New Mexico is one of the most diverse geographically states in the United States. This varying landscape gives it a varied climate. While most people thinking of New Mexico imagine arid landscapes, the state offers other options, too. In this article I’ll give suggestions on places with the best weather in New Mexico.
To provide answers for different preferences, I’ll cover cities with the best year round weather, the mildest temperatures (the warmest winters and the coolest summers), and the coldest cities for those who love winter sports or prefer cooler weather.
What City in New Mexico Has the Best Year Round Weather?
The most common way of defining the best year round weather is that it’s warm and sunny. In the case of New Mexico, most of the state enjoys plenty of sunshine with clear skies even in the winter months. That leaves us with warm weather conditions which are trickier to find year round (due to the state’s cool winter temperatures at night).
Out of the major cities, Las Cruces is the best option if you want plenty of sunny days and pleasant weather most of the winter, too. Las Cruces is the second warmest city in New Mexico year round.
The average temperature in Las Cruces reaches 58-64 °F during the day and drops to 30-34 °F at night. The hottest winter days may bring temperatures of 70-76 °F while the coldest nights may bring temperatures of 20-23 °F.
While nights in Las Cruces are cool until May when they finally climb above 50 °F on average, daytime temperatures of 70 °F come in early spring already.
Las Cruces has only 47 rainy days. While I couldn’t find NOAA data on sunshine hours in Las Cruces, the city is located just 46 miles of El Paso. And El Paso is one of the sunniest cities in the United States, recording 3,763 sunshine hours a year. If you love blue skies, Las Cruces will definitely fit your definition of best weather.
The worst aspect of the climate of Las Cruces is the heat in the summer months. The average summer temperature during the day is 94-96 °F while the average low temperature is 64-69 °F. The hottest days in the summer can bring 100-104 °F while the coolest nights can bring more pleasant weather conditions with temperatures of 56-64 °F.
But if you don’t mind dry heat, then summers in Las Cruces may be tolerable, particularly with relatively cool evenings, nights, and mornings.
Carlsbad has a similar climate to Las Cruces but is 2-3 degrees hotter in the summer (which is why I picked Las Cruces over it). Alamogordo near White Sands National Park is another option. It has cooler winters but also cooler summers.
If you don’t need to live in the largest city possible for the weather, the village of Columbus, located 32 miles south of Deming, has slightly warmer weather in the winter. Average highs reach 59-65 °F (a degree warmer than Las Cruces) and average lows drop to 31-35 °F (also a degree warmer than Las Cruces).
What City in New Mexico Has the Mildest Temperatures Year Round?
What if your definition of best weather implies mild temperatures instead of extremely hot summers?
While most of New Mexico, and particularly the southern parts, is very hot in the summer, there are some options for cooler weather. But of course, because you also want mild winters, we can’t simply pick the coldest city in New Mexico as that wouldn’t be a mild climate, either.
Considering New Mexico’s climate, let’s define warm winters as daytime temperatures above 50 °F and average lows not going below 25 °F. As for summers, let’s define cooler summers as summers with daytime temperatures lower than 90 °F.
What are our options? Because of Mexico’s geography, let’s break this down into two options as we can’t have both things. You need to decide whether you’re more interested in warm temperatures in the winter or in cool temperatures in the summer.
Warmest Winters Possible With Warmer Summers Allowed
Silver City is the closest thing to a mild climate city in New Mexico if we prioritize warm winters but still look for the coolest summers possible.
In the winter, average highs in Silver City reach relatively mild 49-53 °F and average lows drop to 27-30 °F (which is mild for New Mexico standards).
In the summer, average highs in Silver City reach still mild 82-86 °F and average lows drop to pleasant 60-62 °F.
Clovis could be an alternative if you want warmer daytime temperatures in the winter (51-56 °F) and don’t mind hotter summers (89-92 °F during the day and 60-64 °F at night).
Coolest Summers Possible With Cooler Winters Allowed
Ruidoso is the best mild weather city in New Mexico if we prioritize the coolest summers possible first and then look for mild winter temperatures.
In the winter, average high temperatures in Ruidoso reach relatively mild 48-51 °F which is slightly cooler than in Silver City. But at night, temperatures on average drop to 21-23 °F (which is much colder than in Silver City).
In exchange, Ruidoso gets cooler summers. Average high temperatures reach mild 78-82 °F and average lows drop to cool 47-51 °F.
If you want the coolest summers in the state, Cloudcroft in the Lincoln National Forest (near Alamogordo) offers average high temperatures of just 71-74 °F and average lows of 45-48 °F. In exchange, winters are colder, with less pleasant temperatures of 42-45 °F during the day and only 19-22 °F at night.
What City in New Mexico Is the Coldest?
If you love winter sports and want the longest ski season, prefer greener landscapes, or simply don’t like hot weather conditions, towns at higher altitudes in northern New Mexico is where you need to go.
While Taos Ski Valley has the coldest weather in the state, it’s a tiny village where you’re unlikely to want to live. Nearby Red River sounds like a better option. While it’s still a small village, it has more amenities and still offers easy access to ski resorts.
In the winter, Red River records average temperatures of 35-37 °F during the day and 7-9 °F at night. The warmest winter days may bring temperatures of 49-51 °F while the coldest nights may drop to super cold -8 °F. Red River gets 45 snowy days with 157 inches of snowfall per year.
In the summer, Red River has very pleasant weather during the day. It’s perfect for enjoying hiking trails in the area or enjoying other outdoor activities. Average daytime temperatures are around 72-75 °F while nighttime temperatures are around 36-42 °F. On the hottest days you may experience temperatures of 81-83 °F while the coldest nights may go near or below freezing to 29-37 °F.
Out of the larger cities, Taos is the coldest city in New Mexico. Winter temperatures are around 40-45 °F during the day and 10-16 °F at night. Summer temperatures reach 82-86 °F during the day and drop to 46-51 °F at night.
Los Alamos also has cool weather, with winter highs of 40-45 °F and lows of 20-24 °F. Summer highs reach 80-83 °F and lows stay around 54-57 °F.
Frequently Asked Questions
The southern parts of the state are the warmest. Carlsbad and Las Cruces enjoy the warmest temperatures, climbing to about 58-64 °F during the day and dropping to 30-34 °F at night.
San Pedro Parks Wilderness is one of the wettest areas of New Mexico, getting about 35 inches of precipitation a year. Among inhabited areas, Cloudcroft in the Lincoln National Forest records 28.45 inches of rainfall annually.
New Mexico has relatively warm winter days but temperatures at night are usually below freezing. There may also be occasional snowfall. Outside of the winter months, many cities in New Mexico are indeed warm to hot year round. Northern New Mexico isn’t warm year round, though.
Among the largest cities, Santa Fe has the mildest summers with temperatures around 83-86 °F during the day and 50-55 °F at night. Among all inhabited places, the northern part of the state is the coolest in the summer. Taos Ski Valley and Red River have the coolest summers with average temperatures during the day around 70-75 °F and lows around 35-40 °F.
While Santa Fe has cooler summers and slightly sunnier weather, Albuquerque has much warmer winters. This gives it much better weather year round than in Santa Fe which has average low temperatures below freezing five months a year (compared to three in Albuquerque).
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