America's Best History Spotlight 

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area.  And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find.  You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't.  It'll be fun.  Visit them.

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Pecos National Historical Park/
Glorieta Pass Battlefield

Mission Ruins at Pecos National Historical Park

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What is There Now

Pecos National Historical Park/Glorieta Pass Battlefield

What's There

Hiking 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 Open

Year 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 Located

Pecos 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


Reenactors leading the public at the Iron Brigade Battle Walk, Gettysburg 150th Anniversary

History Nearby

Bandelier National Monument is 75 miles east near Santa Fe and Petroglyph National Park is 85 miles east off Interstate 25 east of Albuquerque.


Past Spotlights

America On Wheels
Heinz Wildlife/Fort Mifflin
Reading Railroad Museum/Reading Phils Minor League Baseball
Rancho Los Cerritos, Long Beach, CA
Trexler Game Preserve/Horseshoe Trail
Battle of Kelly's Ford, Phelps WMA, VA
Museum of Indian Culture/Lil Le Hi Trout Nursery
Totem Pole Playhouse
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland
America's First Roads
Newark Moundbuilders
Trevilian Station, VA
Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum, Philadelphia
Pennsylvania State Forests - Free Shipping on ALL orders


About Them

Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico

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 at Glorieta Pass Battlefield, Pecos National Historical Park

Reenactors shooting off a cannon at the Glorieta Pass Battlefield, Pecos National Historical Park.  Photos courtesy National Park Service.

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Historic Sites
Acadia National Park
Alamo, San Antonio
Appalachian Trail
Ball's Bluff
Barbary Coast - San Francisco
Big Cypress National Preserve
Blue Ridge Parkway
Bryce Canyon
Cape Canaveral
Cape Cod National Seashore
Carlsbad Caverns
Chickamauga & Chattanooga
Colorado NM
Crater Lake
Ellis Island
The Everglades
Ferry Farm/Mount Vernon
First State National Monument
Fort McHenry
Fort Sumter
Fort Vancouver
Glacier National Park
The Grand Canyon
Grand Teton
Great Smoky Mountains
Harper's Ferry
Hawaii Volcanoes
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Joshua Tree National Park
Mammoth Cave
Manassas (Bull Run)
Mesa Verde
Morristown NHP
Mount Rainier
Muir Woods
Natchez Trace Parkway
New Orleans
Niagara Falls
Oklahoma Land Rush
Olympic National Park
Oregon Trail
Pearl Harbor
Petrified Forest
Philadelphia - Independence
Pinnacles National Park
Plymouth Rock
Redwood National Park
Rocky Mountain NP
The Roswell Incident
Saguaro National Park
San Antonio Missions NHS
San Juan NHS
San Juan Islands
St. Augustine
St. Louis Gateway West
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
Statue of Liberty
Stones River
Sutter's Mill (Gold Rush)
Valley Forge
Theodore Roosevelt NP
War of 1812
Washington, D.C.
Washington's Crossing
White Sands
Wilderness, Battle of
Yellowstone National Park
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park

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U.S. History Timeline
History Timeline Index

* 1770-1779 - The American Revolution
* 1780-1789 - The Nascent Democracy
* 1790-1799 - America Builds


1800-1809 - Exploration
* 1810-1819 - The War of 1812
* 1820-1829 - A Decade of Compromise & Doctrine
* 1830-1839 - Conquering the West
* 1840-1849 - The Mexican War
* 1850-1859 - Expansion & the Looming Divide
* 1860-1869 - The Civil War
* 1870-1879 - The Nation's Centennial Decade
* 1880-1889 - America Invents
* 1890-1899 - The Age of Immigration


1900-1909 - The World Begins to Fly
* 1910-1919 - World War I
* 1920-1929 - Properity and Its Demise
* 1930-1939 - The Great Depression
* 1940-1949 - World War II
* 1950-1959 - Two Cars in Every Garage
* 1960-1969 - Civil Rights and Turmoil
* 1970-1979 - The Nation in Flux
* 1980-1989 - The Reagan Revolution
* 1990-1999 - Prosperity as the World Turns


2000-2009 - The Fight against Terrorism
* 2010-Present - Economic Recovery

1490-1499 - Columbus/Cabot
1500-1599 - Exploration
1600-1699 - Settlement
1700-1769 - American Rights

National Park Timeline
Abraham Lincoln to Cuyahoga Valley
Dayton Aviation to Gulf Islands
Hagerman Fossil Beds to Muir Woods
Natchez to Russell Cave
Sagamore Hill to Zion NP

Other Important National Park Service Dates