in this rugged frontier settlement, but the promise of gold brought people together in the hopes of a prosperous future.
Adding to its charm is the infamous lore of the area, with stories of lawlessness, notorious outlaws, and wild west showdowns, including characters like Clay Allison, known for his unpredictable violence and participation in the Colfax County War.
But the fortunes of Elizabethtown were as fleeting as the gold it was built upon. The precious metal veins eventually began to thin out, and by 1875, many of the miners had left, seeking richer prospects elsewhere. Devastating fires, harsh weather, and economic depression further drove residents away. By the early 20th century, Elizabethtown had been all but abandoned, left to the elements and the passage of time.
How Things Look Now
Today, what remains of Elizabethtown paints a hauntingly beautiful portrait of a forgotten era. A handful of structures still stand, many mere skeletons of their former selves, while others have been restored as part of the Elizabethtown Museum.
The old Mutz Hotel, once a bustling center of activity, now stands as a poignant reminder of the town’s vibrant past. Its weathered wooden facade, boarded windows, and aging timbers speak volumes about the countless stories and forgotten lives that once intertwined within its walls.
Nearby, the remnants of the old stone and adobe dwellings, their structures eroded by the harsh New Mexico weather, bear silent testimony to the families that once called Elizabethtown home. Even the old cemetery, situated on a windswept hill overlooking the town, tells a tale of the hardships faced by the early settlers, its tombstones whispering names and dates of those who lived and died in the pursuit of the American dream.
The landscape surrounding Elizabethtown, with its vast open skies, rugged peaks, and sweeping valleys, adds to the town’s undeniable allure. Nature has slowly reclaimed much of the town, with grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers softening the harsh outlines of the crumbling structures.
Visiting Elizabethtown is like stepping back in time. The echo of pickaxes striking stone, the laughter and conversation spilling from the saloon, and the crackle of a lively campfire under the vast New Mexican sky, all seem to linger in the air, carried on the wind that sweeps across the abandoned settlement.
Elizabethtown is a ghost town, yes, but it is not a forgotten place. Rather, it stands as a testament to the human spirit, to the dreams and determination of those who dared to forge a life in this rugged and beautiful landscape, and to the enduring allure of the American West.
Fort Bayard (near Silver City)
Standing as a quiet testament to New Mexico’s past, Fort Bayard, located near Silver City, offers a captivating glance into the history of the American West. A former United States Army post, the fort was established in 1866 to protect miners and other settlers in the region from Apache attacks during the Apache Wars. It was named after Brigadier General George Dashiell Bayard, who was mortally wounded in the Civil War.
Set against the backdrop of the stunning Pinos Altos mountain range, the fort itself was meticulously planned and constructed. Soldiers and civilian employees lived in military-style quarters arranged around a central parade ground, providing a sense of order and discipline in the otherwise wild, western landscape. Over time, the post grew to include officers’ quarters, barracks for enlisted men, a hospital, a school, a chapel, and various administrative buildings.
Fort Bayard was home to various African American units, also known as Buffalo Soldiers. These troops played a significant role in the Apache Wars and contributed to the fort’s military success. The infamous Apache leader Geronimo’s surrender in 1886 marked the end of the Apache Wars, and by the turn of the 20th century, Fort Bayard had served its military purpose.
Following the wars, the fort took on a new role as a medical facility. In 1899, it became a military hospital, one of the first to treat soldiers with tuberculosis. The dry, arid climate of New Mexico made it an ideal location for such treatments. Later, in 1922, the facility was transferred to the Public Health Service and it continued to operate as a hospital until 1965.
After decades of service, the facility was repurposed again, this time as a state-run nursing home and veterans center. However, in 2010, the center was moved to a new location, leaving the original Fort Bayard site largely abandoned.
How Things Look Now
Today, the once-bustling Fort Bayard stands largely silent, but its rich history is still evident in its remaining structures. A number of the original buildings stand intact, including the commanding officer’s quarters, hospital, nurses’ quarters, and several officers’ houses. These structures are built in the Colonial Revival style, lending a sense of elegance to this remote outpost.
Nature, too, has reclaimed parts of Fort Bayard. Overgrown grasses and trees frame the abandoned structures, and local wildlife often roams through the former parade grounds. The fort’s cemetery is another poignant reminder of the past, home to many military graves from different periods in the fort’s history.
