What is There Now
Pecos National Historical Park/Glorieta Pass Battlefield
What's ThereHiking trail to pueblo and mission church ruins.
Glorieta Pass Battlefield.
Visitor Center with exhibits, bookstore, and 12 minute movie.
Picnic facilities at two locations.
Weekend guided tours, including van tours to the Arrowhead Ruin, Civil War Sites, and the Forked Lightning Ranch. There are additional daily tours during the summer schedule.
Self-guided tour maps.
There are no camping facilities in the park, but some are located in Santa Fe National Forest to its north.
How Much to Visit$3 per person park entrance fee, some additional $2 tour fees
Hours OpenYear round, closed major winter holidays. Visitor center is open 8:30 to 4:00 in winter; 8:00 to 6:00 in the summer.
Where Is It LocatedPecos National Historical Park is located 30 miles southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Basically it's I-25 North (Yes, north to go south here) for 20 minutes, then NM63 north to the park. Check a good map, it's a little confusing.
It's 86 miles from Alburquerque. Take I-25 north toward Santa Fe, continue with directions above.
Website: Pecos National Historical Park
Bandelier National Monument is 75 miles east near Santa Fe and Petroglyph National Park is 85 miles east off Interstate 25 east of Albuquerque.
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If you like to travel to sites where crowds won't be a problem, but the history is at a height where it should be, then a trip from Albuquerque or Santa Fe to Pecos National Historical Site in New Mexico may just be what you're looking for. It contains the history of the only Grade 1, Class A Civil War Battlefield in the mountain west, Glorieta Pass, as well as Indian and mission culture at every turn of the Santa Fe trail. Now don't expect Gettysburg or the Grand Canyon. This place is remote and less interpreted than it deserves, but a true gem.
When we say less interpreted, don't mistake that for criticism. It needs better attendance and is just at the relative beginning of telling the Civil War story, with opening of the units about Glorieta Pass in 2012 on the 150th anniversary of the battle with more land being preserved to tell that story at regular intervals. There are a variety of guided tours in the summer months, with some covering the varying topics of the park on weekends at other times of the year. Some of these are van tours and should be booked in advance of your stay.
The visitor center includes a variety of exhibits and a good film about the history here, which is replendent with the culture of the southwest, from Indian heritage to the Santa Fe Trail and the mission churches.
As far as that battle of the Civil War that most don't know a lot about, but is important enough to be one of only fourteen listed as a Class A site. Yes, it was small compared to those major campaigns in the other theatres, with just over 1,000 combatants on both sides. It would occur on March 26-28, 1862.
There had been a plan by Jefferson Davis to take control of New Mexico for the Confederacy. He wanted to gain supplies from Union forts, recruit residents, and gain access to California and west coast mineral wealth and trade. There was an invasion to be had with Texans taking control of the territory.
However, the Union found out about the plan and had 4,000 troops ready across the state to fight. Even with that, the Texans made it to Santa Fe and captured it. Two weeks later the Battle of Glorieta Pass would begin on March 26, 1862 with the main battle occuring two days later.
It was, at first, thought to be a Confedeate victory until a final Union raid of the Southern supply wagons left the entire mission in jeopardy. After a retreat back to Santa Fe, the Confederates would move back to Texas two weeks later and stay there, thus giving control of New Mexico and important supply routes to the Union.
Reenactors shooting off a cannon at the Glorieta Pass Battlefield, Pecos National Historical Park. Photos courtesy National Park Service.
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