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Adobe structure in Pecos, NM against bright blue skies
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Take a Ride on the Scenic Pecos River Road

Flo along the Pecos River

Pack your bag and take a ride on the scenic Pecos River Road for an awe-inspiring ride by motorcycle or car.

About 30 minutes Southeast of Santa Fe is the city of Pecos, New Mexico.  It’s the gateway to the great outdoors! Pecos is a place to hike, fish, horseback ride, and meditate. Pecos is a western saga situated near an all-weather pass where the West was lost and won time and time again. First came the Pueblo and Plains Indians, then Spanish settlers, then traders on the Santa Fe Trail, and then Confederate and Union soldiers.

Scenic Drive New Mexico State Rte 63

The narrow, two-lane route N.M. 63 travels North of Pecos, snaking through a forested canyon and runs parallel to the Pecos River. People make this trek to hike, fish, and camp.  Flo and I did it recently because it’s a beautiful drive and particularly a great way to cool off during the summer.

Pecos River RoadTererro General Store

Tererro New Mexico was strictly a mining camp but no longer exists except as a ghost town. The camp started in 1882 mining copper. The ore was shipped to nearby Glorieta. Copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc were all mined here. The town grew to about 3,000 and had a school, hospital, restaurant, jail, boarding houses, etc. The red-light district was known as “Chihuahua”, as the majority of the miners were Spanish-speaking men.  Tererro started to die in 1939 after a troubled strike at the mine.

Pecos River

All that remains is the Tererro General Store and post office, which has become a small tourist stop for hikers and campers along the way to the Santa Fe National Forest and the Pecos Wilderness. The area is still beautiful and it is worth a visit.  The mountain just south the store is dotted with black tree skeletons from the 2013 Tres Lagunas forest fire which burned more than 15 square miles in the Santa Fe National Forest along the Pecos River. The fires shut down the canyon for most of the summer.

Fly Fishing on the Pecos River

Some of the best trout fishing abounds within the Pecos River. The river access starts ¼ mile north of the Pecos Place. At an elevation of approximately 7500 feet, summer temperatures vary from 40 to 70 degrees with warm days and cool nights. There are 20 high country lakes and 150 miles of fishing streams with Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brook and German Brown trout to test the skills of the fishermen.

The Cowles campground is primarily a tent campground along the Winsor Creek, near the Rio Pecos. It is close to the Cowles ponds, where fishing is popular.

Cows along Pecos River RoadThe Pecos Wilderness

The Pecos Wilderness encompasses approximately 230,000 acres. The Pecos Wilderness is located in both the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests. It is one of the 54 units designated in the Wilderness Act on 1964 as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Primitive conditions are preserved for the use, enjoyment and spiritual refreshment of people visiting the area. Travel is therefore limited to foot or horseback only. There are no roads, homes, developed campsites, timber cutting, or commercial uses allowed.

A large variety of animals reside in the Wilderness. Elk were reintroduced in 1911 and 1915. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep were reintroduced in 1965-1966. There is also mule deer, bear, cougar, bobcat, eagle, turkey, grouse and squirrels.

East of Ski Santa Fe and Santa Fe Baldy

Elevations range from 6,000 feet in the foothills to over 13,000 feet at the summit of Truchas Peak. Temperatures vary from 20 to 70 degrees. On the average, June through October weather brings warm days and cool nights with occasional showers. Aspen leaves generally change their color in late September. Plant life varies from Pinon and Juniper at lower elevations to bristle cone pines at 11,000 feet, which is timberline. These rugged mountains are the southernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains.

Pecos River Road is a perfect day trip to enjoy while staying at our top-rated Santa Fe bed and breakfast, Inn of the Turquoise Bear!

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