Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the history of this area? How did the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley ranch community get its start?
The ranches are near the historic mining towns of Hillsboro, Kingston and Lake Valley. When the heyday of gold and silver mining played out in the late 1800’s, ranching provided a more stable, economic base for the area. In fact, some of the ranches are still owned by original ranch family descendants.
Fast forward to today — the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley ranch community is part of conservation land established though a partnership between the ranch owner/developer and New Mexico Land Conservancy in the 2004 -2008 timeframe. There are currently 34 custom homes, including true adobe, rammed earth, log home, and traditional frame construction. More information on how the ranch community got its start at this link.
2. Are these second homes or are the residents living here year-round? From where did people move?
There are 34 homes at the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley ranch community. The community is the primary residence for most of the homeowners. There are a few properties being used as second homes. The homeowners are a people who work in the local area or have professions where they can work from home, and a mix of new and seasoned retirees. Broadband internet services at the ranch allow several of us to work remotely.
People living at the ranch come from near and far, including Albuquerque, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, and California.
3. The ranch community looks very remote. What do the people do all day?
Yes, the ranches are very remote. When friends and relatives come to visit and see the remote landscape of the ranch, they often ask me, “What do people do out here all day?”. It’s hard to generalize what keeps the ranch residents busy on a daily basis, but it’s safe to say everyone in this community moved here to enjoy a remote, yet comfortable, lifestyle. The beauty of southern New Mexico high desert makes the community an ideal location for active retirement, work from home, or part-time residence.
When I think about my neighbors at Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley, the list of hobbies and recreational interests seems endless. I know amateur astronomers and photographers, hikers, tennis lovers, horse lovers, birders, quilters, artists, a Native American artifact enthusiast, a musician, a horse trainer, wildlife lovers, a pigeon keeper, woodworking and metal art hobbyists, a fine art photographer, Internet junkies, those who love to cook and garden, coffee snobs, EMTs, mahjong players, people learning Spanish, sport game hunters, private plane hobbyists, Hillsboro Community Library board members, public lands protection advocates, as well as volunteers for the Hillsboro Fire Department, Deming Animal Shelter, Hillsboro Community Center, and Komen Race for the Cure. Whew!
4. What is the HOA responsible for?
The homeowner associations at both Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley maintain the HOA roads, approve new construction design plans, and conduct the business of the respective HOA’s. If you would like to review a copy of the HOA covenants please contact us.
5. How restrictive are the HOA covenants?
From my experience, the covenants are as restrictive as HOA communities I have lived in more populated areas of the country. Several prospective property buyers have asked why. In remote locations like this, my husband and I have seen plenty of examples of HOA subdivisions with pockets of sketchy looking manufactured homes, DIY house scenes, and homeowners setting up retail businesses on their property. When we were looking for a second home in New Mexico six years ago we concluded that the HOA covenants for this community were a good fit for us because they were primarily restrictive of development and changes that would negatively affect our property value, privacy, and our ability to recreate on the ranch land and adjacent public lands. If you would like to review a copy of the HOA covenants please contact us.
6. What type of recreational access do residents have to ranch and public lands?
Recreation, wildlife, and the wide-open views of the Black Range foothills are why many of the residents have made their home at Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley. The ranch and adjacent public lands provide an amazing opportunity to explore a beautiful, remote part of New Mexico. Homeowners use the ranch and public lands for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and sport game hunting as well as bird, wildflower, ancient artifact, and wildlife observation. Direct access to the Gila National Forest is available from Berrenda Road. These maps show the public lands surrounding the ranches. Depending on what type of recreation you are planning, permits may be required — even for residents. This link details when New Mexico residents need a permit to access public lands from the ranch community. If you would like to review a copy of the Berrenda Creek Ranch or Lake Valley Ranch Recreation Use Easement please contact us.
7. Can I pasture horses?
When the ranch community was developed many of the first residents built their home and brought their horses to this beautiful part of New Mexico. Today, several of the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley properties are set up with barns and corrals. The ranch land provides a great off-road training ground for navigating trails, ditches and arroyo’s with your horse. People considering a horse property at the ranch community often want to know what the HOA covenants say about adding outbuildings and the pasturing of horses. These topics are covered in the covenants documents. You can request a copy using the contact form
8. Are hunting and firearms permitted?
People considering a home at the ranch community often want to know what the covenants say about hunting and the use of firearms. Hunting on the adjacent public lands is permitted in accordance with New Mexico Game and Fish. These maps show the public lands surrounding the ranches. The topics of firearms and hunting on the HOA common land are covered in the covenants documents. You can request a copy using the contact form.
9. How large are the ranches and is there a map showing the private ranch and adjacent private lands?
Berrenda Creek Ranch is approximately 24,000 acres and Lake Valley Ranch is approximately 50,000 acres. These maps show the proximity of the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley ranches to the adjacent public lands.
10. Are there crime and security problems at the Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley Ranch Community?
This is a good question for anyone buying a home in any part of the U.S., but given the remoteness of the ranch and proximity to the Mexican border, it is a very astute question. Over the weekend, I decided to connect with a few of the residents at the ranch to ask about their experience. The feedback came fast and furious to my inbox. In summary, residents told me that they recognize that there are parts of southern New Mexico that have security issues related to crime and drug trade; that said, residents say that they feel safe at the ranch and were very willing to cite their individual experiences. Some take daily precautions and others indicate that they don’t take any precautions at all. And finally, there seems to be an informal community watch in place to keep and eye out for unusual behavior that might pose a security risk.
