Otero Mesa, New Mexico
Otero is gem that has been preserved because it’s so remote—tucked in far southern New Mexico.
The 1.2 million-acre mesa consists mainly of rolling hills, much of it covered with grasslands. In fact, it’s one of the largest intact grassland areas in the Chihuahuan Desert that extends from Northern Mexico into New Mexico and Arizona. Environmental groups are fighting to preserve it from oil and gas development.
Who’s here? Pronghorn antelope, black-tailed prairie dogs, golden eagles—and hardly any people. Best time to visit is in fall, after summer monsoons have turned the grasslands vivid green.
The mesa lies northeast of El Paso, Texas; take Texas 62 east, then turn north on Hueco Ranch Road and into New Mexico. The dirt road is suitable for cars—but take it slow. More