About Glorieta, New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: Elevation: 7,431 ft (2,265 m), Population: 859 (2000).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).
Glorieta is a small populated area in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. It is located 5 miles west of Glorieta along NM-50 (former 1926 alignment of Route 66 between Glorieta and Santa Fe), and I-25, just to the south. The village is located at the point where the road takes a sharp turn and changes course from a NW to a SW alignment. See Map with location.
This area of New Mexico has been inhabited for over 10,000 years (the nearby site at Sandia Cave is proof of this). Later the Pueblo people settled in the valleys of the rivers that flowed from the Rocky Mountains.
The road across the mountain pass was used for trading.
As time goes by on Glorieta Pass: Pigeon Ranch through time
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the area, reaching neighbouring Pecos in 1540. The territory became part of the Spanish colonies in 1598. And although the Pueblo Revolt expelled the Spanish in 1680, they returned in 1692 and submitted the rebel natives.
The southern fork of the Santa Fe Trail passed through Las Vegas, Glorieta and, before reaching Santa Fe, crossed the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains via Glorieta Pass it was also known here as the Old Pecos Trail.
Settlement in the area was slow and a formal land grant was approved in 1815 for the "Cañon de Pecos" which was awarded to Juan de Dios Peña.
In 1821 it became part of the territory of an independent Republic of Mexico. But Mexico ceded the territory to the U.S after being defeated during the Mexican - American War (1846 - 48).
Wagons with goods and settlers used this road and there was a stop just before the pass' summit,on its eastern side, at Pigeon Ranch, which belonged to Mr. Valle, who had settled there in the 1850s.
During the Civil War, the Confederate troops fought a battle with the Union forces in Glorieta (1862).
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built its tracks along the Santa Fe Trail in the early 1880s and established a station there.
The name: Glorieta
There was a post office at the place known as "La Glorieta" from 1875 to 1880. After that it changed to "Glorieta" (dropping the article "La").
The word Glorieta has several meanings in Spanish, but the most appropriate seems to be that of a square or plaza where several roads meet; Glorieta was a main point which funnelled roads through a pass.
In 1926, Route 66 and US 85 were aligned through the Glorieta Pass. Route 66 was realigned further south in 1937, from Moriarty to Santa Rosa, and it bypassed all the towns along the Santa Fe Loop including Glorieta.
Accommodation near Glorieta
There are lodging options for those travelling along Route 66 in some nearby towns
Lodging Near Glorieta along Route 66
Heading East ...
- 51 miles. Motels and Hotels in Las Vegas NM.
- 104 miles. Motels and Hotels in Santa Rosa.
- 162 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tucumcari.
- 19 miles. Motels and Hotels in Santa Fe.
West along the later Route 66 alignment
- 76 miles. Motels and Hotels in Albuquerque.
- 132 miles. Motels and Hotels in Acoma Pueblo.
- 149 miles. Motels and Hotels in Grants.
- 210 miles.Motels and Hotels in Gallup.
>> There are RV campgrounds near Glorieta
Weather in Glorieta
Glorieta has hot summers and cold winters, the area is quite arid and dry.
The average high in summer (July) is 86°F (30°C) and the average low is 53°F (11.7°C). During winter (Jan) the average high is 48°C (8.9°C) and the average low is 21°F (-6.1°C), below freezing point.
Snowfall is around 25 inches (63.5 in.) on average and can fall at any time between November and April. Most falling during Dec. and Jan (6 in. each) Rainfall is 17.2 in. per year (437 mm). The rainiest months are June through Sept. with almost 10 inches of rain.
Glorieta is located in an area with virtually no tornado risk: Santa Fe has no tornado watches.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Glorieta
The village is located to the northwest of Santa Rosa along the 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66.
Map of Glorieta Pass and Route-66
Map of Glorieta Pass on Route 66 in New Mexico.
Pale Blue: Historic 1926 Route 66 alignment through Glorieta Pass; Red line:US 84 & I-25 where they overlap the old alignment.
Black: the rest of Route 66.
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary through Glorieta
Route 66 in New Mexico
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.
The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)
Visit our Santa Fe Loop page for all the details on the 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque through Pecos, Santa Fe and Santo Domingo.
Below is full information on Route 66's 1926 alignment in Glorieta.
Glorieta, New Mexico: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Glorieta, its Attractions
Glorieta is a tiny village small town nestled between the Sange de Cristo Mountains which is best known for its American Civil War Battlefield that took place on the "Santa Fe Trail", which would later become the 1926 alignment of Route 66.
The Historic Santa Fe Trail
The Spanish settlers at Santa Fe opened the "Santa Fe Trail" in 1792 to link their city with the French trading posts in Louisiana, on the Missouri River.
Much later, the wagon trains used it to move merchandise to and from New Mexico. It was also on of the main t rails used by the settlers to reach the Southwest and the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
The southern fork of the Trail passed through Las Vegas, Bernal, San Jose, Pecos and crossed Glorieta Pass to reach Santa Fe.
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
The Battle of Glorieta Pass
The westernmost battle of the American Civil War
Glorieta National Historical Park
New Mexico Historic Marker
On NM-50, 1 mi south of the village of Glorieta, is the Historical Marker, on the south side of the road. See Map showing marker site
The battle was fought from March 26 to 28, 1862 on a strategic pass accross the Southern Rockies between Glorieta and Santa Fe. Glorieta was the only point where the Rocky Mountains could be crossed south of Colorado, so it was the Confederate's bid to control the West. The historic Pigeon Ranch was a witness of the battle, and stands there today, next to the road.
