Introduction to Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in Sandoval county, is 12 miles N of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's regarded as the economic center for the county. It's the third largest city in the state. The northeast portion of the city is bordered by the Rio Grande. Intel is the largest employer. Services, the government and retail are major factors for the economy. Rio Rancho features a high-desert climate.

Rio Rancho History

The area was included in the Alameda Grant which was established by the Spanish in 1710. By the early 20th century a vast amount of the land was purchased by land investment firms. AMREP Southwest Inc. bought a large acreage and constructed a major housing development during the 1960's. Between 1970 and 1980 the population of Rio Rancho experienced substantial growth. Since the 1990's the city decided to rely less on the city of Albuquerque by establishing its own school and library systems and bringing new businesses to the city.

Rio Rancho Attractions

  • The Casa San Ysidfro & San Ysidfro Church site includes a beautiful Spanish Colonial style rancho, which features notable New Mexico artifacts.
  • Coronado State Monument includes a visitor center which showcases pre-historic as well as Indian and Spanish colonial relics.
  • Jemez State Monument is a pre-historic site which includes the ruins of an old Indian village and the huge, historic Catholic Mission, known as San Jose de Los Jemez Church.
  • Casino Sandia.
  • Santa Ana Star Center is popular for a variety of events.
  • The New Mexico Scorpions play minor league hockey.
  • San Felipe's Casino Hollywood.
  • Blades Multiplex Arena.
  • The nearby Indian Pueblos are popular tourist destinations.
  • Santa Ana Star Casino.
  • J&R Vintage Automobile Museum.
  • National Hispanic Cultural Center features traditional and contemporary art and provides dance and theatrical performances and other events.
  • Local shops offer hand-crafted jewelry and Southwestern art and crafts.

Rio Rancho Activities

Residents enjoy the numerous parks, trails, bicycle paths and open space located in the city. Golf enthusiasts enjoy playing golf all year long at the numerous courses. The scenic Jemez Mountains includes water falls, warm springs and attractive meadows. The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument offers trails running through canyons, and features huge cone-shaped formations made from pumice. The top of the Tent Ricks Trail offers spectacular views.

The nearby Sandia Peak Tramway is one of the longest aerial tramways in the world. The top of Sandia Peak provides wonderful views. Astronomy enthusiasts enjoy the views from the nearby desert hills. Hot air balloon rides are available. There are numerous locations for mountain biking. The paved trail situated along the Rio Grand River is popular with residents.

Fishing opportunities are available at the nearby lakes and streams. The scenic Luz Trail traverses through a desert landscape, a forest area, alpine meadows and impressive boulder fields. The nearby Sandia Ski Area is a popular destination. The scenic "Bosque," located near the Rio Grande features ancient cottonwood trees and opportunities to see wildlife, including bald eagles, coyotes and beavers.


Total Population 91,807
Male Share of the Population 49.2%
Female Share of the Population 50.8%
Senior Citizens 12.5%
Employed Population 16+ 40,290
Age of the Population 37


% of people married 50.5%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 28.3%
Median Earnings25+ $37,153
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $23,341
Median Earnings With High School Degree $31,537


Median Family Income $69,979
% Above Poverty Level 88.6%
% Below Poverty Level 11.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 29 minutes
% Working from Home 3.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1%
% Using Public Transportation 1.2%


People Living Alone 24.3%
Median Gross Rent $1,071
Median House Value $173,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 50.7%
US/American 0%
English 9.4%
Irish 9.1%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rio Rancho Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 12 miles N of Albuquerque, New Mexico
County Sandoval
Metro Area Albuquerque
Standard Zip Codes 87124, 87144
P.O. Box Zip Codes 87174
Phone Area Codes 505
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 35.26
Longitude -106.705

Rio Rancho Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 6.2 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 48 F
Apr Temp 34 to 71 F
Jul Temp 58 to 90 F
Oct Temp 36 to 70 F
Annual Precip 9.2 inches
Distance 15.7 miles
Jan Temp 24 to 48 F
Apr Temp 41 to 71 F
Jul Temp 65 to 92 F
Oct Temp 44 to 71 F
Annual Precip 9.4 inches
Station CUBERO
Distance 47.5 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 47 F
Apr Temp 32 to 66 F
Jul Temp 55 to 88 F
Oct Temp 34 to 69 F
Annual Precip 10.6 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Rio Rancho, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Panorama Heights (87124)

Rancho West (87124)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Albuquerque 556,092 $59,513
Bernalillo 8,522 $49,342
Corrales 8,455 $94,238
Tijeras 530 $87,321

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Rio Rancho Public Libraries

Rio Rancho Public Library
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
(505) 891-5013
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

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Rio Rancho High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 2,517 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

A Non-traditional School
Serves 384 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.6

Additional Details
Rio Rancho Colleges
Rio Rancho colleges and trade schools.
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