New Mexico Road Closures

Road closures are common in New Mexico. Check driving conditions before you hit the road in the Land of Enchantment.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Floods, fires, and even missile tests, and seasonal conditions cause frequent road closures in
New Mexico
If you’ve even driven the winding cliffside roads of Taos or skidded to a stop in an Albuquerque snowstorm, you know how challenging the roads can be in New Mexico. That’s why road closures are so commonplace in the Land of Enchantment, especially in the winter months.
Whether you’re taking a leisurely road trip through the mesas or just trying to get to work on time, road closures can throw a wrench into even the best-laid plans. 
To help you stay one step ahead, we've compiled a guide to road closures in New Mexico. We’ll take a look at the most common reasons for road closures in New Mexico, what roads are closed seasonally, and what road closures might mean for your car insurance. 
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How to check for road closures in New Mexico

New Mexico’s temperamental climate is a leading cause of road closures in the state. Sudden heavy rain can pool faster than the ground can absorb it, leading to flash floods and washed-out roads. At the same time, New Mexico experiences an average of 1460 wildfires per year, which destroy forests, threaten homes, and (you guessed it) close roads.
The best resource for road closures is the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s
NMRoads website
. There, you’ll find information on all-things traffic from accidents, to construction, to delays, and road closures.
You can also tune into local radio for live traffic reports. Here are some local stations that specialize in traffic.
  • Albuquerque - Big 107.9FM
  • Espanola - KDCE Radio 950 AM
  • Gallup - KGLX-FM
  • Las Cruces - KOBE 92.7FM
  • Santa Fe - KTRC 1260
  • Farmington - KENN 1390 AM
  • Roswell - KEND Talk FM 106.5

White Sands National Park road closures

White Sands National Park experiences many road closures throughout the year due to its proximity to the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range. Dunes Drive, the only road into the park’s white sand dune field, is often closed during missile tests, and all activity is strictly prohibited on the road when closed.
US Highway 70 between White Sands and Las Cruces is also sometimes closed during missile tests. Contact the White Sands Missile Range for road closure information.

Four New Mexico roads that close seasonally

While it’s difficult to predict a missile-related road closure, some roads in New Mexico close on a more predictable schedule. Here’s a list of some New Mexico roads that experience seasonal closures.

1. State Road 72

Closed from: Winter - Spring
State Road 72 is a 36 mile stretch of road at the end of the I-25 in the city of Raton. It is the only road where you can get to the top of a mesa in the Raton-Clayton volcanic field. This road is closed during the winter months.

2. State Road 456

Closed from: Winter - Spring
New Mexico’s State Road 456 is a remote road that traverses the state’s northeastern border with Colorado. The 456 features 17 miles of unpaved road which can become impassable in inclement weather. Though the scenery is quite nice, it is not very forgiving to those who experience a vehicle breakdown and is usually closed during the winter.

3. Miranda Canyon

Closed from: March 1 – May 1
Miranda Canyon is located south of Taos, New Mexico. The Miranda Canyon Commission has recommended seasonal closures to protect roads and trails from damage during the wet spring months.

4. Bursum Road

Closed from: Winter - Spring
State Road 159 begins at the I-189 near the Arizona border and heads east toward Gila National Forest. Just east of the town of Mogollon, the 159 turns to a twisting and mountainous unpaved single-lane road, known locally as Bursum Road. This section of the 159 is not maintained during the winter months, and so Bursum Road is typically closed due to icy, snowy conditions.
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Yes, New Mexico does experience occasional snow. It is more common in the northern part of the state and in the mountains where it can cause road closures.
You can find the most up-to-date information on road closures in New Mexico by using the
NMRoads app
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