Cibola County occupies approximately 4,539 square miles in the northwest region of New Mexico, and is the state’s youngest county, established in 1981. It is bordered by McKinley County to the northwest, Sandoval County to the northeast, and Bernalillo and Valencia Counties to the east. Socorro and Catron counties border to the south, and Apache County (Arizona) to the west. The county is mostly rural and has one incorporated city, one town and 20 localities; the city of Grants is the county seat. This county is home to four Native American tribes – the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of Laguna, the Pueblo of Zuni, and several chapters of the Navajo Nation.
Grants and Milan’s elevation of 6,460 feet is a climate that offers an average high of 70 degrees with a low of 42 degrees at night. The cities are located at the foot of Mt. Taylor, an inactive stratovolcano, which was named in 1849 for then president Zachary Taylor. It is the highest point of the San Mateo Mountains and in the Cibola National Forest at 11, 301 feet. This peak can be seen throughout the mountainous region and provides irrigation water for ranchers, farmers and the pueblos. The region offers scenic vistas of mountains and mesas, historical attractions, a national forest, national monuments, state parks, and many forms of outdoor recreation. It plays a key role in the mining and forest restoration industries as well.
The Grants-Cibola County School District encompasses the north and east portions of Cibola County. The City of Grants, Village of Milan, and communities on their periphery constitute the urban area of the district. Acoma and Laguna Pueblos on the east side of the district contain many individual communities served by the district. The district includes the Ramah Chapter of the Navajo on the southwest side of the county, however, the district has a transportation agreement with Gallup/McKinley County Schools to bus students to public schools in Ramah. The Pine Hill Bureau of Indian Affairs K-12 Boarding School also serves residents in this area.
The Quemado School District includes the southwest portion of Cibola County and the community of Fence Lake.
Cibola General Hospital is a modern 50,000 sq. ft., 25-bed acute care hospital offering on-site general surgery, 24-hour emergency care, intensive care nursing, internal medicine, obstetrics, pathology, pediatric dentistry, podiatry, primary care, and radiology services. The hospital has a helipad on site and air ambulance service is available through Grants/Milan Airport. A recently completed medical office complex, the Cibola Family Health Center allows for more doctors in the area. Acoma Canoncito Laguna Hospital (ACL), located in Acoma, is operated by Indian Health Services.
Cibola County housing is predominately single-family, detached units with over 77% of families owning their home. Multi-unit structures account for only 9.5%. Housing can be purchased from $30,000 to $300,000 for custom ranch homes.
- Outdoor recreation - Backpacking, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ATV access, kayacking, small boating, golfing
- Arts and culture - Cibola Arts Council, Double Six Gallery, Native Basket Array, El Morro Area Arts Council,
- History and museums - Acoma Sky City Cultural Center, Grants Mining Museum, Aviation Heritage Museum, Northwest New Mexico Visitors Center, Fence Lake Community Museum, Cibola County History Museum
- Community Events - Mt. Taylor Quadrathalon, 4th of July Parade & Rodeos, Seven Trails of Gold outdoor festival, Quartz Crusher Mountain Bike Race, Milan Triathalon, Tour de Acoma, Mt. Taylor 50k, Christmas Parade of Lights
- National Monuments and State Parks - El Malpais National Monument, El Morro National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Cibola National Forest, Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Bluewater Lake State Park
- Area Points of Interest - Acoma Sky City, Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano, Wild Spirit Wolf Santuary, Los Portales Shrine
- National Register of Historic Places in Cibola County – Acoma Curio Shop, San Fidel; Bowlin’s Old Crater Trading Post, Bluewater; Candelaria Pueblo, Grants; Route 66 Rural Historic District-Laguna to McCartys, Cubero; Route 66-State maintained from McCartys to Grants, Grants; Route 66-State maintained from Milan to Continental Divide, Continental Divide; Zuni-Cibola Complex, Zuni Pueblo
- Village of Milan offers a natatorium, a multi-purpose gymnasium, two community rooms (accommodating 250 and 125 people respectively) and three parks.
- City of Grants offers a community college, a public library, a senior citizens center, an art gallery, a museum, two sports complexes, 10 parks and picnic areas, a skate park, a rollerskating rink, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and an 18-hole golf course for public use just off Interstate 40.
- Cibola County offers multiple diverse communities for rural or urban settings as well as two rural community centers, a rural museum, and an art gallery. Two Casinos are also located at the Pueblo of Acoma and the Pueblo of Laguna.
Government and Taxation
Cibola County Commission provides leadership for the rural areas of the county along with the Pueblo of Acoma and Laguna Pueblo. The City of Grants is a home ruled charter city and has various business opportunities; Cibola Foundation, Inc. holds the Cibola Industrial Park with existing infrastructure and interstate access. The City of Grants has a master plan in place with Main Street for downtown revitalization and a master site plan for Grants Public Library. The Village of Milan holds 800 acres for the Milan Farm with significant water rights, interstate access and a master plan in place for a vision of a future rail spur. Much of the county’s land is owned by federal, state and pueblo governments, with ownership held by the National Monuments, National Parks, and State land offices. There are three existing land grants: Cubero, Seboyeta, and Juan Tafoya. Cibola County’s annual budget is approximately $15,000,000, which comes from property taxes and federal payments in lieu of taxes. The City of Grants and the Village of Milan have their Local Economic Development Act incentives updated.
Local Gross Receipts Tax
- Grants - 8.25%
- Milan - 7.75%
- Remainder of the county - 6.8125%
New Mexico State University at Grants is a two-year college providing post-secondary education and work force development programs in film, mining, nursing, and business which match the needs of employers throughout the region’s business and government entities. The campus also offers a GED program, adult basic education services, dual enrollment classes, and bachelors degrees through distance education. NMSU-Grants provides a gymnasium, a library, and an auditorium.
Cibola County is in northwest New Mexico in the Colorado Plateau. It is bisected by the Continental Divide where the Rio San Jose and the Rio Puerco run east to Albuquerque; only 1 hour 14 minutes and 77 miles from Grants/Milan. Gallup is 1 hour and 66 miles to the west of Grants/Milan; and 79 miles to the Arizona state line. Farmington is 137 miles to the north and the gateway to the Four Corners area.
|Mileage Chart to Major Cities/Markets||Distance|
|El Paso||378 miles|
|Los Angeles||688 miles|
Interstate 40 passes through the northeast corner of Cibola County east and west from Albuquerque to Arizona.
Hwy 53 allows visitors from Arizona to pass through the Pueblo of Zuni and Zuni Mountains.
Other arteries connect the Pueblo of Acoma and Laguna Pueblo to Interstate 40 with Historic Route 66 that runs parallel to Interstate 40.
Highway 36 from Highway 53 to Highway 60 in Catron County services the Southwest portion of the county.
Commercial airline carriers at Albuquerque International Sunport
Grants/Milan Airport offers a helicopter pad as well as a runway for larger private planes.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe – freight
Amtrak – passenger service out of Gallup and Albuquerque
City of Grants Municipal Water System
Village of Milan Municipal Water
Village of San Rafael Water District
Bluewater Water and Sanitation District
Fence Lake Community Water Association
Bluewater Acres Community Water Association.
City of Grants Wastewater System
Solid Waste Disposal
Northwest Solid Waste Authority
New Mexico Gas Company
Fiber optic infrastructure is available through Century
Link supported Competitive Local Exchange Carrier.