Capitan Mountains

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Location of the Capitan Mountains within New Mexico

The Capitan Mountains are a mountain range in Lincoln County, in south-central New Mexico in the southwestern United States. The range is about 20 miles (32 km) long from east to west and about 6 miles (10 km) wide, formed from a large, elongated granite intrusion similar to the round one that produced Carrizo Mountain to the west.

Tahoe National Forest Fire Engine 731 and Crew in June 1990. Capitan Mountains are in the distance behind the Engine and the sign.

The small town of Capitan, on the southwestern side of the mountains, is the location of Smokey Bear Historical Park, which memorializes the famous bear that was rescued from the Capitan Gap Fire in the Capitan Mountains. The highest point in the range is an unnamed peak that reaches 10,201 feet (3139 m), 118 feet (36 m) higher than Capitan Peak. The entirety of the range lies within Lincoln National Forest and is separated from the Sacramento Mountains to the south and Sierra Blanca to the southwest by the valley of Rio Bonito.

The Spanish used to use this mountain range as a landmark (due to it being the only East to West mountain range in New Mexico) on their way between Mexico and Santa Fe.[citation needed]

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Coordinates: 33°36′38″N 105°24′48″W / 33.61056°N 105.41333°W / 33.61056; -105.41333