Most states have irregular shapes, and there are different ways of determining where a state’s exact center is. New Mexico is no different, and because of that, there are two centers of New Mexico. A geographic center and geometric center. Since it isn’t for us to decide which is the actual center of New Mexico, we just went to both.
The Geographic Center of New Mexico
The geographic center of New Mexico is located about 12 miles SW of the town of Willard, with GPS coordinates of 34°24’25.6 “N 106°06’45.4 “W. Getting to both centers is somewhat of an adventure, but of the two, this one is much more remote. There is also not much to see here.
The easiest way to get there, at least the way that allows you to drive on the most paved roads, is to go west from Willard on US-60 until you reach State Route 55. Take SR55 south for 10 miles and make a left on Liberty Valley Road. Liberty Valley Road becomes County Road B029. This is an unpaved road. Follow B029 for 3 miles, then turn left on B028.
After traveling down B028 for 1.1 miles, park and the center will be about 2000 feet to the west. There are fences in the area, which is really remote, so we don’t recommend traveling to the spot.
There’s nothing there anyway, just a bunch of brush and maybe some cows walking around. Nothing marks this spot as being the center of the state. Still, if your goal is to get to the exact geographic center, this is it.
While the state’s geographic center is pretty dull, luckily, that isn’t the case at New Mexico’s geometric center.
The Geometric Center of New Mexico
First, you may be wondering what the difference between the geometric and geographic centers is. The geometric center is the center of mass for the state. Basically, the spot where if you printed out a copy of the state, it is where it would balance on a point. The geometric center is where the lines would intersect if you drew an X from corner to corner of the state.
New Mexico is pretty square overall, with only a small area in the southwest sticking out, so the two centers aren’t far from each other. The geometric center is located just south of the town of Willard, off SR42. The GPS coordinates are 34° 27.446′N 105° 51.406′W.
From Willard, take SR42 south about 14 miles until you see a green sign the says “Cntr of NM Trail.” There you turn right, and it will lead you straight there.
The geometric center of New Mexico is located on the 7 Up 7 Down Ranch, which is private property. Luckily the owners allow visitors to the center site.
Leroy Humphries owns the ranch, and in 2010 he decided to celebrate his family’s century on the land by creating a monument to New Mexico’s center.
Since the center is located on a real ranch, there are gates and cows everywhere. If the main driving gate is closed, you can park there, and there is a small gate that allows for access to the site. Do not open the large gate if it is closed. From the small walk-in gate, it is about a ¼ mile walk through a field to the center monument.
At the geometric center, there is a large flagpole with a base in the shape of New Mexico. There is also a bench to sit on, a time capsule, and a logbook. The entire center is located in a small gated area to keep cows from getting in.
The fact that this is here and the owner allows visitors is amazing. It is definitely a cool and unique destination in New Mexico. Not many people can say they made it to New Mexico’s geometric center; in fact, when we visited, we were the first people to sign the logbook in over a month.
Another “Center” in New Mexico
Aside from the geographic and geometric centers of New Mexico, apparently, you can also find the “Center of the Universe” in the state as well.
Located on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, the Center of the Universe is an art piece conceived by artist Bruce Nauman. The piece is a tower of concrete with tunnels in each direction that you can walk into.
The Center of the Universe definitely stands out from the buildings around it on campus and was very controversial and hated when it was first constructed in the early 1980s, but these days it is generally accepted and is a popular sport in the game Pokemon Go.
While it isn’t really meant to be the location of the actual center of the universe, it’s worth checking out if you are on the University of New Mexico campus for some reason.
If you are interested in reading about our journeys to some other centers of states check out our Center of the States page.