Pecos is a very large Ancestral Pueblo and Spanish colonial mission site in a strategic location at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. Commanding a 360-degree view of the Pecos River valley, it sits at one of the major crossroads in history, and is an excellent place to learn about cultural developments in the northern Southwest. In my time at Pecos I’ve learned how geography influences cultural trajectories, and how the landscape truly shapes experience, memory, and history. Pecos is well known through the work of A. V. Kidder, who was instrumental in the early development of Southwestern archaeology. The Pueblo of Jemez has strong connections to Pecos, one of their ancestral sites, and the place is alive with their ancestors. The site is protected by the National Park Service as part of Pecos National Historical Park. The park preserves over 800 archaeological sites, including remains of the Santa Fe Trail and the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass.”
—Jeremy M. Moss,
Pecos National Historical Park
What will I see?
A place of deep cultural and historical significance, Pecos Pueblo was one of few communities in the Southwest where people lived for centuries before and after the coming of Europeans. It was a powerful pueblo in a defensive location that also afforded interaction with Plains tribes at trade fairs. At its height, some 2,000 people lived there. Generations saw Coronado’s entrada, the building of the first mission church from the 1620s through 1640s, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and the building of a smaller mission church in the 1700s. People left the pueblo to join Jemez Pueblo in 1838.
What else is nearby?
- Santa Fe (home to numerous cultural sites and museums)
- Fort Union National Monument
- The Pecos Wilderness
- Bandelier National Monument
- Santa Fe National Forest
Download a printable visitor’s guide here (opens as a PDF).
Banner image by Anton Flegar, via Wikimedia Commons