Pecos Travel Guide

Discover the culture, history, outdoor adventures, food, and accommodations of Pecos, North Central New Mexico.

Introduction to Pecos

Located in North Central New Mexico, Pecos is a small town known for its rich history, scenic views, and outdoor adventures. The town is situated along the Pecos River and is surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest. Pecos was originally inhabited by Native American tribes before the arrival of Spanish settlers in the 16th century. Today, the town attracts visitors from all over the world who come to explore the historic sites, hike in the forest, and enjoy the local cuisine.

List of Places to Visit in Pecos

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Pecos National Historical Park: This park is home to the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, which was once one of the largest Native American settlements in the Southwest. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins, a 17th-century mission church, and a museum that showcases artifacts from the region’s rich history.
  • Forked Lightning Ranch: This historic ranch was once owned by media mogul John D. Rockefeller Jr. and is now part of the Pecos National Historical Park. Visitors can take guided tours of the ranch and learn about its history and conservation efforts.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Church: Located in the center of town, this historic church was built in the 1800s and features beautiful artwork and intricate carvings.

Natural Attractions of Pecos: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Santa Fe National Forest: Pecos is surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest, which offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. Visitors can explore the forest’s diverse landscapes, which include waterfalls, canyons, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Pecos River: The Pecos River flows through the town and is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and rafting. Visitors can enjoy a scenic hike along the river or take a guided tour of the waterways.
  • Pecos Wilderness Area: This remote wilderness area is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the region. Visitors can explore the area’s rugged peaks, high-altitude lakes, and alpine tundra.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Pecos

  • Winsor Trail: This 9-mile trail is one of the most popular hiking routes in Pecos. The trailhead is located in the Pecos Wilderness and leads visitors to Winsor Ridge, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
  • Pecos Baldy Trail: This challenging 12-mile trail leads hikers on a steep ascent through the Pecos Wilderness to the summit of Pecos Baldy.
  • Winsor Creek Trail: This 7-mile trail offers a moderate hike through the forested area along the Winsor Creek. Visitors will enjoy views of numerous waterfalls and canyons.

Best Things to Do in Pecos: Activities and Tours

  • Ghost Ranch Tours: Visitors can take a guided tour of Ghost Ranch, a historic ranch once owned by artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The tour includes a visit to the artist’s home and studio, as well as a tour of the surrounding landscapes featured in her artwork.
  • Horseback Riding: Pecos is known for its excellent horseback riding trails. Visitors can take guided tours of the surrounding wilderness areas or rent horses for a day of exploring.
  • Fly Fishing: The Pecos River is a popular spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can hire a guided tour or rent equipment to try their hand at catching the river’s famous trout.

Week-Long Itinerary for Pecos

Day Activity
1 Tour of Pecos National Historical Park and Museum
2 Hike along the Winsor Trail
3 Guided tour of Ghost Ranch
4 Horseback riding in the Santa Fe National Forest
5 Exploring the local food scene and shops in town
6 Day trip to Santa Fe for shopping and sightseeing
7 Fly fishing on the Pecos River

Food and Drink Scene of Pecos

Must-Try Dishes

  • Green Chile Stew: A New Mexican classic, green chile stew is made with roasted green chiles and meat.
  • Tamales: Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa (corn dough) filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables and wrapped in corn husks.
  • Navajo Tacos: Navajo Tacos are a popular local dish made with fry bread (a type of dough that is fried), beans, meat, and cheese.

Local Beverages

  • Margaritas: Margaritas are a classic Mexican cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau or Triple Sec.
  • New Mexican wines: New Mexico has a growing wine industry, with many local wineries producing high-quality wines that can be sampled at wine tastings and tours.
  • Craft beer: Pecos is home to several small breweries that offer a variety of craft beers, including IPAs, stouts, and lagers.

Where to Stay in Pecos: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Pecos Trail Inn: This historic hotel is located in the town center and offers comfortable, affordable rooms and amenities like a pool and free breakfast.
  • Pecos River Cabins: These cozy cabins are located along the Pecos River and offer a peaceful, secluded atmosphere perfect for nature lovers.
  • Forked Lightning Ranch: This historic ranch is now a bed and breakfast that offers visitors a chance to stay in a unique, historic setting with beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.

What to Buy in Pecos: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Native American jewelry: Pecos is located near several Native American reservations, where visitors can purchase unique handmade jewelry and crafts.
  • Cowboy boots: Pecos is home to several local shops that sell high-quality cowboy boots, a popular regional fashion staple.
  • Local foods: Visitors can bring home bottles of New Mexico green chile sauce, jars of local honey, and bags of locally grown piñon nuts.

Local Culture and Customs of Pecos

New Mexico has a rich cultural heritage, blending Native American, Spanish, and Mexican influences. Visitors to Pecos can explore this heritage by visiting local museums and historic sites, attending traditional festivals and ceremonies, and trying local cuisine and crafts.

Best Time to Visit Pecos

The best time to visit Pecos is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny and the outdoor activities are in full swing. Spring and fall also offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, but winter can be cold and snowy, limiting outdoor activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Pecos


  • Do try local food and drink specialties such as green chile stew, tamales, and margaritas.
  • Do explore the surrounding national forest and wilderness areas.
  • Do shop for local crafts and souvenirs.


  • Don’t litter or damage the natural landscapes or historic sites in the area.
  • Don’t trespass on private land or ignore posted signs.
  • Don’t disrespect the local traditions, customs, and people.

Safety and Health

Safety in Pecos

Pecos is a safe and welcoming town, with low rates of crime and a friendly community. However, visitors should take basic precautions like locking car doors, securing valuables, and being aware of their surroundings when hiking or exploring remote areas of the wilderness.

Health in Pecos

Pecos has limited medical facilities, so visitors should come prepared with any necessary medications or medical supplies. It is also important to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen when exploring the outdoors, as the high altitude and sun exposure can be taxing on the body.

Getting to Pecos: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Pecos

The nearest major airport is Albuquerque International Sunport, which is located about a two-hour drive south of Pecos. Santa Fe Regional Airport is a smaller airport located about an hour’s drive north of Pecos.

Bus Stations Near Pecos

Greyhound offers bus service to Santa Fe, which is the nearest major bus station and is about an hour’s drive north of Pecos. Visitors can then rent a car or take a taxi to Pecos.

Other Options

Driving is the most convenient way to get to Pecos, as it is located along Interstate 25. Visitors can also take a train to the nearby town of Lamy and rent a car or arrange for a shuttle to Pecos.

How to Get Around in Pecos

The best way to get around in Pecos is by car, as the town is spread out and many of the surrounding attractions require a drive. There are also a variety of guided tours and shuttle services available for visitors who prefer not to drive.

Where to Go Next from Pecos: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Santa Fe: The capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe is a historic city known for its art galleries, museums, and unique local cuisine.
  • Taos: Located about two hours north of Pecos, Taos is a scenic mountain town known for its skiing, hot springs, and art scene.
  • Chimayo: This small town is home to the famous Santuario de Chimayo, a historic church and pilgrimage site that attracts visitors from all over the world.


Pecos offers visitors a chance to explore the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of North Central New Mexico. From hiking and horseback riding in the Santa Fe National Forest to sampling local cuisine and crafts, there is something for everyone in this charming town. With friendly locals and a peaceful atmosphere, Pecos is the perfect destination for a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation.