Historic Magdalena New Mexico
A community rich in history...Stay and explore our history and natural beauty
The Village of Magdalena is an incorporated village with its own governing body, nestled in among the beauty of some of the most scenic mountains, trails and historic buildings. Located at an elevation ranging from 6,548 feet (Magdalena) to 12,600 feet (South Baldy Peak) and an area population of approximately 1200, the small town atmosphere is host to some exciting and vibrant changes. Over the past few years many new businesses have opened their doors to serve the local population and travelers.
The perennial mild climate makes this a great year-round destination with temperatures for this area ranging from around 19°–60's (fall/winter) and 43°–90's (spring/summer), with mountain breezes and summer monsoon showers.
There are several historic buildings, still to be found in Magdalena, and several of these today are home to active businesses and private homes. Magdalena is undergoing a "face-lift" and is being recognized for its growing arts community, place to stop, shop and stay a while. The Historic U.S. Route 60 is home to one of the most delightful towns, numerous galleries, stores, hiking trails and other events and attractions.
The history surrounding Magdalena is rich with Old West Legends, Dusty Cattle Drives, Pioneer families, Main Street Shoot-outs, Fiery Ranchers and Grimy-faced Miners. This history just adds to the many area attractions. To name but a few of those attractions:
Trail's EndMagdalena is known as the "Trails End" for the railroad/spur line which was built in 1885 from Socorro to Magdalena to transport the cattle, sheep wool, timber and ore. Thousands of cattle and sheep were driven into town (cowboy style) from the west, using the historic "Stock Driveway", aka "Hoof Highway." The original historic stockyards are still intact.
This historic Stock Driveway was used annually, from 1885 through 1916 when the driveway was officially designated by law through the signing of the "Grazing Homestead Act" and was continually in use through 1971.
The 125 mile driveway extended west to Datil, New Mexico then forked south toward Horse Springs and Reserve, New Mexico, while the other fork led to Springerville, Arizona.
The drive was 5 to 10 miles wide and covered 200 square miles. The peak trailing year, 1919, saw 150,000 sheep and 21,000 cattle pass the point around Ten Mile Hill.
The Civilian Conservation Corp., (the CCC) boys fenced the driveway in 1930, and drilled a well about every ten miles.
During the drives cowboys moved about 10 miles a day, and herders moved sheep about 5 miles a day, allowing them to graze as they went. Chuck wagons and relays of horses followed behind. Trailing gave way to trucking, and the last portion of the driveway was officially closed in November of 1971.