CLIMATE & ECOLOGY
The Fort Union Ranch today lies where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the high plains at 6,500 feet above sea level. The open rangeland is defined by surrounding mesas with escarpments cut by rugged canyons; to the east rise the Turkey Mountains, an isolated range covered by subalpine forest with a high point of 8,423 feet.
The Fort Union Ranch in Watrous, New Mexico, about 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas, New Mexico, covers 95,315 acres of shortgrass prairie and forested mountains—it’s about 15 miles across! Its name comes from a military outpost that was built in 1851 at the convergence of two branches of the historic Santa Fe Trail.
The Fort Union Ranch in Watrous, New Mexico, is a historic property that has remained in one family’s ownership for more than six generations. Both the acquisition of the ranch and its retention by the family are unusual stories. The history of the ranch as it exists today began in 1882.