Geologic Tour of New Mexico
Tour site types: •State Parks •Federal Parks •Other Features
These virtual geologic tours explore the high mountains of north-central New Mexico, the rugged mountains of southern New Mexico, and the wide open spaces of the eastern and northwestern parts of our great state.
Also check out our popular book series Geology of New Mexico's Parks, Monuments, and Public Lands and Scenic Trips to the Geologic Past.
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Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, at the mouth of Dog Canyon on the western escarpment of the Sacramento Mountains, opened in 1980, but the area has attracted visitors for several thousands of years. The 180-acre state park has a flowing stream and forms an oasis on the edge of the harsh desert of the Tularosa (Spanish, "reddish willows") Valley. The park is named for Oliver Lee (1865-1941), a prominent rancher and state legislator who settled near the mouth of Dog Canyon in the late 1880s. Lee was active in developing water-control projects in the area. Oliver Lee's ranch is one of the many exhibits at the state park. The Visitor's Center houses displays of the geologic and cultural history of the canyon area. Approximately 30,000 people enjoy camping, hiking, and picnicking in the park each year. An interpretative trail along lower Dog Canyon allows visitors a glimpse of vegetation and wildlife in the oasis as well as several cultural sites. The Dog Canyon Trail starts at an elevation of about 4,500 ft in the state park and climbs the steep escarpment of the Sacramento Mountains to the Eyebrow Trail to Joplin Ridge at an elevation of 7,753 ft, for a total one-way distance of about six miles.