Thoreau, New Mexico

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Thoreau (Navajo: Dlǫ́ʼí Yázhí) is a census-designated place (CDP) in McKinley County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,863 at the 2000 census.

Practically all residents pronounce the town's name like "thuh-ROO" (similar to "through" or "threw") and definitely not like "thorough" or "throw." The town is also not named for Henry David Thoreau, the transcendentalist author, though this is a common misconception. A history of the town was compiled by local author Roxanne Trout Heath in her book "Thoreau, where the trails cross!" published in 1982.

The ZIP code for Thoreau is 87323.



Thoreau is located at 35°24′52″N 108°13′25″W / 35.414370°N 108.223594°W / 35.414370; -108.223594 (35.414370, -108.223594).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.2 km2), all of it land.

Thoreau sits at an altitude of approximately 2,200 meters (7,200 ft) above sea level, and located 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of the continental divide.

Thoreau lies along Interstate 40 and the historic U.S. Route 66. New Mexico State Highways 122, 371, and 612 also pass through or terminate here. Additionally, the town is located along two natural gas pipelines and a major railway.

The climate in Thoreau is desert, with sparse vegetation typical of the region. Common plants include pinyon pine and juniper trees, sagebrush, tumbleweeds, and some short, sparse grasses. The four seasons are well pronounced. Summers are relatively mild, due to Thoreau's high elevation and persistently low humidities. Maximum temperatures do not usually exceed about 33 °C (about 90 °F). The southwest monsoon brings thunderstorms with frequent lightning in July and August. Autumn is pleasant with warm days and cool nights. Winter is marked by frequent snowstorms, with minimum temperatures sometimes dropping to about -15 °C (about 0 °F) or colder. Cold, persistent, very high winds are common in Spring, usually through much of the month of March.

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