Des Moines is a small village on the eastern plains of New Mexico. Just southwest of town is Sierra Grande, the largest shield volcano in the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. The area is characterized by large cattle ranches, although there is an on-again-off-again pummice mining operation somewhere in the area. Des Moines is located on US Highway 64, the main route between the Texas Panhandle and Raton, New Mexico.