Town of Mountainair

Mountainair Mainstreet
Mountainair Mainstreet

Population, 2015: 878
Area: 1.58 square miles
Incorporated: 1921
Location: 35-miles east of Belen at the southern edge of the Manzano Mountains


Mountainair sits near the geographic center of New Mexico. The town, gateway to the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, is a center for tourism and the arts. The picturesque downtown has also drawn the interest of movie makers. The local economy is based on agriculture, trade and tourism.

Major private employers: P&M Signs, Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative, High Lonesome Wind Ranch (electricity generation).


Mountainair was founded in 1903 at Abo Pass, a long gentle rise between the Rio Grande and the Estancia Valley. Three men from Kansas decided that their town site should be on the Santa Fe Railway's Belen cut-off. This was a route east from Belen that would save 10-hours on the run to Chicago. When the cut-off was completed in 1906, homesteaders began to arrive and the town boomed. In 1923, folk artist Clem "Pop" Shaffer built a hotel and in 1932 added a dining room, which is itself a work of art. Once known as the "Pinto Bean Capital of the World," Mountainair had the world's largest pinto bean processing center. A drought in the 1940's ended bean farming, and ranching quickly took its place.


Mountainair 2010-2015 Population Graph

The historic Shaffer Hotel
The historic Shaffer Hotel

More Information


Mayor, elected every four years
Four councilors, elected to four-year staggered terms


Water: Town of Mountainair
Source: Ground water
Sewer: Town of Mountainair
Solid Waste: Town of Mountainair
Electric: Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative
Natural Gas: Town of Mountainair
Telephone: CenturyLink or Plateau


Highways: US 60 and NM 55
Air: Mountainair Municipal Airport (general aviation)
Train, Freight: Burlington Northern & Santa Fe


K-12: Mountainair School District  


State parks: Manzano State Park, 13-miles northwest of Mountainair, offers trout fishing and camping. One of the oldest apple orchards in the United States overlooks Manzano Lake. ("Manzano" means "apple" in Spanish.)

National monument: Salinas National Monument preserves ruins of Indian pueblos and churches at three sites -- Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira.

Hiking: The Manzano Mountains lie to the west. In the Mountainair Ranger District are eight campgrounds and many trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. Hawkwatch International uses Capilla Peak to watch hawk and eagle migrations.

Rodeo: The Mountainair Rodeo Grounds hosts events from March to September, including a PRCA rodeo in June.

Entertainment: The Mountainair Activity Center has a 300-seat indoor concert hall, a full-service kitchen and dining room, a small chapel, bunk houses, a basketball gym, and an indoor swimming pool. Outside are a baseball diamond, basketball court, horseshoe rings and volleyball court.



Special Studies


Local Food

Land & Water

Economic Development

Region & People

About Us


Contact Us

MRCOG OfficeMid-Region Council of Governments
809 Copper Avenue, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: 505-247-1750
Fax: 505-247-1753
Contact us by Email

Directions to MRCOG Offices

Google Translate

English French German Portuguese Spanish

Our Other Sites