Visited: March 2018
Duration: 2-3 hours
Accommodations: Santa Fe, NM (located 25 northwest of the park)
Pecos National Historic park holds years of history. It preserves the archaeological site of a 15th century Pueblo, Spanish missions, the crossing of the Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico Ranch history, A.V. Kidder’s excavations, and the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass.
The Visitor Center is a great tool to visualize all the different history this place represents. We grabbed some Junior Ranger booklets at the desk and headed into the museum. This place has a great gift shop as well.
Cicuye/Pecos Pueblo (1350-1838)- a fortress that grew into one of the largest and most powerful pueblos. It was home to 2,000 people and grew four to five stories high. The Pecos fortress housed kivas, which you can go in that were connections to the spiritual world. Here is Hunter climbing down into a kiva.
For Cross and Crown (1541-1680) – Spain was determined to colonize these lands and convert the Pecos to Catholicism. They destroyed the kivas, smashed statues and banned Pueblo ceremonies. In 1621 Fray Andres Juarez arrived and acknowledged their beliefs while trying to educate and convert them. Under his direction a large mission church was built and relations between the two groups improved for a time. Here is a picture of what remains and what once was.
Revolution, Rebirth, and Decline (1680-1838)- After years of the Spanish trying to eradicate every aspect of ancestral Pueblo life, Po’ pay, a Pueblo religious leader wanted to put an end to the Spanish domination. They rose up and drove out the Spanish which did not solve the other problems they still had, water shortage, poor crops or raids by Navajo and the Apache. By 1838 the last few remaining Pecos moved.
From 1821 to 1880 the Santa Fe Trail was a major commerce and travel route through here. Thousands past through here on their way west. You can still see the wagon ruts cut into the earth.
Glorieta Pass (1821-1862) The Confederate army held this field but learned that Union troops destroyed all their supply train, this forced a retreat back to Texas, The Battle of Glorieta pass marked the end of Confederate ambitions to control New Mexico. If you ask at the visitor center a Ranger will give you the Glorieta Battlefield tour. We opted out of this and instead did the walk around the park. It was an easy walk with 1.25 mile gravel path.
Ruins, Rodeos and Ranches (1915-1991)- From 1915-29 Alfred V. Kidder excavated at Pecos Pueblo and revealed more than 600 years of human occupation. He is considered the originator of the first comprehensive, systemic approach to North American archaeology. In 1925 the area was purchased and Forked Lightning Ranch was created. In 1941 it was purchased by a Dallas Oil man and rancher. In 1991 it was parceled to the National Park Service.
So much history here it is unbelievable. The Junior Ranger program was very educational and fun. The self-guided walk around the park is beautiful with plenty of ruins to explore, and plenty of benchmark signs to go with.
Back at the Visitor Center and we have earned our badges and patches. This Park Ranger was exceptional! He really did a great job getting the kids involved in this park. I love it when these guys love their job.
Junior Ranger earned and we are off! If you love history, this place is a must in New Mexico!
Patches, badges and Cancellations at this park were awesome!! What a great place.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out our National Park Trip Season 3 Spring Break. Don’t forget to check out our other stops in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri that we hit on this trip.