Pecos is located just off I-25 about 20 miles east of Santa Fe. Coming from Santa Fe, exit onto NM State Road 50 (exit 299) and proceed on NM 50 for a few miles until it terminates in Pecos. Coming west, from Northeast New Mexico, exit onto NM 63 (exit 307) and head towards the village; NM 63 passes by Pecos National Historic Park before reaching the village proper. North of town, NM 63 continues along the Pecos River into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Pecos Wilderness.
35.55-105.6894441Pecos National Historical Park (off NM 63, two miles south of town), ☎ + 1 505 757-7241. Daily, 8:30AM-4PM; longer hours in the summer. A unit of the national parks system that contains the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, an ancient Native American settlement that was abandoned in the 19th century, and an impressive stone church from the Spanish mission era. A short loop trail from the visitor center passes by the ruins of Pecos Pueblo and the mission church. The visitor center offers exhibits with artifacts from the site as well as a short film about the history of the area. $7 per person, children 15 and younger free; park pass applicable. (updated Dec 2015)
The New Mexico Campaign
When people think of key battles in the American Civil War, they tend to think of places like Gettysburg, Vicksburg, or Antietam, far to the east. But a deciding battle early in the war was fought here, in Glorietta Pass just west of the town of Pecos. In early 1862, a Confederate force marched up the Rio Grande from Texas with the intent of seizing Union strongholds in New Mexico before marching northward to capture gold fields in Colorado, securing substantial wealth and territory for the Confederacy while cutting California off from the Union. Initially the Texans were successful, overpowering Union forces in southern New Mexico and capturing Albuquerque and Santa Fe. However, Union reinforcements from Colorado were making their way south along the Santa Fe Trail, with the two forces meeting in Glorietta Pass. A fierce battle amidst the rocks and trees of the narrow pass followed, eventually resulting in the Union forces retreating. But during the battle, a small Union force had flanked the Confederates and destroyed the supply train at their rear. Without food or supplies and with no reinforcements on the way, the Confederates were forced to retreat back to Texas and abandon their plans for a Confederate-controlled West.
35.56-105.7855562Glorietta Pass Battlefield. In the Glorietta Pass west of town, this battlefield was the site of a significant battle of the American Civil War, and today is administered as part of the Pecos National Historical Park. A 2.3 mile interpretive trail leads visitors to the site, although it is located on private land behind fences. To get there, first stop by the visitor center at Pecos National Historic Park (above) and the park rangers there will provide you with directions to the trail and an access code to get through the gate. An annual commemoration takes place on the last weekend of every March and offers demonstrations by historians and a living history encampment. (updated Dec 2015)
The Pecos Wilderness, a wild, roadless realm of the Sangre de Cristos that's popular with hikers and backpackers, is located north of town. NM 63 heads deep into the mountains alongside the Pecos River, dead-ending at Cowles near the headwaters of the Pecos and passing by several campgrounds and trailheads with ready access into the wilderness. The Santa Fe National Forest administers the wilderness and the lands surrounding Pecos and has a ranger station right in the middle of town on NM 63 just south of NM 50 (+1 505 757-6121; open M-Tu and Th-F 8-noon and 12:30-4PM), where you can purchase maps and get information on conditions in the forest.
Decent fishing can be found along the Pecos River between Pecos and Cowles, but be careful of private property restrictions.
Frankie's at the Casanova, 12 S. Main St (NM 63), ☎ +1 505 757-3322. Daily 8AM-2PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-8:30PM. American and New Mexican food in a historic building with adobe walls, woodwork, and a fireplace among the decor. (updated Dec 2015)