The lower Paleocene Ojo Alamo Sandstone and Nacimiento Formation from the San Juan Basin (SJB) in northwestern New Mexico preserve arguably the best early Paleocene mammalian record in North America and is the type location for the Puercan (Pu) and Torrejonian (To) North American land mammal ages (NALMA). However, the lack of precise depositional age constraints for the Ojo Alamo Sandstone and lower Nacimiento Formation has hindered our understanding of the timing and pacing of mammalian community change in the SJB following the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction. Here we produced a high-resolution age model for the Ojo Alamo Sandstone and lower Nacimiento Formation combining magnetostratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology spanning the first ∼3.5 m.y. of the Paleocene. Mean sediment accumulation rates during C29n were relatively low (<50 m/m.y.) and equalized from basin center to basin margin indicating an accommodation minimum; sediment accumulation rates approximately double (>90 m/m.y.) during C28r and are highest in the basin center and lowest on basin margin, which indicates high accommodation and an increase in basin subsidence near the C29n/C28r boundary (ca. 64.96 Ma). Puercan fossil localities were restricted to C29n, Torrejonian 1 localities to C28n, and lower Torrejonian 2 localities to C27r. Our revised age model for the SJB suggests that the first appearance of To1 mammals may have been diachronous across North America, with the Torrejonian 1 mammals first appearing in the north (Montana and North Dakota) during C29n, then in middle latitudes (Utah) in C28r, and lastly in southern North America (New Mexico) in C28n.