Thoreau is a census-designated place (CDP) in McKinley County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 1,863 at the 2000 census. Practically all residents pronounce the town's name like "thuh-ROO" (similar to "through" or "threw") and definitely not like "thorough" or "throw. " The town is also not named for Henry David Thoreau, the transcendentalist author, though this is a common misconception. A history of the town was compiled by local author Roxanne Trout Heath in her book "Thoreau, where the trails cross!" published in 1982. The ZIP code for Thoreau is 87323.