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West Gate to Acoma Pueblo

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McCartys is a village just off Route 66. Visit the Santa Maria Mission, the 3,000 year old McCartys Lava Flow (Malpais) and the remains of the Whiting Bros. Gas Station.

McCartys NM

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About McCartys, New Mexico

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 6,170 ft (1.880 m). Population: 48 (2010).

McCartys is a tiny village in Cibola County, just off the old Route 66. See a Map of McCartys.
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).

Santa Maria Mission, Route 66 at McCartys

Santa Maria Mission, Route 66 at McCartys, New Mexico
Santa Maria Mission, Route 66 at McCartys, New Mexico, click image for street view

The ancestors of Native Americans have lived in New Mexico for more than 10,000 years. Later they became farmers and used the water of the rivers that flowed from the Rocky Mountains to irrigate their crops.

The first Europeans to reach the area, were those of the expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who visited the nearby Acoma Pueblo in 1540; the Spanish would return and occupy the area in the early 1600s. A revolt in 1680 expelled them for a period of 12 years, but they returned and defeated the natives.

The Name McCartys

The station was named after a contractor who lived there when the railway was being built in the early 1880s.

After Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, New Mexico became part of its territory, but after being defeated by the U.S.A during the Mexican - American War (1846-48), it ceded the province to the U.S.

The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Ralway built a station and named it McCartys on mile 1422.2 in the 1880s. It appears on mile 1423.3 in 1936, probably due to the shortening of the line by realingments rather than a resiting the station itself.

Not on the Route 66

It is not located on the original Route 66, but to the south and east of it. On the southern bank of the San Jose River.

The town itself predates the railway and was founded as Santa María (Saint Mary). When Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove through the town in 1946, he also called it "Santa Maria" in his "A guide to Highway 66"; he mentioned the scattering of adobe houses and the mission church. The only facility at that time was a service station on the highway, which did not pass through the town.

It was a trading center for the Indians and the ranches in the area. A small native community was 2.5 mi. to the west, originally a summer home for Acoma Indians.


Where to Stay

There is lodging along Route 66 in McCartys:

> > Book your Hotels in Grants or in Acomita Pueblo

Lodging Near McCartys along Route 66

Heading West...

The Santa Fe Route 66 segment

Heading East....

Find a room nearby, in neighboring Grants

>> There are RV campgrounds at Acomita and at Grants.

Weather in McCartys

Weather widget for town closest to McCartys:

Latest weather in McCartys, NM
McCartys, New Mexico its location map on Route 66
Location of McCartys on Route 66

The weather in McCartys is dry and sunny. The arid climate causes cold winters and hot summers. There are 278 sunny days per year.

The average high temperature in summer (July) is 89°F (31.7°C). The average summer low is 56.3°F (13.5°C). During winter (January) the average high is 47.4°F (8.6°C) and the average low is below freezing: 17°F (-8.3°C).

Rainfall is around 10.5 inches (292 mm) per year; and most rainfall (6 in. - 152 mm) is concentrated between July and Oct. during the "Monsoon" period. There are 53 days with precipitation per year. Snowfall is around 18 inches and may fall between November and March.

Tornado risk

There is virtually no tornado risk in McCartys: Cibola County has no Tornado watches. The area west of this point has no tornado events at all.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.

Getting to McCartys

To the west is Grants, Gallup (74 mi.) To the east is Cubero and beyond the Rio Grande is Albuquerque (67 mi). On the Santa Fe loop of Route 66 are: Bernalillo, Santa Fe (126 mi.) and to the east Pecos.

On the main alignment further east, beyond Albuquerque are the towns of Moriarty and Tucumcari.

Map U.S. 66 in McCartys New Mexico

See the alignment of US 66 in McCartys, on our New Mexico Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.

Route 66's alignment in New Mexico: the Historic Route 66 through McCartys

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across New Mexico

Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)

Our Santa Fe Loop page describes the complete 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque through Pecos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo.

Below is full information on Route 66's 1926 alignment in this town.

McCartys: its Attractions

Landmarks, Route 66 sights

Small placid Village just off Route 66

"The Western Gateway to Acoma Pueblo"

McCartys is a tiny village just off the original Route 66 alignment along the San Jose River Valley, it is the western gateway to the Acoma Pueblo and has a classic Mission church.

Just west of the village, towards Grants is the Mission Church:

Santa Maria Mission

The simple stone building of the Santa Maria Mission, built 1933 in Spanish Colonial style, with its two sqare towers and a flat roof, overlooks Route 66 from the hill on its southern flank.

See photo above

The Santa Maria annual feast day takes place on the first Sunday in May.


Tours & Itineraries plus outdoor Fun

Nearby Route 66 Towns

You can head towards the east and visit San Fidel (4.7 mi.), Cubero (9.6 mi.), Paraje (16.2 mi.),Laguna (21.7 mi.) and Mesita (27.9 miles).

