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Route 66 in New Mexico from 1926 to 1937

The Loop through Santa Fe

Tecolote is located on the Santa Fe Trail and has a historic Church, Nuestra Señora de Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows). Visit the remains of the 1926 Route 66 bridge in Tecolote Creek next to the Plaza.

Tecolote NM

Some towns along the Main Route 66 alignment west - east

Gallup ¦ Albuquerque ¦ Santa Rosa ¦ Tucumcari

The 1926 - 1937 Alignment of Route 66 through Santa Fe (The Santa Fe Loop)

< Head West
Ilfeld ¦ San Jose ¦ Bernal ⁄ Serafina

Head East >
Romeroville ¦ Las Vegas ¦ Dilia


About Tecolote, New Mexico

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: Elevation: 6,297 ft (1,921 m). Population: n⁄a.
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).

Tecolote is a small village located next to Tecolote Creek on the west side of US 85 & I-25. This used to be the Santa Fe Trail. See a map with the location of the town.

This part of New Mexico has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, the Pecos River was a main route linking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the north with the plains and the Llano Estacado in the southeast.

Old Route 66 "Camino Viejo", east of Tecolote.

Camino Viejo - Route 66 east of Tecolote, New Mexico
The old Route 66 is "Camino Viejo" east of Tecolote, NM., click on image for Street View

This part of New Mexico was not settled during the Spanish Colonial period between 1598 and 1821. It was a remote location, beyond the last pueblo (Pecos) and in a region that was subjected to the constant attack of the Comanche and Apache Indians that lived in the eastern part of New Mexico.

Only after Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821 did the area become settled. The first to live here was Salvador Montoya in 1824. But he and the settlers faced the raids of the Natives and gave up in despair, abandoning their homesteads in 1828.

The village was fomed when the Tecolote Land Grant was issued in 1838 and remained in place.

After the Mexican American War, and once New Mexico became a territory of the U.S., the United States Army set up a post there to provide feed to the cavalry horses during ther campaigns against the Indians. The creek provided fresh water and it was strategically located on the Santa Fe Trail.

A post office opened at that time (1851), but in 1923 it closed and moved to Las Vegas.

A steady flow of settlers and goods were moved along the Santa Fe Trail but the the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad adopted a more southern course for its tracks in 1883, bypassing the town.

The name: Tecolote

"Tecolote" is a native Nahuatl word (Mexico) for owls. The name of the town is probably linked to that of the mountain (7,240 ft.) located only 4 mi. north of it, and named "Tecolote Peak".

In 1926, Route 66 was aligned along the Santa Fe Trail from Romeroville to Santa Fe, passing through Tecolote. It would be on the Mother Road until 1937, when the Santa Fe Cut-Off shortened the highway by linking Santa Rosa with Albuquerque via Moriarty through the Tijeras Canyon and therefore bypassing this longer alignment through Santa Fe.

Accommodation near Tecolote

There are lodging options for those travelling along Route 66 in some nearby towns

> > Book your Hotels nearby: Las Vegas

Lodging Near Tecolote along Route 66

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Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> There are RV campgrounds near Tecolote

The weather in Tecolote

Summers are warm and winters quite cold. The area is dry.

The average summer high (Jul) is 83°F (28.3°C) and the low average is 52°F (11.1°C). In winter (Jan) the average low and high are: 22°F (-5.5°C) and 46°F (7.8°C) respectively.

Rainfall is higher during the period between May and Nov. (13 in. - 330 mm). The average rainfall is 16.5 in. per year (419 mm).

There are around 272 sunny days and about 62 precipitation days per year. Snowfall is around 27 in. per year, and falls between Nov. and March.

Weather widget for the town nearest Tecolote:

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

Getting to Tecolote

The village is located 65 mi. north of Santa Rosa along the 1926 alignment of Route 66.

Just 5 mi. west of Romeroville and 12 miles west of Las Vegas. To the west, along Route 66 are Bernal, Pecos and Santa Fe (55 mi.)

West, on the crossing of old an new alignments of Route 66 is Albuquerque (112 mi.)

Map of Route 66 through Tecolote New Mexico

See the alignment of US 66 in this location, 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 Tecolote

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.

Tecolote: its Attractions

Landmarks, Route 66 sights

Tecolote, its Attractions

Riding along the Old Santa Fe Trail

Tecolote is a small village on Tecolote Creek next to the 1926 alignment of Route 66 along the Santa Fe Trail. Visit its church.

