Recreation Opportunities in New Mexico
New Mexico has a rich wildlife heritage and a wide diversity of wildlife that can be seen and photographed by people seeking to connect with the outdoors. A smorgasbord of habitats, from alpine tundra, forested mountains, grasslands, rivers and lakes, to sandstone canyons and Chihuahuan desert — support 525 species of birds, 300 species of butterflies and a myriad of others.
We all have a stake in conserving New Mexico’s wildlife for future generations. Conservation often starts with stepping outside and visiting parks, forests, nature centers or refuges. Many New Mexico Game and Fish properties, known as State Game Commission Lands, provide opportunities to get outside to view wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.
State Game Commission Lands
State Game Commission (SGC) Lands include Wildlife Management Areas and other properties owned, managed, or controlled by the New Mexico State Game Commission. SGC Lands are managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. New Mexico’s SGC Lands also provide public access for wildlife-associated recreation through the Gaining Access into Nature (GAIN) program. Potential GAIN activities include: wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. Please visit the State Game Commission Lands webpage for complete rules and information.
Information on more than 40 attractive birding locations in southwestern New Mexico with descriptions, maps and birding tips. See our Birding page.
New Mexico Wildlife View Guide
Wildlife is nearer than you think! The secret is knowing where and when to look.
From the rugged beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert to the windswept alpine heights of the Pecos Wilderness, the New Mexico Wildlife Viewing Guide helps direct you to 76 prime wildlife viewing areas with the best dates, times, and places, as well as what species to look for.
Detailed site descriptions
Specific species lists
Maps, access, and location directions
Site amenities if available
Photo and viewing tips
More than 40 color photographs
Detailed New Mexico life zone map
Overview of New Mexico species biodiversity
The New Mexico Wildlife Viewing Guide is part of a nationwide series of viewing guides from the Watchable Wildlife Program, a public/private partnership coordinated by Defenders of Wildlife, Washington D.C. Each viewing site was selected by a panel of wildlife experts from a variety of organizations and agencies. The guide currently is only available online by downloading documents listed.