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Southwest Basins and Ranges

Range TypeBogus mountain grouping for this site
Highest PointSierra Blanca Peak (11,973 ft/3649 m)
CountriesUnited States (73%), Mexico (27%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
States/ProvincesArizona (30%), New Mexico (27%), Sonora (25%), Texas (16%), Chihuahua (1%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area205,503 sq mi / 532,252 sq km
Area may include lowland areas
Extent599 mi / 964 km North-South
804 mi / 1,294 km East-West
Center Lat/Long31° 52' N; 108° 12' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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"Southwest Basin and Ranges" is the vague term this site uses for the countless small mountain ranges of southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, far western Texas, and the Mexican state of Sonora. Even though it is classified as part of the Intermountain West, this area is so far south that there are no longer any Sierra Nevada or Rockies to be between any more.

The main unity this area posesses is geologic. It is basin-and-range territory, characterized by endless waves of parallel ranges rising from dry plains, exactly like the Great Basin. However, this area is largely separated from the Great Basin by the massive, high uplift of the Colorado Plateau, and is much hotter and lower in elevation than the basins and ranges to the north.

Calling this area "Southwest" is problematical, too, since that is the most vague directional term used to describe a section of the United States. Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are the core of "The Southwest", but southern California is geographically far more southwest than, say, Texas, and the term is applied in varying degrees to parts of Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and sometimes even Missouri, former headquarters of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.

So we are left with this area as a logical unit, obviously not part of the Rockies, Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, Pacific Ranges, or Mexican Sierra Madre, instead filling up the irregular space between these more well-defined areas. The far eastern edge of the area is in many ways an topographic southward extension of the Rocky Mountains, and the Guadalupe Mountains or the Big Bend is sometimes called the southernmost extention of the Rockies. But those areas are so much lower and more isolated than the high Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies that to me they are clearly part of the grab-bag of the Southwest Basins and Ranges.

Map of Southwest Basins and Ranges
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
Click Here for a Full Screen Map

Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Southwest Basins and Ranges.
Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Parent)
         British Columbia InteriorLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Columbia MountainsLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Columbia PlateauLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Great Basin RangesLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Colorado PlateauLevel 3 (Sibling)
         Southwest Basins and RangesLevel 3
                 Northwest Arizona RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 North Sonoran Desert RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 South Sonoran Desert RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 Southeast Arizona RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 Southwest New Mexico RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 Southeast New Mexico RangesLevel 4 (Child)
                 Trans-Pecos Texas RangesLevel 4 (Child)



Major Peaks of the Southwest Basins and Ranges

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NameftmRange4
1.Sierra Blanca Peak11,9733649Southeast New Mexico Ranges
2.Lookout Mountain11,5803530Southeast New Mexico Ranges
3.White Mountain Wilderness High Point11,3003444Southeast New Mexico Ranges
4.Whitewater Baldy10,8953321Southwest New Mexico Ranges
5.Willow Mountain10,7853287Southwest New Mexico Ranges
6.South Baldy10,7833287Southwest New Mexico Ranges
7.Mogollon Baldy10,7703283Southwest New Mexico Ranges
8.Buck Mountain10,7693282Southeast New Mexico Ranges
9.Mount Graham10,7203267Southeast Arizona Ranges
10.Sandia Crest10,6783255Southeast New Mexico Ranges
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NameftmRange4
1.Sierra Blanca Peak11,9733649Southeast New Mexico Ranges
2.Whitewater Baldy10,8953321Southwest New Mexico Ranges
3.Mount Graham10,7203267Southeast Arizona Ranges
4.Guadalupe Peak87492667Trans-Pecos Texas Ranges
5.Cerro las Flores8596+2620+South Sonoran Desert Ranges
6.Hualapai Peak84172566Northwest Arizona Ranges
7.Baboquivari Peak77342357North Sonoran Desert Ranges



Photos of Peaks in the Southwest Basins and Ranges

Mount Graham
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Mount Graham from Roper Lake State Park (2014-03-22). Photo by Paul McClellan.
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Mount Wrightson
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Mount Wrightson has a very pleasing and classic profile in this view from nearby Mount Ian (2013-12-06).
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Guadalupe Peak

Guadalupe Peak, Texas, is crowned with a metal pyramid monument (1989-05-06).
Mica Mountain
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Mica Mountain from Rincon Peak (2009-04-25). Photo by Ken Jones.
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Rincon Peak
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Rincon Peak from the north (2009-04-25). Photo by Ken Jones.
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Baldy Peak
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Baldy Peak Summit Mount Livermore Davis Mountains Preserve Fort Davis TX (2014-07-12). Photo by Brian Maddix.
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Emory Peak
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Emory Peak, Texas, looking south from a shelter at Chisos Basin Campground (2012-01-29). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
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Bassett Peak
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Bassett Peak from along the trail (2009-04-24). Photo by Ken Jones.
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Richman Mountain
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Shot of Livermore/Baldy from Richman Mountain summit in Davis Mountain Preserve (2014-08-17). Photo by Matt Sedlak.
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Mount Glenn
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Mount Glenn from its northeast ridge--typical desert terrain of the western USA (2011-03-18). Photo by Ken Jones.
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