Sacramento Mountains

The Sacramento Mountains are located in south-central New Mexico and comprise one of the southernmost ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The Sacramentos rise sharply out of the surrounding high desert creating a unique geographic setting.

The western edge of the main section of the Sacramento Mountains forms a series of dramatic escarpments leading up to a high ridge, which includes the highest named point in the range, Cathey Peak, 9,645 feet (2,940 m). From this ridge the mountains slope gently down to the east, merging gradually with the plains to the west of Artesia NM.

There are actually two unnamed high points of the range, both approx 9,695 ft.

The range is a wide, gently east-dipping fault block, made up almost entirely of limestone. Gypsum deposits washed from the range are a main source of the gypsum sand that makes up the dunes in White Sands National Monument. The Sacramento Mountains form the easternmost part of the rift system centered on the rift valley of the Rio Grande. The rock strata in the Sacramentos were originally contiguous with those of the San Andres Mountains on the other side of the Tularosa Basin, and have been separated because of down-faulting of the basin. Unlike the Sacramento Mountains, the neighboring Sierra Blanca are an extrusive igneous complex.