Los Lunas, New Mexico


Diverse. That's a good word to describe Los Lunas, New Mexico. Diverse in its culture, diverse in its economy, architecture, scenery, professions, recreations, history, and by the looks of things, diverse in its future.

For years I'd told my wife, Kathy, and friends, that I could easily live in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. Then the day came when I'd have to put-up or shut-up. Upon my arrival to Albuquerque, it was larger and seemingly much busier than I remembered. For nearly six months I lived out of a suitcase while I started a new job, searched for housing, and re-aquainted myself with this portion of central New Mexico.

Map showing Los Lunas, NM
It didn't take long for Kathy and I to decide that Los Lunas was more to our liking. Los Lunas was away from Albuquerque's hustle-and-bustle, but not too far (about 20 miles). Los Lunas was still a small town --under 10,000-- and it was somewhat rural in its setting. Nestled just off Interstate 25, south of Albuquerque, and yet growing with promise of some conveniences that didn't require travel into the heart of big-city chaos to partake of. Los Lunas was considered a "bedroom community."Click for Los Lunas, New Mexico Forecast Economically, it offered a more reasonable solution to the housing problem before us, as well. A minimal commute time to the job. Los Lunas proper is slightly lower than average terrain to both the east and west, alongside and within the Rio Grande river valley. Offering some protection from the springtime winds that can wreak havoc and are one of New Mexico's least favorable weather traits. LOS LUNAS, NM:
  • Elev. 4,850
  • Population approx. 9,000
  • Valencia County seat

Travel south from Albuquerque, NM on I-25 approximately 20 miles.  Take exit 203 (NM Highway 6) and turn east onto Main Street.
New Mexico purple coneflowers

Los Lunas is sheltered not only from the winds, but also from urban crawl by natural boundaries.  The Isleta Indian Pueblo borders to the northside of Los Lunas.  Acting as a buffer against Albuquerques growth.   The Rio Grande River and the Bosque that parallels the river, serves as a limiting factor to the east side of town.  Ten miles south is Belen, with the small villiage of Los Chavez in the middle.  The future growth of Los Lunas will come from lands available to the west, until the Laguna Indian Reservation lands are reached.  But that's 16 miles west and many ranches or other privately-held properties to slow the rate.

Los Lunas is the county seat for Valencia County. But unlike other towns in New Mexico, the architecture of those government buildings is rather blah. Although the city government buildings are quite appealing to the eye. Newly built to modern standards, with a flare for artistic interpretation of New Mexico's Indian and Hispanic heritage. In both design and color schemes. These traits are showing up in many of the commercial buildings recently constructed, to compliment the choices made by city officials. Which lends continuity of a sort, aesthetically.

For Kathy and I, aesthetics also comes from Los Lunas (and the surrounding communities of Bosque Farms, Peralta, Tome, Rio Communities, and Belen) mixture of farming and ranching that fights to maintain a solid posture against inevitable urbanization. Open farmland separating housing. Fields of alfalfa and green chili. Dairy farms. Cattle, horses, and sheep grazing in irrigated pastures. House cats hunting unsuspecting prey in vacant, grassy fields. Wooded acreage along the Rio Grande river with old adobe structures melting with the passage of time. Horse-drawn farm implements that now adorn suburban landscapes as if to only aide in the cause of keeping Los Lunas, New Mexico found within the definition of "Rural America."  A feeling of not being boxed in.

Natural ponds isolated along the river and bosque teem with wildlife. Bird watchers can view and photograph to their hearts content. Mallards, Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Common Coots, and other wild ducks nest and raise their young here during spring and summer. Canadian geese, Snow geese, along with a very large quantity of Whooping cranes and Sand Hill cranes annually migrate to Los Lunas and winter here. Around the Los Lunas area pheasants, quail, and dove also can be found in ample numbers.  New Mexico's State bird, the roadrunner, can be observed regularly.

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Los Lunas, NM

Spring-time Canadian Goose near Los Lunas, NM


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Further reference:
About the Isleta Indian Pueblo.
Indian and Hispanic heritage.


Last updated: .

All photographs & content
Copyright W. C. "Bill" Porter 1999
unless otherwise noted.