11. What’s the weather like?
This is the high desert of southern New Mexico. Mild winters and cool summer evenings at 5,300-foot elevation offer a comfortable four seasons climate to residents and the diverse vegetation is ideal for cattle and wildlife. The average temperature in January is 45˚F and 87˚F in July; of course, there is very little humidity all year long. This location has 300+ days of sunshine and 13″ of annual rainfall, on average. Most of the rain comes to the ranch during the summer monsoons during July and August. The weather statistics say that we get 6″ of snow, but I have not seen that much snow in the five years we have lived here.
12. I'm an amateur astronomer. How dark are the skies?
We are starting to get this question a lot. Here is feedback from my husband, the amateur astronomer in the family.
“The link below shows the dark sky map for Berrenda Creek ranch and vicinity. The cross marks the location of one of the houses on the ranch. The map, which is calculated, shows Berrenda skies to be Bortle 2. I measure the sky brightness with a Unihedron Sky Quality Meter with an angle of acceptance of 20deg and get about 21.6 Mags/sq arcsec at zenith, which corresponds to Bortle 4 and fits the description stated in the map notes. From Berrenda, cities of Las Cruces and El Paso line up towards the southeast. Their light dome extends to about 15degs alt. Other than that dome there are no other domes of any significance present.” Here’s the link.
13. What are the roads like? Do I need a four-wheel drive
Both ranches are accessible from Hwy 27, a paved road and part of the New Mexico scenic back country byways. The roads at Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley are dirt and the respective homeowners associations maintain these roads. Sierra County maintains Berrenda Road and Horse Thief Pass. Both of the county roads are dirt and they cut through Berrenda Creek Ranch. If you visit the ranch, you’ll find that the HOA-maintained roads are in better shape than the County roads.With any high clearance four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle, you generally do not need to worry about getting around the ranch roads.
14. How is the well water supply?
The drilling of domestic wells has been successful at Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley Ranch communities. All homeowners were provided with a permitted well when they purchased their property from the developer. Well output varies around the ranch. At my house, we have a 8-gpm well output and we drink our well water.
15. Are there telephone, cable TV, Internet, and cell phone services available? Do FedX, UPS, and USPS deliver to the ranches?
The Berrenda Creek Ranch community has broadband Internet and phone service from a newly installed microwave canopy system provided by Windstream. Windstream standard rates apply to this rural installation. Satellite TV service is available through Direct TV and Hughes.
The Lake Valley Ranch community has access to satellite Internet and TV services through Hughes and Direct TV. For phone service, some of the homeowners use the Windstream microwave canopy system mentioned above and others have a Windstream radio-based service.
Cell phone services are available on the ranches from national carriers. The coverage varies depending on where you are on the ranch and there are some dead spots.
UPS, FedEx, and USPS deliver to the ranches and there is a post office in Hillsboro
More information at this link.
16. What about health services?
In Deming and Truth or Consequences there are hospitals with community health facilities and emergency services. Mimbres Memorial Hospital is located one hour south in Deming, while Sierra Vista Hospital is one hour north in Truth or Consequences.
A more extensive selection of health services, including university and private hospitals as well as medical specialists, are available in Las Cruces (1.5 hours away) and Albuquerque (three hours away).
The Hillsboro Fire Department offers 7×24 ambulance service through Sierra County. I needed the service on a Sunday night a few years ago. The 911 call was dispatched to TorC and the ambulance picked up the EMTs in Hillsboro. I am really glad to know that there are trained EMTs available for health emergencies.
17. What is the closest airport
Airports are far away, so you need to plan ahead when travelling. The Albuquerque International Sunport is 195 miles north, about three hours on I-25 North. The El Paso International Airport is 125 miles south, about two hours on I-25 South. Deming has a municipal airport for private planes.
18. Tell me more about the cattle operation and grazing rights. How does this impact the residents?
The Berrenda Creek and Lake Valley ranches include both residential homes and open rangeland. Heritage Cattle Company currently runs cattle on both ranches and the adjacent public lands.
Residents are not involved in the cattle business, but there is plenty to enjoy about living on a working cattle ranch. In the spring we see the cattle return from their winter grazing grounds to enjoy the high desert grasses on the ranch. During the summer and fall, the herd is moved to different grazing areas. Occasionally, I can see the cattle from my house, but more typically I see them at a distance in the pastures and especially near the water drinkers. It’s just part of a great day out hiking when I come upon a group of cattle shading themselves under a tree. Throughout the year, we see cowboys on horseback and in ranch vehicles doing routine maintenance, including trail improvement, fence mending, and checking water drinkers.
If you visit the ranches, you will see that many homeowners have opted to fence their building envelope to prevent cattle from being too close to their house and outbuildings. If you would like to know more about the grazing reservations, request a copy of the conservation easement deeds using the contact form.
19. Are there local contractors to call if you need maintenance at your property? Do UPS, FedEx, and USPS deliver? What about trash and recycling?
We are very fortunate to have a few local contractors at the ranches for handyman jobs, including minor plumbing, electrical repair, welding, excavation, driveway maintenance, housecleaning, and landscaping. A larger labor pool from nearby Deming, Hatch, TorC, and Las Cruces will come to the ranch for larger construction, landscaping, electrical, A/C maintenance, plumbing, and septic jobs.
UPS, FedEx, and USPS deliver to the ranches and there is a post office in Hillsboro.There is a local transfer station in Hillsboro for dumping trash and recycling.
20. Can I review the HOA covenant and conservation easement deed documents?
Yes. I can email you the documents. Request a copy using the contact form.
If you have additional questions or need help arranging a visit to the area, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.