High Noon

The extensive canyon lands that cover parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas have no all-encompassing name.  The closest thing is the large escarpment called Black Mesa, which is in parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma.  In fact, the highest point of Oklahoma (4,973 feet) occupies a portion of Black Mesa, although the mesa itself rises higher in both New Mexico and Colorado.

It’s a shame in a way because the region is an impressive network of colorful canyons, and mesas right out of your favorite 1950s Western film.  As I’ve mentioned before, the area even has volcanoes!  The largest is the long dormant volcano named Laughlin Peak, which stands at an impressive 8,818 feet.  Sierra Grande is not far behind at 8,720 feet, and is the earsternmost peak in the United States above 8,000 feet.

As an aside, South Dakota likes to proclaim Harney Peak (7,242 feet) as the highest point between the Rockies and the Appalachians.  Clearly these peaks in New Mexico are higher, not to mention they are less related to the Rockies in terms of their overal geology than Harney Peak is.

Sorry South Dakota – we still think you’re awesome!

About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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