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Magdalena [4] is a small (pop. about 1000) town in southwestern New Mexico. It is the nearest town (at least the nearest with many services for the traveler) to the Very Large Array, an enormous radio astronomy observatory of interest to the scientifically-inclined traveler, and is a jumping-off point for some outdoor recreational opportunities in the region.

Very Large Array west of Magdalena

Get in

Magdalena is on US 60 west of the larger town of Socorro. The nearest significant airport is in Albuquerque about 70 miles north of Socorro.

Get around


There's not much to see in town, but it has recently become a modest center for folk art and antiques. Try the following galleries and see if there's anything that interests you:

  • Blue Canyon Gallery, +1 575 854-2953
  • The Marketplace [5], 108 S. Main St., +1 575 854-3091. Also a bed and breakfast of unknown quality; try it and write it up.
  • AA Antiques, 1000 Hwy 60/First Street, +1 575 854-2940. Sometimes listed as having a web site, but this site is not working as of February 2006.
  • Bear Mountain Coffee House and Gallery, 902 West First Street (from Datil &VLA, continue east on Rt 60), +1 575-854-3310, [1]. Th-M 10AM-5PM. Serves expresso, pastries, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, panini, milkshake, ice cream, tasty desserts. Good vibs. Reasonable. Gallery has works of local artists (fiber, paintings, pottery and much more) and southwest collectible books.


  • Visitor's Center, 902 West First St. on route 60 (in Magdalena, north side of Rt 60), 575-854-3310. Thurs-Mon. 10am-5pm. good array of information on southern New Mexico. Maps - dept transportation for NM, Magdalena & Socorro, forest service map of area with hiking routes. Where to stay and where to eatin Magdalena and Socorro. Art info, ghost town info, realty info. Some historical info on Magdalena old buildings and cattle drive history. free.


  • Bear Mountain Gallery (6480), Rt. 60 (901 West First Street) (From Socorro, go west on Rt. 60 to Mag.), 575-854-3310, [2]. 10am-5p. On the Fiber Trail - quilts, rugs navajo and other, basketry, jewelry, tile art, paintings. Local artists. A lot of unique stuff, worth the visit. $5-$1500.


  • bear mountain coffee house, Rt 60 (902 West First St) (from Datil &VLA, continue east on Rt 60), 575-854-3310, [3]. 10am-5pmthurs-mon.. expresso, pastries. Lunch: sandwiches, salads, pizzas, panini, milkshake, ice cream, tasty desserts. Good vibs. reasonable.



  • High Country Lodge, 303 First Street (Hwy. 60), +1 575 854-2062. About 20 rooms.

Get out

  • The Very Large Array, National Radio Astronomy Observatory is about 20 miles west of town on US 60. A visitor center (open daily 8:30-dusk, free) has interpretive exhibits and an orientation film. There are occasional guided tours, and visitors can also follow a self-guided walking route around the facility. No food is available at the VLA site. Visitors to the Very Large Array should keep their cell / mobile phones switched off, as they interfere with radio observations; likewise with microwave ovens in camping vehicles.

Routes through Magdalena
PhoenixMesa  W noframe E  SocorroFort Sumner

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