Discover the 4 States That Border New Mexico

© GPA Photo Archive / CC BY-SA 2.0

Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Published: January 6, 2024

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Known as The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is a state in the American West that is truly one-of-a-kind. The landscape includes vast deserts, high mesas, expansive grasslands, and even snowy peaks in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It is home to many Native American tribes, breathtaking natural wonders, rock formations that go back millions of years, and wildlife both above ground and below. You can even stand in some of its border states without leaving New Mexico at the amazing Four Corners location.

The entire state covers more than 120,000 square miles. This means a lot of border distance with other states and even with Mexico as well! New Mexico shares a border with four states in the U.S. as well as two Mexican states. It also shares a corner with another U.S. state at a must-see spot. Some of these are short, such as the border between New Mexico and the Oklahoma panhandle. Others, such as the Texas-New Mexico border or the Arizona-New Mexico border, are extensive. There are also plenty of state and national parks to visit in these areas.

Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

San Antonio’s Alamo is a historic site important in Texas’ fight for independence.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

If New Mexico is an iconic state in the American West, Texas is something altogether different and unique. Texas is the second largest state by area in the United States, covering more than 268,000 square miles. The Lone Star state was once a part of Mexico, then fought for its independence and later joined the United States. This journey instilled a strong sense of identity in Texans which is still easy to see today.

Texas lies to the east and south of New Mexico. There are plenty of amazing sites to see along this border but Carlsbad Caverns stands out for its natural beauty. This national park includes 119 underground caverns in the Chihuahuan Desert. You can also see desert wildlife and rock formations in the above-ground portion of the park. If you’re looking for a larger city, check out El Paso. Once disputed, this Texas city straddles the border between Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. It is also on the mighty Rio Grande River.

Oklahoma

A beautiful hay field in northern Oklahoma with storms firing in the distance.

Most of Oklahoma is very flat, which allows you to see for great distances.

©Cary Meltzer/Shutterstock.com

This state is much more than the title of a popular musical (although it certainly gives that show a catchy tune!). It is a land of natural beauty, agriculture, and oil production, and is the birthplace of American actor Brad Pitt. It shares a small border with New Mexico to the west of Oklahoma’s panhandle. Black Mesa Nature Preserve is one of the most interesting natural spots in this area. Located right on the border, this area is home to the highest point in Oklahoma.

Colorado

Fiery Autumn Sunset

Dramatic sunset over Colorado’s San Juan Mountains as seen from the Dallas Divide.

©AndrewSoundarajan/iStock via Getty Images

New Mexico shares its northern border with Colorado. This part of New Mexico is home to numerous reservations for Indigenous North American tribes, including the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, and Southern Ute tribes. Northern New Mexico also has more mountainous areas compared to other parts of the state. This creates a dramatic landscape that extends in Colorado. These mountains are part of the Rocky Mountain chain, while mountains in other parts of the state are distinct. Colorado is also one of the states that share the Four Corners distinction with New Mexico.

Arizona

Arizona, Land, Landscape - Scenery, Mesa - Arizona, Navajo Ethnicity

Arizona is known for its stunning rock formations, which tell the geological story of how the landscape was created.

©Kresopix/ via Getty Images

One of the longest borders between New Mexico and another state is the more than 370-mile border between New Mexico and Arizona to the west. Another region that is home to many Indigenous tribes is in the northern part of this border. The Navajo Nation, the largest reservation in the United States, is located in this region. Just south is the Petrified Forest National Park, where you can see fossils, petroglyphs, petrified logs, and plenty of other natural wonders. Arizona shares a corner with New Mexico at the Four Corners site.

Utah

Four Corners Monument Marking the Corner of Four States

The Four Corners is the only place in the United States where four states come together at one place and visitors can put each of their hands and feet in four states at the same time.

©David Crowther/iStock via Getty Images

While it doesn’t share a true border with New Mexico, Utah gets an honorable mention on this list because the two states share a corner. The Four Corners monument allows visitors to stand on the exact spot where New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado all meet. You can put one foot in four states at the same time!


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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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