Despite its deserted state, Fort Bayard remains a powerful symbol of New Mexico’s historical tapestry. It bears silent witness to the conflicts that shaped the American West, the bravery of the troops that manned this remote outpost, the fortitude of the medical professionals who worked to combat disease, and the patients who sought hope and healing in its facilities.
As a historical site, Fort Bayard invites its visitors to reflect on the passage of time and the stories that shaped this unique corner of the American Southwest. Walking around the grounds, one can almost hear the bugle calls, the footsteps of soldiers on the parade ground, the quiet murmur of medical wards, and perhaps, if the wind is just right, the distant echoes of Apache war cries from a bygone era.
Now a National Historic Landmark, Fort Bayard is a place of remembrance, a monument to the courage and resilience of those who lived and died within its walls, and an enduring testament to a vital chapter of American history.
Dawson Cemetery (Dawson)
Situated in northeastern New Mexico, near the town of Cimarron, lies the haunting relic of Dawson Cemetery – the only remaining vestige of what once was the thriving coal mining town of Dawson.
Founded in 1901 by the Dawson Fuel Company, the town witnessed two of the deadliest mining disasters in American history in 1913 and 1923, respectively. The chilling presence of the Dawson Cemetery offers a silent, solemn tribute to those who lost their lives in the pursuit of coal.
Surrounded by the windswept plains and mesas of the New Mexico landscape, the cemetery appears startlingly isolated, conveying an eerie tranquility that belies its tragic history. The neatly arranged rows of identical white iron crosses starkly contrast with the rugged natural beauty of the surrounding environment. Each cross marks the final resting place of a miner who perished in one of the two disasters.
The first disaster occurred on October 22, 1913, when a dynamite explosion in Stag Canon No. 2 mine resulted in the tragic loss of 263 miners. The majority of these men were recent immigrants from countries such as Greece, Italy, and Mexico, who had come to Dawson in search of a new life and opportunities in America.
Ten years later, on February 8, 1923, an unfortunate rerun of history took place when another explosion in Stag Canon No. 1 mine took the lives of 123 men. The twin tragedies brought overwhelming grief to the small mining town.
The crosses in Dawson Cemetery, each bearing the name and lifespan of a miner, serve as a chilling reminder of the harsh realities of early 20th-century coal mining. The cemetery itself is impeccably maintained, thanks to the Phelps Dodge Corporation (which purchased the Dawson mines in 1906) and the local community.
However, outside the bounds of the cemetery, the echoes of the past grow fainter. The bustling, prosperous town of Dawson, which once boasted modern amenities such as electricity, a hospital, a theater, and a bowling alley, is no more.
After the mines closed in 1950 due to declining demand for coal, the town was quickly abandoned. The houses, the mine buildings, and the remnants of everyday life were sold off or razed, leaving behind only the silent white crosses standing sentinel over the prairie.
How Things Look Now
Despite its stark appearance, the Dawson Cemetery offers a poignant connection to the past. Walking among the rows of crosses, visitors can’t help but be moved by the magnitude of loss, each cross telling a silent tale of a life abruptly ended, dreams unfulfilled, families torn apart. Yet, amidst the sorrow, there is also a story of resilience and a community’s determination to remember and honor its fallen.
The Dawson Cemetery, in its quiet and somber beauty, stands as a testament to the human costs of industrial progress. It symbolizes a shared history of hardship, risk, and sacrifice, capturing a crucial chapter in New Mexico’s and America’s mining past. For those who visit, it is a place for reflection and remembrance, a stark reminder of the often overlooked human elements intertwined with the nation’s industrial growth.
Cuervo (Guadalupe County)
Situated off the beaten path of Route 66, in the sparse expanses of Guadalupe County, lies the nearly forgotten ghost town of Cuervo, New Mexico. Once a flourishing hub that came to life with the advent of the railroad and later the highway, Cuervo has been reduced to a haunting relic of the American West, filled with decaying homes, empty streets, and an eerie silence that speaks of a past full of life and prosperity.
The story of Cuervo began in the late 19th century with the expansion of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Homesteaders were attracted to this rural outpost by the prospect of fertile land and the opportunities offered by the railroad. The town grew, and by the early 20th century, Cuervo had a healthy population, fueled by ranching, farming, and railway-related jobs.
The advent of Route 66 in the 1920s breathed new life into the community. Cuervo became a thriving roadside stop, complete with gas stations, motels, and cafes catering to the increasing number of travelers seeking to experience the romance of the open road. The town was thriving, its streets buzzing with life and the promise of the American dream.