To the south is Acoma Pueblo (14.5 mi.). To the west is Grants (14 mi.)

The Western Gateway to Acoma Pueblo

San Esteban Mission Church Acoma

San Esteban church, the mission at Acoma Pueblo, NM, Karla Kaulfuss

McCartys is said to be "The gateway to Acoma Pueblo". The famous native village, also known as the "Sky City" is 14.5 miles to the southeasts of McCartys (see the Map from McCartys to Acoma Pueblo).

Acoma Pueblo

A pueblo perched atop a 357 foot-high mesa (108 m), with a historic landmark adobe mission church.

Read more about Acoma Pueblo and its attractions.

Whiting Bros. Gas Station

2 miles northeast of the village along Indian Svc. Route 27 and then east along Old Route 66, (NM 124). It is 0.5 mi. east of I-40's Exit 96. North side of the road.

It has decayed as time passes. It was built around 1940 and was surely the service station mentioned in by Rittenhouse as follows: "Chief's Rancho Cafe here, with gas, grocery, curios and cafe.".

At its peak, Whiting Bros. owned more than 100 service stations. Now only one remains: it is on Route 66 in Moriarty, New Mexico: the Moriarty Whiting Brothers Service Station.

Abandoned Whiting Brothers Service Station near San Fidel, Route 66, New Mexico

Abandoned Whiting Brothers Service Station near San Fidel, Route 66, New Mexico
Abandoned Whiting Brothers Service Station near San Fidel, Route 66, New Mexico, A. Whittall. Click image for Street View

McCartys Lava Flow

7 mi. west of McCartys on I-40s Exit 89.


Just 3 miles east of McCartys was a small stop and siding on the AT & SF Railroad named Alaska. From the stop you had a great view of Mt. Taylor.

The Zuni-Bandera Volcanic Field spans this part of New Mexico, and the McCartys lava flow is the youngest flow in the field and one of the youngest in the 48 contiguous United States.

The flow came from a volcano located 25 mi (40 km) south of McCartys, and when it reached the San Jose River it turned eastwards for another 6 mi (10 km) down the valley.

McCarty Malpais Lava Flow, Route 66 NM
Lava Flow near McCartys. Click on image for Street View

Only 3,000 years old

The lava has been dated to between 2910 and 3080 years ago. And this is interesting: there is an Indian legend about it!

The Pueblo people tell about a river of fire in the San Jose River Valley, so they must have witnessed the outflow.

The lava flow is part of the El Malpais National Monument, the Spanish words "Mal País" mean: badlands.

The Old alignment of Route 66 near McCartys

route 66 shield New Mexico

Route 66 Near McCartys

1926 Alignment near McCartys

Route 66 passed to the north and west of McCartys in its 1926 and later alignments.

Historic segment of Route 66 from McCartys to Grants

Route 66, Cibola county, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Route 66 in this part of New Mexico is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. See a Map of the McCartys - Grants Segment.

Originally aligned along the National Old Trails Highway which later was NM-6, Route 66 was created in 1926,. The roadbuilding was an engineering challenge when it was built as it crossed the basaltic flows of the Malpais badlands. New Deal programs during the Great Depression improved the road and paved it between 1935 and 1936. A steel pony truss bridge was built in 1936 across the San Jose River (see the Bridge location (see map).

In 1956, I-40 replaced the road, which became its south frontage road between McCartys and the junction of I-40 and NM-117.

The Historic Segment

Coming from San Fidel, the old Route 66 ran on the northern side of the San Jose River between Laguna and McCartys, and crossed the River just to the west of the small village of McCartys, bypassing it.

See a Map of Route 66 around the town McCartys.

To reach the historic segment, head west from McCartys along Pueblo Rd. until reaching Route 66. Take a left; the old road will cross the San Jose River. It is NM-124 and the frontage road on the south side of I-40. After 2 mi., is the 1936 steel bridge across San Jose River.

The road goes through Anzac, once again crosses the River and passes under I-40 (4.2 mi). It continues west on the north side of the Interstate. At Exit 89, the junction of NM-117, I-40 and Route 66, it takes a course that separates it from I-40, heading towards the NW, crossing the River again and the railway tracks via an overpass (6.9 mi).

It turns west and meets NM-117 at the eastern tip of Grants (10.6 mi) reaching the downtown district (1st and Santa Fe Ave.) 12.1 mi. west of McCartys.

> > See the previous segment Laguna to McCartys

> > See the next segment Grants to Thoreau.

National and State Parks

See the Parks in Albuquerque and much closer to McCartys, El Malpais National Monument and Cibola National Forest Mount Taylor District.

Accommodation Search box:


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Banner image: The Dead Man's Curve, Laguna, NM by Perla S. Eichenblat.

Geologic Map of the Zuni-Bandera Volcanic Field.

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.

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico, UNM Press.