El Camino Real Historic Trail Site
This site, located 35 miles south of Socorro, charts the journey and significance of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road to the Interior Land). The historic trade route traversed the same landscape on which the state-owned museum is situated, on the path of the very trail it interprets.
Originally extending from Mexico City to Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), the 1,500-mile trail was followed into New Mexico by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate, who in 1598 claimed New Mexico as a colony of Spain. The riverside route tracked a course of ancient and established Indian trails. For the next 300 years, it was the primary route into New Mexico for Spanish friars, colonists and military officials as well as other adventurous settlers.
Linking the cultures of Spain, Mexico and the United States, El Camino Real was the foundation for a vibrant history of travel, trade and commerce in the region. Today, El Camino Real Historic Trail Site honors that history in an award-winning building boasting a stylized ship design. Artist Greg Reiche’s monumental sculpture, Camino de Sueños (Road of Dreams), greets motorists approaching the site.
The museum’s exhibitions highlight first-person stories and artifacts that illuminate the journeys of Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans, Anglo-Americans and others. Hand-hewn carts, tools, leather water jugs, and religious altars and objects provide visitors with an educational and inspiring experience of the trail.
While the State of New Mexico provides funding to operate the site, private contributions through the Museum of New Mexico Foundation are critical in creating exhibitions and programs.
To learn how to support this historic site click here