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The Pecos River

New Mexico and Texas


Sangre de Christo Mountains

 thumbnail - Pecos River trailhead in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

This is the end of the road up the Pecos River. From here a network of trails lead into the Pecos Wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the source of the Pecos River in mountain snowbanks, lakes, and springs.

Jacks Creek Campground, Santa Fe National Forest,, New Mexico

April 11, 2014
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Headwaters of the Pecos River

Pecos River at Cowles in the Sangre de Christo

 thumbnail - Pecos River at Cowles

At this point high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains the Pecos River is a cold clear trout stream. Cowles is the center of an area of vacation cabins and guest ranches.

Panchuela on the Pecos River, Santa Fe National Forest,, New Mexico

April 11, 2014
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Headwaters of the Pecos River

Pecos River in the gorge north of Pecos

 thumbnail - Red rocks on the Pecos River in the Sangre de Christo Range

A band of red granite forms a short rocky narrows on the Pecos River near Tererro in the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

Tererro on the Pecos River, Santa Fe National Forest,, New Mexico

April 11, 2014
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Headwaters of the Pecos River

The former Pueblo of Pecos

 thumbnail - Pecos pueblo ruins

Ruins of the pueblo that once surrounded the mission church at Pecos include round underground kivas.

Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico

April 10, 2014
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Pecos National Monument

Pecos River in San Miguel

 thumbnail - Pecos River in San Miguel

This was where the Santa Fe Trail forded the Pecos River. The trail was succeeded by the Santa Fe Railway, Route 66, and Interstate 25, all of which cross the Pecos at Ribera a few miles to the north.

San Miguel del Vado Historic District, New Mexico

April 10, 2014
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Villanueva

Pecos River at Villanueva

 thumbnail - Pecos River at Villanueva State Park

Though it is diverted for agricultural use by many small acequias along its course from the Sangre de Christo Range to the north, the Pecos at Villanueva flows fairly clear, and cold enough to support a population of trout.

Villanueva State Park, New Mexico

April 10, 2014
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Villanueva

The Gallinas River in the center of Las Vegas

The Gallinas River is, a tributary to the Pecos.

 thumbnail - Bridge over Gallinas Creek in Las Vegas

Gallinas Creek separates the original Spanish-era settlement around the plaza from the newer American town spreading from the railroad station. The two have long since grown together, linked by Bridge Street.

Las Vegas, New Mexico

April 10, 2014
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Las Vegas

The Plaza in Las Vegas

 thumbnail - Plaza Hotel on the Las Vegas Plaza

Las Vegas' Plaza Hotel is the grandest building in this part of New Mexico. Its size and elaborate decoration attest to the importance of the town in its heyday as key point on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It was built in 1882 and still operates as a hotel.

Las Vegas, New Mexico

April 10, 2014
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Las Vegas

The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa

 thumbnail - The Blue Hole produces 3000 gallons of water per minute

Located in an area of artesian springs and ponds the Blue Hole is exceptional for its beauty and high rate of flow. For many years it supported a fish hatchery, now it is a city park and recreation area, as well as a mecca for SCUBA divers.

Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, New Mexico

April 9, 2014
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Dam on the Pecos River

 thumbnail - Site of power dam on the Pecos River

Ruins of a dam and aqueduct that once generated power for the town of Santa Rosa. The dam is actually on El Rito Creek, fed by the Blue Hole and other springs, and slightly above the level of the Pecos River..

Pecos River south of Santa Rosa, New Mexico

April 9, 2014
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Pecos River at Fort Sumner

 thumbnail - The Pecos River at Fort Sumner

The Pecos River may be small but it is of critical importance in this arid country. It nurtured a string of small agricultural communities hundreds of miles long, Before deep well technology it was the only source of irrigation water.

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner, New Mexico

April 9, 2014
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Bosque Redondo Memorial

Bosque Redondo Memorial

 thumbnail - Bosque Redondo Memorial

The Bosque Redondo Memorial, shaped like a Navajo hogan and an Apache teepee, opened in 2005. There is a trail to the ruins of Fort Sumner and the Pecos River, but the Memorial is (in 2014) still mostly empty.

Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner, New Mexico

April 9, 2014
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Bosque Redondo Memorial

UFO's in Roswell

 thumbnail - One of several UFO gift shops in Roswell

Roswell trades on the notoriety of the alleged crash of a UFO some 75 miles away in 1947. It is popularly believed to have been an alien spacecraft and the little green men theme is apparent all over town.

Roswell, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Roswell

The Bottomless Lakes

 thumbnail - Lea Lake is the largest of the Bottomless Lakes and is 90 feet deep

The so-called bottomless lakes are flooded sinkholes. They were formed when massive gypsum deposits dissolved and were leached away, then overlying rocks collapsed into the void. Lea Lake was extensively developed by the CCC in the 1930's and is today a very popular park.

Bottomless Lakes State Park, near Roswell, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Bottomless Lakes

Brantley Lake reservoir on the Pecos River

 thumbnail - Brantley Lake near Carlsbad

This reservoir on the Pecos River wasn't nearly as low as most others in the region (a similar reservoir I saw near San Angelo was actually empty).

Brantley Lake State Park, near Carlsbad, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Carlsbad

The pioneer aqueduct on the Pecos River at Carlsbad

 thumbnail - The Pecos River Flume in Carlsbad

Carlsbad began as a cattle camp on the trail running north from Texas. A dam on the Pecos River and diversion of almost the entire river lead to development of irrigated agriculture. The original wooden flume was destroyed by flood and replaced with this massive concrete structure, which now forms part of a five mile long recreational trail that runs right through town.

Pecos River Flume, Carlsbad, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Carlsbad

Pecos Riverwalk in Carlsbad

 thumbnail - Carlsbad Riverwalk on the Pecos

The Carlsbad Riverwalk is a walking and cycling trail that follows the Pecos River through town.

Carlsbad, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Carlsbad

Living Desert Museum near Carlsbad

 thumbnail - Desert upland section with yucca and juniper

Living Desert State Park near Carlsbad is laid out in areas planted to resemble the major environments of New Mexico. This section represents the desert uplands, with juniper trees, several types of yucca, and ocotillo.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, near Carlsbad, New Mexico

April 8, 2014
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Living Desert Museum

Museum of the Pecos in Pecos, Texas

 thumbnail - West of the Pecos Museum

Two adjacent buildings comprise the West of the Pecos Museum, an 1896 saloon and a 1904 hotel

West of the Pecos Museum, Pecos, Texas

April 7, 2014
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Pecos

The Jersy Lily Saloon in Langtry

 thumbnail - Jersey Lilly Saloon and visitor center

This is the authentic Jersey Lilly Saloon, named for singer Lillie Langtry, the "Jersey Lily" by Justice of the Peace Judge Roy Bean. Judge Bean was literally the "law west of the Pecos" and a legend in his own time.

Langtry, Texas

March 30, 2014
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Judge Roy Bean's Jersey Lily Saloon

Amistad Reservoir

 thumbnail - Steps down to the Pecos River branch of Amistad Reservoir

Highway 90 crosses the Pecos River branch of Amistad Reservoir here on a high bridge. A little further north the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses the canyon on a similar bridge 322 feet high. It was built in 1892 (replaced in 1949) and is still in use by Amtrak passenger service

Pecos River, Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas

March 29, 2014
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Amistad National Recreation Area and Seminole Canyon

Previous Thematic Listing:
Rivers - Rio Grande New Mexico
Next Thematic Listing:
Rivers - Mississippi