However, Cuervo’s prosperity was not to last. The decline began in the 1950s with the re-routing of Route 66. The new alignment bypassed the town, steering the vital stream of traffic – and the commerce it brought with it – away from Cuervo. This, coupled with the decline in railway jobs, led to a slow but steady exodus as residents left in search of better opportunities.
How Things Look Now
Today, the ghost town of Cuervo stands as a stark reminder of the rise and fall of small-town America in the face of progress and change. The town, partially visible from the interstate, is a sprawling landscape of abandonment and decay.
The once lively Main Street is now a deserted stretch, flanked by crumbling buildings and homes. The skeleton of the church, its walls still adorned with traces of decorative moldings, bears silent testimony to a community that once was.
Many of the houses seem frozen in time, with dilapidated structures sheltering the remnants of everyday life – rusted appliances, decaying furniture, and walls adorned with peeling wallpaper. A stroll down the desolate streets is a haunting journey into the past, each abandoned home a page from a forgotten chapter of American history.
Vegetation reclaims deserted homesteads, a testament to nature’s indefatigable resilience, while rusted vehicles and dilapidated outbuildings are scattered about, adding to the post-apocalyptic ambience of the town.
Cuervo, in its eerie silence and atmospheric decay, offers a poignant glimpse into the past. It stands as a symbol of a bygone era, a monument to the relentless march of progress and the shifting fortunes of small towns in its wake. For the intrepid explorer, Cuervo offers a unique opportunity to walk the quiet streets and explore the decaying remnants of a town that time, and the world, seems to have forgotten.
Lake Valley (Sierra County)
The ghost town of Lake Valley, nestled amidst the starkly beautiful landscapes of Sierra County, New Mexico, bears testimony to the vibrant ebb and flow of the American West’s mining history. Once a thriving center of silver mining, Lake Valley is now a hauntingly quiet collection of derelict buildings and lonely ruins, where only the whispers of the past breathe life into the desolate surroundings.
Lake Valley’s tale began in 1878 when a significant lode of silver was discovered. The news of this discovery traveled fast, resulting in a silver rush that brought miners, prospectors, and settlers flocking to this otherwise desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert.
The settlement grew rapidly and at its peak, Lake Valley boasted about 4,000 residents and was a bustling center with saloons, hotels, a schoolhouse, and other establishments indicative of a thriving community.
The mining operation was anchored by the Bridal Chamber, a cavernous stope that yielded high-grade silver ore. In fact, one of the most prolific silver strikes in the region, a single piece of nearly pure silver weighing almost 2.5 tons, was extracted from the Bridal Chamber. This event brought fortune to the town and contributed significantly to its prosperity.
However, like many mining towns, Lake Valley’s prosperity was short-lived. By the late 1890s, the silver deposits started to dwindle, and by the early 20th century, the mines were largely exhausted. The death knell for Lake Valley was the collapse of silver prices in the 1890s, which led to the closure of the mines. The population started to dwindle as people moved away in search of better prospects.
Several attempts were made to revive mining in Lake Valley in the 20th century, but none proved successful. The town was effectively deserted by the 1990s. In 2008, the Bureau of Land Management acquired the townsite and began efforts to preserve it as a historical site.
How Things Look Now
Today, Lake Valley is a silent testament to a tumultuous past. The ghost town is home to a small collection of buildings that have survived the ravages of time. The schoolhouse, restored to its former glory, stands in stark contrast to the skeletal remains of other structures like the miner’s quarters and the chapel.
A walk through the deserted streets and among the dilapidated buildings is like stepping back in time, offering a unique window into the life and times of a mining community in the Old West.
One of the most prominent reminders of the town’s vibrant past is the old assay office, where the richness of the silver ore was evaluated. While it stands in ruin today, one can still envision the flurry of activity it once saw, with prospectors bringing in their precious ore to be assessed.
The cemetery on the outskirts of town, with its weathered gravestones, serves as a poignant reminder of the hardships and perils faced by the pioneers who called Lake Valley home. It’s a silent testament to the lives lived and lost in this remote outpost in the pursuit of dreams and prosperity.
As you traverse the lonely, wind-swept streets of Lake Valley today, you can almost hear the echoes of laughter, spirited conversations, and the clanging of mining tools, all now replaced with an eerie quietude. The ghost town stands as a melancholic tribute to the once-vibrant community of miners, their families, and the many dreams that were built and lost amidst the rugged mountains and vast deserts of New Mexico.
