Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch

Springer, New Mexico (Colfax County)
3,268 +/- Total Acres

A uniquely secluded wildland inholding on northern New Mexico’s legendary Canadian River Canyon that controls eight miles of the Canadian River, boasting unparalleled scenery and wildlife habitat.

Secluded Canadian River Canyon Inholding
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  • 3,268 acres (2,668 deeded, 600 leased)
  • 8 miles of the Canadian River Canyon
  • Two-hour drive from Santa Fe, NM
  • Nationally recognized conservation values
  • Surrounded by more than half a million acres of undeveloped prairie grasslands
  • Trophy elk, mule deer, pronghorn, aoudad sheep, wild turkeys, black bear, and mountain lion
  • Unlimited hunting/drop-camp location potential
  • Adjacent to Kiowa National Grasslands and Mills Canyon Historic Site and campground
  • Historically significant archaeological sites and Hispanic homesteads
  • Includes 1,800 sq. ft. staging residence in Springer, NM (20-minute drive)
  • Commercial air service is two and a half hours away in Albuquerque, NM
  • Mirr Ranch Group represented the buyer.
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Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch is a uniquely secluded wildland inholding on northern New Mexico’s legendary Canadian River Canyon.  Surrounded by hundreds of miles of undeveloped high prairie grasslands, this 3,268 acre (2,668 deeded) canyon ranch controls eight miles of the Canadian River and boasts unparalleled scenery and wildlife habitat. Perennial river flows in the semi-arid environment create a robust riparian zone, and when combined with the unique features and cover of the 800’ deep canyon, Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch serves as sanctuary to trophy elk, mule deer, pronghorn, aoudad sheep, wild turkeys, black bear, and mountain lion. With historically significant archaeological sites and original Hispanic homesteads, Rio Rojo Canyon has been recognized by national and state conservation organizations for its tremendous conservation values and unique preservation potential, making Twenty Hatchets an attractive long-term investment opportunity.

Mirr Ranch Group represented the buyer. 

Lay of the Land
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While there are two historic homesteads on Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch, the Abeyta homestead on the western rim, and the Cardenas homestead on the eastern rim of the canyon, there are no functional building improvements on the ranch. The two sites could be considered future building/renovation sites and are best described as primitive quarters in their current condition. The Abeyta homestead was once served by a functional windmill-driven well, which with little effort could be re-commissioned into service. The Cardenas homestead was historically served by a live spring (current condition unknown) and a new well could be permitted. The ranch is mostly perimeter fenced and generally serviced by full service and two-track ranch roads.

The owners of Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch are including in the offering an ~1,800 sq. ft. residence in Springer, NM, which they use as a transition point and staging location to access the ranch and Canadian River Canyon. The home was recently remodeled with an attractive modern kitchen, bathroom, laundry, all new appliances, and wood floors providing a tasteful and comfortable residence in a quiet modest neighborhood.


Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch is located on the Canadian River ten miles east of Interstate 25 between Springer (20 miles) and Wagon Mound, NM (25 miles). Wonderful views of the southern reach of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Range loom 25 miles to the west.


  • Rainfall (in.): 16” – 17”
  • Snowfall (in): 22” – 24”
  • Precipitation Days: 49
  • Sunny Days: 315
  • Avg July High: 88
  • Avg. Jan High: 48


Springer, (Pop. 930) and Wagon Mound, NM (Pop. 292), both located on Interstate 25, are quiet agricultural-based communities serving the expansive ranches that make up much of the surrounding countryside.  Local services include a café, mechanic shop, gas station, and small convenience store.  Expanded access to numerous restaurants, big-box retail, grocery stores, hardware, motels, and movie theaters can be found in both Raton (40 miles north of Springer) and Las Vegas, NM (42 miles south of Wagon Mound).  Las Vegas also has Alta Vista Regional Hospital a full service regional hospital, and the Armand Hammer United World College is located nearby in the quaint town of Montezuma, NM.

Northeastern New Mexico has a unique history and culture all its own, much of it steeped in the legacy and lore of the historic Santa Fe Trail. An excellent resource is the nearby Fort Union, offering impressive exhibits and interpretation of frontier life and culture. Outdoor enthusiasts in the area enjoy the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests with numerous trailheads for hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, ATV, and snowmobile access. Downhill skiing and a full array of summer and winter activities are found at the Angel Fire Resort, an hour and twenty-minute drive from the ranch over one of New Mexico’s most scenic highways. Adjacent to the south boundary of the ranch is the Kiowa National Grasslands and Mills Canyon campground. Capulin Volcano National Monument is a short hour north of the ranch.

While Springer, NM boasts a local municipal airstrip (S42), Albuquerque Sunport is the closest commercial airport with eight commercial carriers offering non-stop service to 23 cities.

Sporting Features
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Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch is located in New Mexico Fish and Game Dept.’s storied Game Management Unit #47. Known as a consistently reliable area, the ranch and canyon are hosts to a large resident elk herd, while countless native pronghorn, mule deer, and wild turkey roam the open prairie lands and grasses along the canyon rims. While the ranch has been managed predominantly for wildlife, it has not been actively hunted for a decade and has served as a de facto wildlife sanctuary and wildland preserve. There are subsequently no hunt history or harvest records available for the ranch.


The extent of the fishing opportunity in the Canadian River is unclear. Flows on the Canadian River are affected by semi-arid conditions, seasonal flow regimes, and significant seasonal irrigation draw-downs. Both trout and smallmouth bass are known to exist in similar conditions/climates and a number of robust recreational fisheries have been developed with significantly fewer water resources.

Ranch Attributes
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Ranch Operations

Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch is surrounded by four large-acreage cattle ranches with extensive New Mexico State landholdings. While the specific boundaries of the ranch are not all fenced, Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch has not been actively grazed in a decade and the obvious health and diversity of vegetative cover on the ranch are evidence of this fact. The west homestead was once served by a functional windmill-driven well, which with little effort could be re-commissioned into service. The eastern homestead was historically served by a live spring (current condition unknown). The ranch is mostly perimeter fenced and generally serviced by full service and two-track ranch roads.

Water Rights

Rio Rojo Canyon Ranch controls both sides of nearly 8 miles of the Canadian River, but there are no diversion or irrigation rights on the ranch. There is a livestock well on the west rim of the ranch and a number of hidden springs and pockets where water holds in the canyon rock formations.

Conservation Value

The Canadian River Canyon is rich in cultural resources. In addition to the two Hispanic homesteads on the ranch, the canyon is also known to house the famous Jaritas Rock Shelter, explored by archaeologists in the 1930s. Plains Indian artifacts from both older dog-travois and more recent horse-travois cultures can also be found throughout the region.

The New Mexico Land Conservancy has identified northeastern New Mexico and the Canadian River as an important regional conservation priority. Conservancy staff have toured the ranch and would be interested in pursuing the many conservation possibilities on the property.

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