Pie Town: New Mexico’s Small Town with a Big Reputation

A slice of pie in Pie Town New Mexico

How far would you travel for a slice of fresh, home-baked pie? If you’re like me, you’ll spend a day traveling 400 miles to get your hands on some of the most enchanting desserts you can find in New Mexico’s high desert. Pie Town, a small community built on a big reputation of having the best pies you can find in New Mexico, is worthy of a road trip.

You’ve got to go to Pie Town. It’s literally a couple of buildings in the middle of nowhere, and they have all types of pie,” a friend told me. That was enough for me to plan a road trip.

If you’re looking for a scenic drive to bypass the interstate, a day trip from Albuquerque, or simply an excuse to eat some pie, here are a few things you should know about Pie Town, New Mexico.

Sign outside of a business in Pie Town New Mexico

“The Town that Pie Built”

Pie Town has been a destination for motorists for 100 years. In the 1920s, a man named Clyde Norman made his way to the area, and eventually opened a general store and began serving dried apple pies. At the time, “Norman’s Place”  was the only building in the town, but eventually grew into a small high desert community of ranchers and homesteaders. The town’s reputation for pies grew, and soon people were traveling from all over the country to sample their famous desserts, giving the town its official name.

Today, Pie Town is a small, quiet community that is home to fewer than 150 people according to a 2020 census. Despite its remote location, 100 years later, people are still drawn to Pie Town for their food.

Helpful Tips for Planning A Trip to Pie Town, New Mexico

Pie Town is a remote, small town in western New Mexico on U.S. Highway 60. The nearest “big city” is Albuquerque, at 2.5 hours (160 miles) away.

Gas is available 22 miles west in Quemando, and 22 miles east in Datil.

Nearby Attractions:

  • Very Large Array: The most powerful radio telescope in the world is 45 minutes east of Pie Town along U.S. Highway 60.
  • Arizona’s Coronado Trail Scenic Byway: Better known as “The Devil’s Highway” to locals, this National Scenic Byway twists and turns through Arizona’s White Mountains on the Eastern edge of the state via Highway 191. The Northern terminus of the byway is roughly one hour (70 Miles) West of Pie Town.
  • The Continental Divide Trail: Once you arrive to Pie Town, you may notice a few backpackers in the area. The Continental Divide Trail runs nearby, making it a popular trail stop.

Because of its proximity to the Continental Divide, you may have already guessed that Pie Town is in New Mexico’s high desert. Sitting at 7,778 feet in elevation, Pie Town can see snow in the Winter, in addition to colder temperatures in the evenings. Depending on when you choose to visit, you’ll want to keep your eye on the weather.

Where to Eat in Pie Town

As of 2023, there are only three places to eat in Pie Town:

  • Pie Town Cafe: Now known as the “Pie Town Ohana Cafe,” this was the only restaurant that was open when I stopped through in 2021. There are plenty of different pies available, depending when you go. The later in the afternoon you arrive, the less options there will be.
  • Pie-O-Neer Homestead: This is undoubtedly the most well-known stop in town. For 25 years, a woman named Kathy Knapp, or “the Pie Lady” owned the Pie-O-Neer and put Pie Town back on the map as a destination after years of dwindling tourism. Kathy retired in 2020, but the Pie-O-Neer lives on under new ownership.
  • Does & Bucks Coffee & Cafe: Their name doesn’t use the word pie, but their menu is full of it, alongside plenty of other diner-style options.

Unless you plan to travel through Pie Town on a weekend, when travel and tourism are at their busiest, it would be a great idea to call ahead the day prior to make sure the hours of operation listed online reflect reality. Small towns don’t always update their google listings consistently.

Additionally, these small towns are full of friendly charm. When I showed up at the Pie Town Cafe and told them I traveled over 10 hours that day just for a slice of pie, they said, “you should have called us this morning! We would have saved whatever slices of pie you wanted.” They’re also known to be accommodating to thru-hikers on the Continental Divide Trail looking for a sweet treat.

Where to Stay in Pie Town

Lodging in Pie Town is minimal. You’ll find a Hostel in town that’s often occupied by Continental Divide hikers, and an RV Park. Other than that, your best option is dispersed camping. When I stayed in Pie Town, I opted for the dispersed campground area.

Campground in Pie Town

Be warned, the dispersed campground’s roads are made of unpredictable sand. One minute, the road is packed. The next, it’s soft. There is a pit toilet on site. However, when I was there, the facilities were completely trashed and unusable. Luckily I had brought my own waste bags and trowel with me to handle restroom needs. Please do your part by picking up after yourself.

Nearby Developed campgrounds that are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, in addition to public lands that may be suitable for dispersed camping, can be viewed on the Dyrt. I use the Dyrt Pro to find free camping!

Overall, Pie Town, New Mexico proved to be a great stop on my road trip through the Land of Enchantment. If you’re looking to take the scenic route and uncover a small town with a big reputation, bring a big appetite and enjoy some pie in Pie Town. 

You may also enjoy

Staci Wilt

I’m Staci: a freelance journalist, photographer, and marketing consultant. I primarily focus those skills around my passions of motorcycles, travel, and food…and yes, we will count margaritas and craft beer in that last category. Thanks for checking out my blog!
Grab some gear for your next ride

6 Comments

  1. Louise on July 15, 2023 at 10:56 AM

    First Pie Shop heading West,the lady in the kitchen was rude.Also 4 of us bought a 8 inch peach,and strawberry rhubarb,fresh out of oven.All thick crust,stinging on filling.We were not impressed.$15 for 8 inch pie was rediculous.

    • Staci Wilt on July 28, 2023 at 8:34 AM

      This is a personal blog – not google reviews.

  2. Karina Applebombinos on January 14, 2024 at 12:54 PM

    Yay!!!! Staci thank you so much for adding this to your personal blog! We have been through Pie Town many times going from Flagstaff, AZ to Bosque del Apache Wildlife refuge in San Antonio NM. Sadly, Pie town pies were non existent after the beginning of Covid. I am SO HAPPY to hear that it’s back! As a side note, have you ever been to The Owl Cafe in San Antonio NM? The green chile cheeseburgers are another favorite.

    Again… Not a google review (why do we need more of those??) Just an observation we have had after many years of visiting.

    Travel happy!!

    • Staci Wilt on January 15, 2024 at 10:46 AM

      I’ll have to add the Owl to my map! Thank you! 🙂

  3. Laura on June 24, 2024 at 6:20 PM

    We had the best blueberry pie I have ever eaten at the first pie shop, The Gathering. We shared an 8″ with vanilla icecream and ate it first before a meal, as their signs says. Eat pie first! We brought home many pies for our freezer, all the small pies that feed four. If you find yourself in the area, eat the pie, see the sights including the Toaster House. Fabulous place with friendly people.

  4. Donna on June 29, 2024 at 5:24 AM

    i drove to Pie Town to experience the “Pie Town Festival” a few years ago. WOW!!! talk about a LOT of people anxious to get in line to have a slice of pie or to take a whole one on their trip. the very small community had kiosks set up with people selling all sorts of items. there was also a LOT of motorcyclists that made the trip to taste the pies also. the best part was how friendly everyone was and how patient they were to stand in line to get their favorite. i met a group of young women that were traveling together and they were kind enough to get me a slice while i waited outside with my very curious little dog that was getting lots of attention. everyone was laughing, having a good time, visiting the kiosks set up for those ‘traveling through the area’ and it was a very nice chance to just get to know those traveling a road to different places…what (i thought was) a well kept secret. once you try the pies your mind keeps going back to ‘get one more slice or one more pie (or more)

Leave a Comment