Ancho (Lincoln County)
Ancho, located in Lincoln County, New Mexico, was once a bustling railroad and ranching town. Today, it’s a stark and evocative ghost town, with only the skeletal remains of its past life to bear witness to its history.
Ancho’s roots trace back to the late 19th century. The town was established around 1901 when the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad was constructing a line from El Paso, Texas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This new transport link brought a wave of hopeful settlers, and Ancho grew into a busy ranching community, supported by the railroad and its associated industries.
The town was named Ancho after the Spanish word for “wide,” which is thought to describe the vast, open plains of the surrounding landscape. Its prime location and the accessibility provided by the railroad attracted a diverse population, making Ancho a dynamic hub for the cattle and sheep ranching industries. At its peak, the town hosted a school, post office, hotel, depot, and several stores and residences.
However, Ancho’s prosperity began to wane in the mid-20th century. As railroad traffic decreased with the advent of the interstate highway system, the town’s economic vitality dwindled. The ranching industry also faced challenges due to changing market conditions and overgrazing issues. Residents started to leave Ancho in search of more prosperous opportunities, and by the late 20th century, Ancho was largely abandoned.
How Things Look Now
Today, Ancho’s eerily quiet streets and decaying buildings provide a haunting glimpse into its bygone era. The town’s most iconic structure is the old schoolhouse, a sturdy, two-story building that has somehow weathered the test of time. Although its windows are broken and its facade is battered by the elements, the schoolhouse still stands as a silent reminder of the town’s livelier days.
The remnants of the railway depot and several houses and commercial buildings also remain, their dilapidated facades and empty windows creating an eerie, post-apocalyptic landscape. The town’s buildings, made from local stone and timber, are slowly being reclaimed by nature, giving Ancho an air of poignant, rustic beauty.
The town’s small cemetery, located on a windswept hill overlooking the ghost town, is another poignant reminder of the lives once lived here. The faded tombstones, some barely legible, bear testament to the settlers who lived, worked, and ultimately passed away in this remote corner of New Mexico.
Ancho’s deserted landscape, with its slowly decaying structures set against the backdrop of the rugged New Mexico landscape, offers a powerful testament to the cyclical nature of frontier towns in the American West. The ghost town stands as a poignant reminder of a time when the roar of the railway and the bustle of ranching life echoed through these now desolate streets, providing a unique window into the region’s vibrant past.
Santa Fe Penitentiary (Santa Fe)
The Old Santa Fe Penitentiary, also known as the “Old Main,” is a relic of New Mexico’s past located in the state capital of Santa Fe. Once a bustling institution, this now-defunct prison stands as a haunting symbol of the state’s penal history and a chilling reminder of the notorious riot that took place within its walls in 1980.
The prison was established in the late 19th century, opening its doors in 1885. It was originally designed to house up to 800 inmates and was a sprawling complex with numerous buildings including cellblocks, workshops, a hospital, a chapel, and a dining hall. With its sturdy, fortress-like design and spacious grounds, the penitentiary was considered a state-of-the-art facility at the time.
Over the years, however, the prison became increasingly overcrowded, a factor that contributed to the growing tension among the inmate population. Living conditions worsened and the penitentiary was criticized for its inhumane treatment of inmates.
The situation reached a boiling point in February 1980 when one of the deadliest prison riots in U.S. history erupted at the facility. Over a span of 36 hours, inmates took control of the prison, causing widespread destruction and tragically, the death of 33 inmates, with many more injured. The riot, now referred to as the “1980 New Mexico State Penitentiary Riot,” shocked the nation and led to significant reforms in the state’s prison system.
Following the riot, the Santa Fe Penitentiary remained operational for several years but was eventually closed in 1998. The newer facilities that replaced it were designed to address the overcrowding and poor conditions that had plagued the Old Main.
How Things Look Now
Today, the Old Santa Fe Penitentiary stands empty and largely abandoned. The decaying cellblocks, abandoned guard towers, and desolate prison yard offer a chilling atmosphere, with echoes of the past seemingly imprinted on the very walls of the institution.
Inside the cellblocks, faded graffiti, peeling paint, and abandoned personal effects of the prisoners can still be found, providing a stark and poignant glimpse into the daily lives and struggles of the inmates who once called this place home. In the prison yard, the outlines of the recreational areas and pathways are still visible, a silent testament to the prison’s once bustling, albeit tense, environment.