Above are some Potos of Pigeon Ranch.
Just 0.4 mi. to the east of the Battlefield Marker, on the north side of the road.
The old building is what remains of Old Pigeon's Ranch. Which was also a stage coach stop on the Santa Fe Trail. The adobe structure is a one story building with three rooms and a gabled roof. It is 48 feet long and almost 18 feet wide.
The Ranch was the property of Alexander Valle who was born in St. Louis ca. 1815 and although it is said that he was popularly known as "Pigeon" due to his pronounciation in "Pidgin English" with a strong French accent ("Government manns vas at my ranch and fill is cahnteen viz my viskey..."), it was actually his mother's second husband's name: "Pigeon of Carondelet".
By 1850 he was operating a frontier store in Santa Fe and obtained a grant confirmed by Congress in Glorieta (1865) where he lived until his death in 1880. He sold his ranch to George Herbert in 1865. In 1926 a Glorieta cowboy, Thomas Greer acquired the place and seeing the flow of travellers along Route 66 converted it into a roadside attraction with a museum, curio shop, garage and service station. When Route 66 was relocated to the south in 1937 (Santa Fe cut-off) business declined and World War II travel restrictions led to its demise. When us 85 was realigned, it was abandoned.
In 1990 the property was added to the Glorieta National Historic Place and in 1992 the National Park Service acquires Pigeon's Ranch house.
Confederate Brig. General Henry Sibley advanced with his men, "Sibley's Brigade" from San Antonio in Texas into New Mexico and occupied Albuquerque on March 2 and Santa Fe on March 10, 1862. Silbey decided to advance east and strike at Fort Union (now a National Monument, north of Las Vegas, NM).
Ft. Union was strategic and controlled the Santa Fe Trail. Two columns of Sibley's men advanced towards Glorieta Pass on their way to Ft. Union, one was comanded by Major Pyron and marched from Santa Fe, the other under Col. Scurry marched from Albuquerque.
They believed that the Union soldiers had been left behind at Ft. Craig, but a column of Colorado troops under Colonel Slough had moved south to defend Fort Union, and were camped at Bernal Springs, east of Glorieta Pass.
Slough sent a column led by Maj. Chivington towards Santa Fe. They camped near Pecos and on March 26 reached Glorieta Pass and met the Confederates in Apache Canyon and forced them to regroup in the "First Skirmish of Apache Canyon". A second encounter took place later that day and the Confederates were routed. Their first defeat in New Mexico.
Pyron retreated and asked Scurry to send reinforcements. Chivington also requested assistance and moved back to Koslowski's Ranch (now Forked Lightning Ranch) south of Pecos, on the Pecos River.
On March 27 each side had received its reinforcements and they stood on the east (1,340 Union soldiers) and west (1,000 Confederates) side of Glorieta Pass.
Both forces advanced towards the pass on the 28th and met in a battle that lasted six hours. The action took place around Pigeon Ranch.
The official casualty list was 96 Confederates and 71 Unionists, but the losses were actually greater. The Confederates won the battle but a second skirmish that took place on the western side of the pass during which a detachment of Union troops destroyed the Confederate supply train. Having lost food, ammunition and blankets, Scurry rapidly retreated to Santa Fe, and abandoned New Mexico, having lost two thirds of his men in his failed attempt to conquer New Mexico.
The 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 near Glorieta
Route 66 from Glorieta to Santa Fe
From Glorieta, get on I-25 to cross Glorieta Pass and reach Canoncito (Spanish for "Tiny Canyon"), where you should stop at the historical church:
Our Lady of Light - Nuestra Señora de Luz Church
The Nuestra Senora de Luz Church ("Our Lady of Light") and Cemetery was built in 1880. And is located 11.3 miles west of Pecos on the north frontage road, Canoncito 998 (Old Las Vegas Hwy.), see the Map and directions from Glorieta.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Historic Nuestra Señora de Luz Church, Santa Fe
At this point you can follow the old Las Vegas road after Exit 294, which is the 1930s alignment all the way into Santa Fe, as shown in the following map: Canoncito to Santa Fe map.
The Santa Fe Cut-Off
NM 6 which linked Santa Rosa with Albuquerque via Moriarty was finished in 1927 but only later was it paved. In 1937 it was incorporated into the new alignment of Route 66 that "cut-off" Santa Fe, shortening the road and providing a quicker paved route to Albuquerque and the Pacific Coast. This alignment also cut off Pecos.
Route 66 on the main post 1937 alignment
Route 66 east of Glorieta
> > Route 66 Pecos to Glorieta and east of Pecos.
Old Route 66 west of Santa Fe
The map's is from the David Rumsey Collection. Metadata: Author and Publisher: Rand McNally and Company, Chicago. Date: 1927. Full Title: Rand McNally junior auto road map Arizona, New Mexico. Copyright by Rand McNally & Co., Chicago, Ill. (1927). List No: 5755.032 Page No: 66-67 Series No: 36.
National and State Parks
Photo by John C. Howard. Courtesy Museum of New Mexico Neg. No. 51738, from Yvonne R. Oakes, Pigeon's Ranch and the Glorieta Battlefield, an Archaeological Assessment. Archaeology Notes 123 S. Fe, NM 1995. Under Fair Use
Postcard from eBay. Under Fair Use.
Pigeon's Ranch HSR, Part 1. NPS.
Guidebook of the Western United States: Part C - The Santa Fe Route, With a Side Trip to Grand Canyon of the Colorado, bulletin 613. Nelson Horatio Darton.
Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico, UNM Press.
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.
Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.