White Rock, New Mexico

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White Rock, New Mexico
Sign at entrance to White Rock
Sign at entrance to White Rock
Location of White Rock, New Mexico
Location of White Rock, New Mexico
White Rock, New Mexico is located in the United States
White Rock, New Mexico
White Rock, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°49′10″N 106°12′17″W / 35.81944°N 106.20472°W / 35.81944; -106.20472Coordinates: 35°49′10″N 106°12′17″W / 35.81944°N 106.20472°W / 35.81944; -106.20472
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
CountyLos Alamos
 • Total7.2 sq mi (18.6 km2)
 • Land7.2 sq mi (18.6 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
6,365 ft (1,940 m)
 • Total5,725
 • Density795.1/sq mi (304.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)505
FIPS code35-84740
GNIS feature ID0912322

White Rock is a place in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States. It is one of two population centers in the county known as census-designated places (CDPs); the other is Los Alamos (the county seat). The population was 6,045 at the 2000 census. It is largely a bedroom community for employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory and their families. Access to White Rock from the town of Los Alamos and other cities and towns in New Mexico is via New Mexico State Road 4, which forms the northwestern boundary of the community. Administratively, White Rock is a neighborhood of Los Alamos; locals refer to Los Alamos (meaning not White Rock) as "the Townsite," or "the Hill".


In 1947 the United States Atomic Energy Commission acquired land from the United States Forest Service to build a temporary community to house construction workers. That community was the first White Rock, which was abandoned by 1953. By 1958 all of the old White Rock buildings had been demolished or removed. The second and present White Rock was begun in 1962.


White Rock is located at 35°49′10″N 106°12′17″W / 35.81944°N 106.20472°W / 35.81944; -106.20472 (35.819439, -106.204779).[2] Elevation is 6,365 feet (1,940 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 7.2 square miles (19 km2), all of it land.

White Rock Canyon[edit]

White Rock Canyon, viewed from the White Rock Overlook. The trees on the banks of the Rio Grande display their fall colors.

Largely undeveloped, the canyon provides a wilderness recreation area heavily used by residents of White Rock and Santa Fe, as well as visitors from around the world. White Rock Canyon was carved through basalt and tuff by the south-flowing Rio Grande. The canyon follows the Rio Grande from Otowi and stretches to Cochiti Dam connecting many other smaller canyons such Los Alamos, Mortandad, Water, Ancho, Frijoles, and Capulin Canyon. White Rock is situated on a portion of the west side of the canyon along with Bandolier National Monument, a section of Los Alamos National laboratory, San Ildefonso Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, and Santa Fe National Forest. Across the river to the east rises the Caja del Rio.

For a few decades the Chili Line, a narrow gauge railroad, ran on the east bank of the river as far south as the mouth of Diablo Canyon; some day the Rio Grande Trail may occupy the abandoned right of way.

Averaging 1,000 feet (300 m) deep, the canyon provides spectacular vistas, rugged terrain and home to rare plant species as well as endangered animal species. Along the rim of the canyon are also many basalt cliffs that are used by rock climbers.[3]

White Rock Canyon Rim Trail[edit]

  • Distance: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) one way
  • Elevation: 6,300 to 6,400 feet (2,000 m)
  • Elevation Change: 100 feet (30 m)
  • Fitness Level: Easy
  • Seasons: All seasons
  • Trail Surface: Rocks and packed dirt
  • Hazards: Cliffs, rattlesnakes

Blue Dot Trail[edit]

The Rio Grande at the end of the Blue Dot Trail, looking south

The trailhead begins about 100 yards southwest of the overlook viewing platform, and is accessible from a small parking lot at the end of the last side road branching east off Overlook Road. Partway to the river a meadow lies on top of a large Toreva block bench (a large piece of terrain which has moved downhill as a unit). At the midway point, the material underfoot changes from dark sharp basaltic rocks to light rounded granitic stones. The trail passes a large spring seeping from scree as the trail nears the Rio Grande. This water and water from the river are not safe to drink.

