Aztec, New Mexico

Aztec is a small city situated in San Juan County in the US State of New Mexico. Forming a part of the Farmington, New Mexico, Metropolitan Statistical Area, Aztec is renowned for its rich history, stunning environment, and fantastic outdoor leisure opportunities. Aztec houses several attractions, including the Aztec Ruins National Monument, Angel Peak Scenic Area, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, and many more. 

Geography And Climate Of Aztec

Aztec Public Library in Aztec, New Mexico
Aztec Public Library in Aztec, New Mexico. Image Credit: AllenS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Aztec covers a total area of 44.41 sq. km, of which 44.19 sq. km is occupied by land and 0.22 sq. km is covered by water. Aztec experiences hot, dry, and mainly clear summers and very cold, snowy, and partly overcast winters. The average annual temperature fluctuates between 19°F and 90°F, rarely falling below 7°F or rising over 96°F. The ideal time of year to visit Aztec for warm-weather activities is from mid-June to early September. Aztec experiences the warmest weather in July, with an average high temperature of 91°F and low temperature of 58°F. Having an average low of 18°F and a high of 44°F, January is the year's coldest month in Aztec.

Brief History Of Aztec

San Juan County Administrative Building in Aztec, New Mexico
San Juan County Administrative Building in Aztec, New Mexico. Image Credit: AllenS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The two friars, Father Dominquez and Father Escalante, looking for a quicker overland route from Santa Fe to California arrived in Aztec in the summer of 1776, marking the beginning of the city's recorded existence. Escalante's discovery of enormous, ancient remains that were thought to have been constructed by the Aztec Indians of Mexico is the origin of the word "Aztec." Aztec, a former trade center, was established as a town in 1887. Aztec settlers engaged in agriculture and horticulture, in contrast to much of the Western world.

The Population And Economy Of Aztec

As per the latest US Census, Aztec has a population of 6,207 inhabitants. In terms of age distribution, 11.2% of this population were under five years old, 28% were under 18 years old, and 14.8% were over 65 years old. Regarding the population’s ethnicity, 69.9% were white, 2.5% were black or African American, 28.6% were Hispanic or Latin, 11.8% were American Indian or Alaskan Natives, 0.3% were Asian, and 4.2% identified as two or more races.

The same census also revealed that 58.4% of Aztec’s population aged 16 years and older were in the civilian labor force (46.6% female), and 27.6% were living in poverty. The median household income (2016-2020) was $44,018, and the per capita income in the past 12 months was $21,535.

Attractions In Aztec

Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, New Mexico
Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, New Mexico. 

The Aztec Ruins were a bustling cultural hub for the ancestors of the Puebloans centuries ago. A self-guided tour is available at present, in which one can discover historical tunnels in under 45 minutes. Moreover, one can also discover a 900-year-old indigenous Pueblo Great House with more than 400 masonry chambers. 

Aztec Arches

Cox Canyon Arch with moon rising
Cox Canyon Arch with moon rising. Image Credit: Ekotyk, via Wikimedia Commons

Aztec is home to approximately 300 verified natural arches and windows. One can visit the magnificent Anasazi Arch in Cox Canyon or go for the mesmerizing Arch Rock in Hart Canyon. The Aztec Visitor Center provides maps and turn-by-turn directions. 

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