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.
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
Heading East ...
- 12 mi. Motels and Hotels in Las Vegas NM
- 65 mi. Motels and Hotels in Santa Rosa
- 124 mi. Motels and Hotels in Tucumcari
West along the later Route 66 alignment
>> 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:
Getting to Tecolote
The village is located 65 mi. north of Santa Rosa along the 1926 alignment of Route 66.
West, on the crossing of old an new alignments of Route 66 is Albuquerque (112 mi.)
Map U.S. 66 in Tecolote New Mexico
Display Tecolote Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
This map shows the alignment of Route 66 in Tecolote. The color key for this town is:
(for the other towns, check their maps - color keys may change)
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment.
Red line: I-40 & where it overlaps the old alignment.
Green: The 1926 - 1937 alignment through Santa Fe (click button to see it).
Route 66's alignment in New Mexico: the Historic Route 66 through Tecolote
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":
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
The 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 near Tecolote
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
Route 66 south of Romeroville
Route 66 west of San Jose
> > San Jose to Pecos through Ilfeld and Rowe.
National and State Parks
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: The Dead Man's Curve, Laguna, NM by Perla S. Eichenblat.