The village is tiny, and is enclosed by I-25 & US 85 on the south and the Tecolote Creek on the west

The Santa Fe Trail

During the Spanish Colonial period, Santa Fe was linked to Mexico City to the south by the "Camino Real de Tierra Adentro", a Royal Highway built by the Spanish Crown. Another important trail was opened in the 1792 across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Great Plains to trade with the French Louisiana settlements on the Missouri River (now St. Joseph and Independence MO). It was the "Santa Fe Trail".

Wagon trains used it to move goods from the east into New Mexico, and later, pioneers trekked along it to settle in California and the Southwest of the U.S.

Upon reaching New Mexico the trail split into two forks to reach Santa Fe, one of them went through Las Vegas, Tecolote and Pecos.

It became part of the US highway system in 1926 when Route 66 and US 85 were aligned along it. Later in 1937 Route 66 moved further south, but U.S. highway 85 (and the I-25 Interstate) use the old roadbed and are kown as the "CanAm Highway":

CanAm Highway

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".

In the US it comprises U.S. Route 85 & I-25, both of which cross New Mexico and coincide with the old 1926 - 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Fe to Tecolote.

Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Church

Tecolote Plaza, Tecolote

The small church of "Our Lady of Sorrows", is an adobe building (said to date back to 1845) with an enclosed atrium, surrounded by an adobe and plastered stone wall. The building has a single nave and a pitched roof and a small steeple, centered on the roof.

The bell is not in the steeple, instead it is mounted on a structure in front of the church, in its atrium.

Extensive restoration began in 1994, and the church was rededicated in 2000.

Tours & Itineraries

Nearby Route 66 Towns

Visit (to the east) the nearby town of Las Vegas and to the south, is Santa Rosa, and to the west 1926 alignment of Route 66 leads to Pecos and Santa Fe.

The 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 near Tecolote

route 66 shield New Mexico

From Romeroville to Tecolote

From Romeroville on the junction of Camino Romeroville and the old US 85, take a left and head west along the old U.S. 85 (which used to be the old Route 66) and now is NM-A25A. It will end in a dead end marking the end of the original alignment. This map shows this first part of the old 1926 alignment west of Romeroville.

You will have to back track and get on to the I-25 at Exit 339 and head west along it towards Tecolote.

Almost the whole roadbed of Route 66 has been destroyed when I-25 was built. so you will have to drive along I-25 all the way to Tecolote (see the Map) and once you reach that village, leave the Interstate at Exit 335 head to the eastern side of it and follow the "Camino Viejo" (Spanish for "Old Road") until it ends (0.8 mi.). That is what remains of US 66. Go back to the underpass, and head into the village.

Take B47A southwards towards Tecolote Creek. The road ends there as the bridge is gone. But this is the original Route 66 alignment through Tecolote, you can still see the concrete pylons in the river bed.

This map shows the alignment north of the Creek Map of Route 66 in Tecolote.

From Tecolote to San Jose through Bernal

Head out of Tecolote and take a right along the Frontage Road 2116, cross Tecolote Creek and turn right on the first street. It will take you to the original 1926 alignment of Route 66 (now Cielito Lindo Rd.) which runs with a north to south course from the creek and the "missing bridge". The road keeps southwards and ends in a dead end just before it meets I-25, so you will have to return to the Interstate and head west towards Bernal.

See the Map of Route 66 South of Tecolote.

The old road has a winding course and I-25 was built cutting right through it. So you can see bits and pieces of the 1926 alignment. We show them in the following maps in case you want to drive along them:

  • On the south side of the Interstate the continuation of the previous segment: Map
  • On the north side of I-25 as shown in this Map. It ends in on the North Frontage Road
  • Then again on the south side which can be driven westwards, all the way from this point at Bernal through Serafina until San Jose as shown in this Map (Route 66 from Bernal to San Jose)

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 and finally, 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.

Tecolote was also cut off by this new alignment.

Route 66 on the main post 1937 alignment

> > See the previous segment Newkirk to Santa Rosa (to the south and east) and the next one, the 1937 alignment from Santa Rosa to Clines Corner (to the south and west).

Route 66 south of Romeroville

> > Dilia to Romeroville

Route 66 west of San Jose

> > San Jose to Pecos through Ilfeld and Rowe.

National and State Parks

Check the Parks at Las Vegas and the Parks at Pecos.


Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Tecolote, Cornerstones projects.
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.
Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat.

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