The Sabinoso Wilderness area consists of canyons and steep-sided mesas with elevations ranging from 4,500 feet (1,400 m) to 6,000 feet (1,800 m).The mesa tops are grassland while the canyon walls support a pinyon pine and juniper woodland with scattered groves of ponderosa pine. The area is semi-arid receiving 16 inches (410 mm) to 18 inches (460 mm) precipitation annually.
The canyon bottoms have periodically flowing streams, as well as deep incisions cut by the Cañon Olguin, Cañon Largo, and Lagartija Creek. Riparian vegetation such as cottonwood and willow trees is found along the ephemeral streams. Wildlife includes, elk, mule deer, black bear, and wild turkey.
The northeastern corner of the wilderness area is near the Canadian River and the 1890s settlement of Sabinoso, now mostly abandoned except for a few remaining buildings. No other settlements, except a few ranches, are near the wilderness area. The nearest city is Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 50 miles distant by road.