Engle, New Mexico

Old Schoolhouse/Church in Engle, New Mexico

There’s not much to Engle nowadays and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Located on Highway 51, what was once a bustling town of upwards of half of a thousand people is nearly entirely deserted today. While the BNSF railway goes right through town and the headquarters of Armendaris Ranch (owned by Ted Turner) is visible. But the most prominent building, or at least what appears to be the most imposing, is the old schoolhouse / church / miscellaneous building. Who knows who owns it but it appears to be in decent shape. Fifteen miles or so miles south of Engle is Spaceport America. Perhaps when space tourism takes off, Engle might take off with it.

About a mile or so west of Engle is the original route of the Jornada del Muerto, or the Journey of Death – aptly named due to this being the most difficult stretch of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Not only was it – and still is – terribly dry, but when the Spaniards/Mexicans invaded this land, there were Native inhabitants who did not take too kindly of being abused and they appropriately made this route a difficult journey for the invaders. This was also ostensibly the same route Confederate General Sibley took to the Battle of Valverde – arguably the most important Civil War battle in the West – which occurred just north of Fort Craig.

All in all the drive to Engle from Truth or Consequences is worth it if you have the time and don’t expect to see much of anything. If you’re on a bike, it would be a pretty nice, mostly flat ride from the Elephant Butte Dam Village to Engle. For me, it was kind of interesting to spend a few seconds imagining what it would have been like as a person living in the 1500s-1880s traveling this route.