top of page

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument: Gran Quivira

This is the place we announce to friends and family that we were expecting Morgen. Yes, if you have been following along we waited until we were 6 Months Pregnant to tell the world.

101 Miles from the Buckhorn Tavern

"The Gran Quivira unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is the largest of the three units at 611 acres. Prior to Spanish contact, Gran Quivira was a vast city with multiple pueblos, and kivas. Mound 7, a 226 room structure from the Pueblo IV period (A.D.1275/1300-1600), is the largest and only fully excavated pueblo at the site. During the excavation, an older Circular Pueblo was discovered under Mound 7. First contact with the Spanish probably happened in 1583 with the arrival of Don Antonio de Espejo who mentions a settlement that sounds very similar to Gran Quivira. The Spanish returned in 1598 with the expedition of Don Juan de Oñate who was the first Spaniard to colonize what would become New Mexico. Oñate visited a pueblo he called Las Humanas which was the southernmost settlements. As part of the mission system, Las Humanas (Gran Quivira) was first placed under the Pecos Mission District. Later, with the arrival of Fray Alonso de Benavides in 1626, Gran Quivira was given more attention and later became a visit a (a satellite mission without a resident Father) of Abó in 1629. That same year construction began on the first permanent mission at Gran Quivira. Under the supervision of Fray Francisco Letrado, rooms on the west end of Mound 7 (Letrado's Convento) were used by the Spanish for housing and probably an early chapel. Letrado was moved to the Zuni Pueblo in 1631 and Gran Quivira came under the control of Fray Francisco de Acevedo at the Abó Mission. Construction on Iglesia de San Isidro was completed in 1635. In 1659 Fray Diego de Santander was permanently assigned to Gran Quivira. Soon after, construction on a new larger church,San Buenaventura, began. By 1672 a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raiding led to the abandonment of Gran Quivira. ("

The Main Visitor Center in Mountainair is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The three park Mission Units (Abó, Quarai, and Gran Quivira) are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The gates close promptly at 5:00 p.m., with the trails and visitor centers closing slightly prior.

Salinas Pueblo Missions is closed three days out of the year: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The park may also be closed due to inclement weather. Please call ahead to check the status on days of heavy wintry weather.

Reach the Mountainair Headquarters by taking I-25 south from Albuquerque to Belen, then NM 47 diagonally to US 60, then east 21 miles to Mountainair. To travel the historic highway route (Turquoise Highway) from the north, take I-40 east from Albuquerque to NM 337, drive south 47 miles (76K) to junction with NM State Highway 55. Proceed right (west) on Hwy 55 about 16 miles (26 K). Turn right on Highway 60 and proceed one block to HQ. Information on the ruins & surrounding area is available here.

Entrance Fees:

Salinas Pueblo Entrance Fee - $0.00 There is no fee to enter Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.


bottom of page