PECOS is a gateway allowing travel from the Great Plains to Santa Fe through the southern Rocky Mountains.
The trail was used by Indian tribes, Spanish settlers, traders on the Santa Fe Trail, Civil War soldiers and cruisers on Route 66.
In the midst of piñon, juniper, and pine woodlands in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe, the remains of an Indian pueblo stand as a meaningful reminder of the people who once prevailed in this area. Weathered adobe walls of a Spanish church share a ridge with the pueblo ruins, which extend for a quarter-mile along a ridge in a valley shared by the Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River. Long before Spaniards entered this country, this pueblo village was the juncture of trade between people of the Rio Grande Valley and hunting tribes of the buffalo plains. Its 2,000 inhabitants could marshal 500 fighting men; its frontier location brought both war and trade.
At trade fairs, Plains tribes—mostly nomadic Apaches—brought slaves, buffalo hides, flint, and shells to trade for pottery, crops, textiles, and turquoise with the river Pueblos. Pecos Indians were middlemen, traders and consumers of the goods and cultures of the very different people on either side of the mountains. They became economically powerful and practiced in the arts and customs of two worlds.