While the prison remains abandoned, it has found a new life in recent years as a location for film and television productions, adding another layer to its multifaceted history. The Santa Fe Penitentiary has been featured in various movies, including “The Longest Yard” and “All the Pretty Horses,” among others.
Visitors to the site can take guided tours that delve into the complex and often grim history of the institution. From the eerie quiet of the cellblocks to the solemn memorial that pays tribute to the lives lost in the 1980 riot, the Old Santa Fe Penitentiary serves as a poignant reminder of the darker aspects of the state’s penal history.
Its haunting presence continues to captivate those interested in the intertwining threads of history, justice, and the human condition.
Gilman Tunnels (near Jemez Springs)
Nestled amidst the rugged terrain of New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains, the Gilman Tunnels are a pair of abandoned transport relics from the early 20th century. Their weathered entrances stand as silent guardians in the deep, narrow canyon of Guadalupe Box, flanked by the wild beauty of a landscape characterized by towering cliffs and the sparkling waters of the Rio Guadalupe.
The Gilman Tunnels were not originally intended for road traffic but were created as part of the Santa Fe Northwestern Railway (SFNW) in the 1920s. This railway was developed primarily to facilitate the transportation of timber from the Jemez Mountains to a sawmill in Gilman, a now-defunct logging town after which the tunnels were named.
The railway also carried livestock, freight, and a few passengers, serving as a vital connection for the region’s isolated communities and industries.
Engineers faced a daunting task constructing these tunnels. The sheer, rugged walls of the Guadalupe Box posed a significant challenge. Nonetheless, the two tunnels were successfully carved straight into the solid rock. The larger of the two measures approximately 450 feet in length, while the smaller one is around 165 feet long.
Once buzzing with the sounds of powerful steam locomotives, the roar of the river, and the clatter of timber-loaded wagons, the tunnels are now eerily silent, save for the echoes of passing vehicles and the whispering breeze.
In the mid-20th century, the railway ceased operations, and the tracks were subsequently removed. The tunnels didn’t stand abandoned for long, however, as they were incorporated into State Route 485. This transition has allowed the Gilman Tunnels to continue serving a vital role in connecting the region, this time for motorists rather than trains.
How Things Look Now
Today, driving through the tunnels is like traveling back in time. Their rough-hewn walls, darkened by the passage of time and countless vehicles, frame views of the spectacular canyon outside. The ride through these historic passages is short, but the mix of human engineering and nature’s grandeur leaves a lasting impression.
Outside the tunnels, the splendor of the surrounding landscape unfolds. The Rio Guadalupe winds its way along the base of the canyon, its banks lined with cottonwood and willow trees. Above, the cliffs rise stark and majestic, their layered rock faces offering a geological snapshot of the region’s ancient past.
The Gilman Tunnels and the surrounding area have also been used as a filming location, most notably in a few episodes of the popular television series “Breaking Bad” and its prequel, “Better Call Saul,” adding yet another layer to the tunnels’ rich history.
While no longer serving their original purpose, the Gilman Tunnels are far from forgotten. They stand as a testament to the ingenuity of past generations, seamlessly incorporated into the rugged beauty of the Jemez Mountains. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or just passing through, the Gilman Tunnels offer a unique and memorable experience.
Shrine To The Perfect Man (Columbus)
In the small town of Columbus in Luna County, New Mexico, there stands a distinctive and abandoned shrine, known as the “Shrine to the Perfect Man”. This curious edifice, although decayed and forlorn in its current state, has a profound history tied to an eccentric spiritual movement of the early 20th century.
Constructed in 1927 by followers of a mystical society known as the “Mysterious Order of the Veiled Prophets,” the shrine was dedicated to their enigmatic leader, a figure they revered as the “Perfect Man.” This leader, whose true identity remains shrouded in mystery, was believed to have achieved an elevated state of spiritual enlightenment that his followers aspired to attain.
The Shrine to the Perfect Man was constructed on a hill overlooking the town of Columbus. The structure itself is a testament to the unique beliefs of its creators. Constructed primarily of adobe, the shrine takes the form of a semi-circular structure reminiscent of an amphitheater or an open-air temple.
The design reflects the aesthetic common to the region, blending in with the arid, southwestern landscape, yet still managing to exude an aura of otherworldliness that sets it apart.
From a distance, the shrine appears almost as a natural feature, blending with the undulating hills and rugged terrain. Up close, however, its man-made origins become clear. Crumbling walls reveal the weathered adobe bricks, bearing the tell-tale marks of human craftsmanship. Although time and the elements have eroded the structure, there remains an enduring solidity to the shrine that hints at its former grandeur.
The center of the shrine once held a large stone pillar, thought to symbolize the “Perfect Man.” Unfortunately, this pillar has long since fallen, leaving behind a vacant space that seems to echo the absence of the revered figure. Even in its diminished state, however, the shrine still holds a sense of solemnity and reverence.
How Things Look Now
Surrounding the shrine, the landscape is dominated by the harsh beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert. Scrubby mesquite and yucca dot the sandy terrain, and the sky stretches out in an endless, brilliant canopy. This remote and stark setting serves to enhance the aura of mystical solitude that surrounds the shrine.
Although the Shrine to the Perfect Man stands silent and abandoned today, the remnants of this unusual structure tell a compelling story. It is a testament to a group of spiritual seekers, led by a charismatic and enigmatic leader, who sought enlightenment in the harsh landscape of New Mexico. It’s a monument to human faith, endurance, and the enduring quest for spiritual perfection.
Despite the inevitable toll of time, the Shrine to the Perfect Man continues to hold a certain allure. Its unique history and atmospheric location make it a compelling destination for historians, explorers, and those intrigued by the mysteries of the past.
As the sun sets over the New Mexican desert, casting long shadows over the weathered shrine, one can’t help but feel a connection to the spiritual seekers who once revered this spot and the “Perfect Man” they believed to have found.
Percha Creek Bridge (Hillsboro)
The Percha Creek Bridge, situated near the small village of Hillsboro in Sierra County, New Mexico, carries an air of quiet elegance and historical significance. This now-abandoned structure was a part of the daily life of the area’s residents, and its fading presence serves as a testament to the region’s past.
The bridge, also known as Hillsboro Bridge, was constructed in 1925 during the time when automotive transportation was just beginning to flourish. It was designed in a Parker through truss style, a common design for bridges in that era, named after engineer Charles H. Parker. This style is recognizable by its gradually curving upper chord that adds both structural strength and a distinctive aesthetic appeal.
The Percha Creek Bridge spans approximately 150 feet across the sparkling waters of Percha Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande. This body of water is known for its occasional flash floods, making the presence of a durable bridge essential for the transportation needs of the local population.
In its prime, the bridge was a vital artery, supporting the passage of people, goods, and services to the community. The bridge connected Hillsboro with the broader network of New Mexico, facilitating commerce and enabling the easy movement of residents.
However, as time marched on, the Percha Creek Bridge was deemed insufficient for modern traffic demands. Its narrow width and weight limitations became increasingly problematic, leading to the construction of a new, more suitable bridge nearby. As the new bridge took over, the Percha Creek Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and was ultimately abandoned.
How Things Look Now
Despite its functional obsolescence, the Percha Creek Bridge remains an architectural gem. Its steel truss framework stands against the backdrop of the beautiful New Mexican landscape, an unyielding symbol of early 20th-century engineering. The structure has weathered the harsh southwestern sun, sporadic floods, and the relentless passage of time, but still maintains its proud stature, a lasting monument to the past.
The bridge’s rusty patina, peeling paint, and weather-beaten planks are marks of its age and abandonment, but they also contribute to its undeniable character. Walking across it, one can almost hear the echo of past conversations, the rumble of old vehicles, and the steady rhythm of life from a bygone era.
Its current state of dignified decay has made it a point of interest for historians, photographers, and explorers alike. It’s a site of serene beauty where the natural landscape intertwines with human-made history. The bridge’s skeletal truss silhouette is often framed by the changing colors of the southwestern sky, creating a unique and picturesque scene.
In summary, the Percha Creek Bridge, with its weathered charm and historical significance, is a fascinating representation of New Mexico’s past. Though it stands abandoned and silent now, it continues to be a symbol of the region’s cultural heritage and the relentless passage of time. As it overlooks the tranquil flow of Percha Creek, the bridge remains a steadfast, poignant reminder of the story of human ingenuity, endurance, and evolution.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in New Mexico
Those who are into urban exploration in the New Mexico area should get comfortable with New Mexico trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to New Mexico, please click here.
For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission. Finally, if you are wanting to find more abandoned places in New Mexico, check out my resource How To Find Abandoned Places With Google Maps.
- John Bourscheid, Killer Urbex