About San Jose, New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: Elevation: 6,109 ft (1,862 m). Population: 137 (2010).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).
San Jose is a small village in San Miguel County, on the west bank of the Pecos River and south of US-85 & I-25. The historic Santa Fe Trail linked it with Santa Fe. See map with the location of the town.
New Mexico has been inhabited for the last ten millennia and the rivers running south of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains such as the Pecos River that flows by San Jose, were key communication routes between the mountains and the Plains to the East.
Historic San Jose Church in San Jose del Vado, NM
The Spanish occupied New Mexico during the expedition led by Juan de Oñate in 1589, but did not advance further east than Pecos Pueblo. The "Old Pecos Route" along the Pecos River had been used by the Coronado expedition in 1540 and by the Pueblo people to trade with the Natives that lived further south.
But in 1794 the San Miguel del Vado Land Grant was petitioned by Lorenzo Marquez and was approved by the Governor. This was the origin of the town of San Miguel. Nine years later these Spanish settlers had established a second fortified settlement further north, on the Pecos River, which they named San Jose del Vado. The senior Alcalde of Santa Fe distributed land to the 47 settlers on March 15, 1803. San Jose had been born.
The name: San Jose
It is the name of Saint Joseph, the husband of the Virigin Mary. A popular name among Catholics in Spanish America. The "del Vado" part of the name means "of the ford", alluding to a favorable point for crossing the Pecos River.
The town was built with a central square or Plaza, where a church was erected in 1826, San Jose church, surrounded by sturdy adobe homes built closely to each other, like an enclosing wall. The River to the east added a natural barrier to deter the attacks of the Comanche and Apache Indians.
In 1821, New Mexico became part of Mexico when it won its independence from Spain and a stage stop was established there on the Santa Fe Trail in 1822.
The territory change hands again in 1848 after the U.S. won the Mexican - American War (1846-8). San Miguel became a county in the New Mexican Territory in 1852.
When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad built the railway through the area, it set up a station at San Miguel and another north of San Jose, at Sands, leaving the town without a stop. Traffic fell along the Santa Fe trail and San Jose remained in a state of hibernation that preserved intact, its nineteenth century appeal.
San Jose Trivia
It was very popular on the annual St. Joseph fair when "La corrida del Gallo" took place. This was a "chicken pull", where horsemen fought against each other to pluck a partly buried live cock from the ground and get the poor creature back to the starting line dead or alive.
General Stephen Kearny camped here during his march to occupy Santa Fe in 1846, during the Mexican American War.
Route 66 was created in 1926 and it was aligned together with US 85 along the Santa Fe Trail from Romeroville to Santa Fe. It passed through the town of San Jose. In 1937, Route 66 was realigned further south, between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa through the Tijeras Canyon and Santa Fe was cut off, together with San Jose.
Accommodation near San Jose
There are lodging options for those travelling along Route 66 in some nearby towns
>> Book your Hotels in nearby Las Vegas
Lodging Near San Jose along Route 66
Heading East ...
- 41 miles. Santa Fe.
West along the later Route 66 alignment
Find your room nearby, in Las Vegas NM
>> There are RV campgrounds near San Jose
The weather in San Jose
The climate is hot in summer and cold in winter. It is relatively arid and has very dry air.
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 reaches 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.
San Jose is located in an area with virtually no tornado risk: San Miguel county only has two (2) Tornado watches per year and mostly in the eastern fringe of the county.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to San Jose
The village is located 80 mi. to the northwest of Santa Rosa along the 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66.
Map U.S. 66 in San Jose New Mexico
See the alignment of US 66 in San Jose, on our New Mexico Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.
Color key for this town is:
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment.
Green: The 1926 - 1937 alignment through Santa Fe.
Route 66's alignment in New Mexico: the Historic Route 66 through San Jose
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.
San Jose's Attractions
Sights and things to see
San Jose’s Landmarks & Attractions
The Historic Santa Fe Trail
The Santa Fe Trail was opened in 1792 to link the town of Santa Fe, in the Spanish Nueva Mexico with the French trading posts on the Missouri River.
The wagon trains used it to move goods into New Mexico. It was also on of the routes chosen by the settlers used it to reach California and the Southwest.
The southern fork of the Trail passed through Las Vegas, San Jose, Pecos and crossed Glorieta Pass to reach Santa Fe.
Route 66 meets the "Old Santa Fe Trail"
The village of San Jose is one of the oldest in the area, dating back to 1803. It was a stop on the "Santa Fe Trail" and the 1926 alignment of Route 66. Visit its historic Santa St. Joseph church built in 1826.
San Jose is a tiny hamlet which is enclosed by I-25 & US 85 on the north (CanAm highway), Pecos River to the east and the railroad to the south.
This "highway" has a total length of 1,975 mi (3,179 km) and is an international highway linking El Paso,Texas, USA with La Ronge in Saskatchewan, Canada. Hence its name "CanAm".
US Route 85 & I-25 are part of the CanAm highway, and both cross New Mexico, overlapping the old 1926 - 1937 alignment of Route 66 between Santa Fe and Romeroville, passing by San Jose.
San Jose Church
San Jose Plaza, San Jose
This church was built in 1826 and is one of the oldest in the area. It is located on the central plaza of the village and is dedicated to the Patron Saint of the village, St. Joseph.
The area to the east of the church, in the atrium was the "Camposanto" or cemetery.
The Old Steel Bridge
Head east from the Plaza (Square) along Co. Rd. B41D for 0.3 miles, and the road (Old Route 66) will end right next to a closed steel truss bridge, the original 1926 Bridge of Route 66 across the Pecos River.
Old Pecos River Bridge of Route 66 at San Jose, New Mexico
Head back along B41D and leave the village. When you reach the North Frontage Road of I-25, take a left. This is the alignment of the old U.S. 66, which heads west, through Sands.
The station that was built to the north of San Jose was named Sands, but the post office was called Soham. It is a small village north of I-25. The Pecos River runs to the north of it.
View from the old US 66 in Sands, NM
From Sands you can head west towards Pecos along Route 66 (see below).
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
The 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 near San Jose
From San Jose to Pecos
Stay on the Frontage Road from the access into San Jose (at B41D) and pass through Sands, the road then crosses to the south of I-25, passing through Ilfeld and then through Rowe before crossing I-25 again, but now as NM-63, with a northerly course and reaching Pecos.
See the Map from San Jose to Pecos through Ilfeld and Rowe.
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 San Jose.
Route 66 on the main post 1937 alignment
> > See the previous segment Newkirk to Santa Rosa (to the south and east)
> > See the next one, the 1937 alignment from Santa Rosa to Clines Corner (to the south and west)
Route 66 east of San Jose
Route 66 west of San Jose
> > Pecos to Santa Fe through Glorieta.
The map is from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, under Fair usage and its BY-NC-SA 3.0, License. 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
Accommodation Search box:
Banner image: The Dead Man's Curve, Laguna, NM by Perla S. Eichenblat.
Dorothy Audrey Simpson, Audrey of the Mountains: The Story of a Twentieth Century Pioneer Woman. Sunstone Press, 2008. pp. 155
Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico, UNM Press.
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.