ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Welcome to Socorro County, known for its friendly spirit, incredible bird watching opportunities, world-class science and technology developments, fascinating cultural attractions and year-round outdoor recreation. From the mountains, to the desert, to the river valley — a diverse landscape offers everyone something to love.
Socorro is a close-knit but welcoming community. People here are never in too much of a hurry to stop and chat for a moment, and always have a smile and a wave – even for those they don’t know. Some families have been here for hundreds of years and some for only a few, but they all are willing to stop and listen.
The city boasts an active village plaza surrounded by shops, eateries, a historic mission church and government buildings — bringing a focus to the area rarely found in the world today. Many community events are centered at the plaza, including the community music parties Hot August Nights and SocorroFest, car shows, the annual Christmas luminaria arts stroll and the farmer’s market.
Looking west, one finds a history of mining and ranching as well as modern technological marvels. While old-timers return to Magdalena each year to celebrate the village’s glory days as a cattle railhead, just a few miles away on a 10,600-foot ridge in the Magdalena Mountains stands a state-of-the-art, rapid-response 2.4-meter optical telescope – the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. A few more miles west on the Plains of San Agustin lies the Karl P. Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope.
While much of the county is rural, it also plays host to one of the nation’s premier research universities, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The campus is also home to the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, where a state-of-the-art mineral museum attracts visitors from around the world. But science and technology are not the only draws to the New Mexico Tech campus; the 18-hole golf course attracts golfers of all levels and sponsors an annual PGA tournament every June.
Flowing through the heart of Socorro County, the Rio Grande is the center of the agricultural community and also affords numerous opportunities for nature lovers to explore unique environments. Thousands of visitors come to see the two wildlife refuges in the county — many to attend the annual Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Hundreds more come to visit the 150-year-old Fort Craig, one of the most important Civil War-era Union forts in the West. Others come to follow the route of El Camino Real – the “Royal Road to the Interior” – trod by 16th century Spanish explorers. Their story is now told at the El Camino Real International Heritage Center south of Socorro.
Socorro is a place to get away from the big city hustle yet still participate in a variety of community activities — everything is here. Whatever your mood, there is a place in the county to satisfy your hankering. Whether you feel like hiking in the mountains or sitting in a tavern listening to the blues, we have it. You can go places to hang out with people, to enrich your mind or be alone with nature. It’s a free and open county, uncrowded and friendly.