  • Distance: 1.1-mile (1.8 km) one way
  • Elevation: 5,450 to 6,250 feet (1,900 m)
  • Elevation Change: 800 feet (240 m)
  • Fitness Level: Strenuous, but short
  • Seasons: All seasons, except after heavy snow
  • Trail Surface: Rocky and steep trail
  • Hazards: Cliffs, loose footing, swift river

Red Dot Trail[edit]

This petroglyph of a Mountain Lion appears along the upper section of the Red Dot trail.

This trail, also known as Pajarito Springs Trail, is accessible from Piedra Loop in La Senda. Numerous petroglyphs appear along the way, unseen by many hikers concentrating on their footing on this very steep and challenging trail. The rock drawings are varied in style, from Kokopelli to abstract and geometric designs. The local Tewa may have imported some designs from Native Americans of the Great Plains. The Pajarito Springs are several in number and combine to form a small creek flowing into a pool via a small waterfall. The trail continues to the Rio Grande.

  • Distance: 1.0-mile (1.6 km) one way
  • Elevation: 5,500 to 6,300 feet (1,900 m)
  • Elevation Change: 800 feet (240 m)
  • Fitness Level: Strenuous, but short
  • Seasons: All seasons, except after heavy snow
  • Trail Surface: Very rocky trail
  • Hazards: Cliffs, loose footing, swift river

River Trail[edit]

  • Distance: 3.2 miles (5.1 km) one way
  • Elevation: 5,400 to 5,500 feet (1,700 m)
  • Elevation Change: 100 feet (30 m)
  • Fitness Level: Easy
  • Skill Level: Sections of the trail require route-finding ability
  • Seasons: All seasons, except after heavy snow
  • Trail Surface: Sand, river cobbles and rocks
  • Hazards: Swift river


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 6,045 people, 2,226 households, and 1,860 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 841.9 people per square mile (325.1/km²). There were 2,282 housing units at an average density of 317.8 per square mile (122.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.75% White, 0.25% African American, 0.53% Native American, 2.68% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.87% from other races, and 1.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.59% of the population.

There were 2,226 households out of which 38.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.2% were married couples living together, 3.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.4% were non-families. 13.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 34.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $92,813, and the median income for a family was $96,716. Males had a median income of $77,216 versus $44,145 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $36,288. About 1.1% of families and 1.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.4% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.

White Rock Master Plan[edit]

The commercial center of White Rock has been in decline since approximately 1990, due in part to loss of retail revenues to the Internet and to "big box" stores in nearby communities. Los Alamos County recently began a major effort to revitalize the White Rock commercial center by improving infrastructure and seeking to attract new businesses. Part of the motivation for this effort is the transfer to Los Alamos County of Department of Energy lands just north of State Road 4. The revitalization effort has emphasized community input and is presently being driven by the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee, with the support of the County Council.[5]

Community Parks and Tot Lots[edit]

Overlook Park[edit]

  • playground
  • 1 youth baseball field (non-lighted)
  • 2 youth baseball fields (lighted)
  • 5 softball fields (non-lighted)
  • 1 softball field (lighted)
  • 4 soccer fields (non-lighted)
  • 3 independent picnic areas
  • 1 dog park
  • 1 rc car track
  • 1 area viewing platform (the overlook)

Piñon Park[edit]

  • playground
  • 2 full basketball courts
  • 3 tennis courts
  • 1 skateboard park
  • Disk Golf Course

Rover Park[edit]

  • playground
  • 1 full basketball court
  • 2 tennis courts
  • 1 soccer field (non-lighted)

Jeffrey Tot Lot[edit]

  • playground

Mountain Meadows Tot Lot[edit]

  • playground


  • Piñon Elementary School
  • Chamisa Elementary School


  1. ^ "Zipdatamaps". Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  3. ^ "White Rock Climbing Areas". Los Alamos Mountaineers. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "White Rock Master Plan". Los Alamos County. Retrieved 2009-11-10.

Hoard, Dorothy (1981). Los Alamos Outdoors. Los Alamos, New Mexico: The Los Alamos Historical Society. ISBN 0-941232-03-4.

External links[edit]