Collectively called the Salinas Pueblo Missions, three distinct sites (Abo, Quarai, and Gran Quivira), offer visitors a glimpse into the cultural and historical depth of New Mexico. It is here, near the great salt lakes of what is now known as the Estancia Valley, that people of the Anasazi and the Mogollon cultures evolved into an agriculture based society and started building villages almost two thousand years ago.
The Tompiro villages of Abo and Gran Quivira, and the Tiwa speaking pueblo of Quarai, flourished as trading centers and were said to have numbered 10,000 inhabitants when the Spaniards arrived in the late 1500s. The colonial influence thrust the Pueblo Indians into a new era, with significant advances in many aspects of their lives, and at a great loss in others.
By the late 1670s, affected by a multitude of factors, the people at Abo, Quarai and Gran Quivira left their homes, leaving behind Pueblo ruins and stalwart Mission walls. Take a walk in this special place, peel back the layers of history, and experience the magic of the Salinas Pueblo Missions.
Located in northwestern New Mexico, Chaco Canyon is one of the most visually stunning archaeological sites in the Southwest. The Ancient Puebloans, known also as the Anasazi, are believed to have appeared in the Four Corners region as early as 1200 BC. These nomadic people were predominantly hunter-gatherers who gradually shifted to an agriculture-based society.
In the mid 800s, the Chacoan culture experienced a phenomenal growth with the construction of several magnificent great houses including Pueblo Bonito. Sophisticated architecturally, these great houses were aligned to solar, lunar and cardinal directions. By AD 1050, Chaco was the predominant economic and cultural center of the region and remained so until about AD 1300. Scholars believe that severe drought conditions may have resulted in the depopulation and eventual abandonment of Chaco Canyon.
Today, the massive stone buildings lie in ruin but are still an impressive sight to behold. Take a trip to Chaco Canyon with Santa Fe Mountain Adventures and tour the 6 great houses that are located along the 9-mile long Canyon Loop Drive. Learn about the culture and history of the Ancient Pueblo people but more importantly, experience the sacred nature of the place.