Western Trips

Western Trips

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Art and History of Arroyo Seco New Mexico

Arroyo Seco New Mexico is located in beautiful Taos County just seven miles north of the city of Taos and nearby Taos Pueblo. The village of about 1,500 residents is also only nine miles from the popular Taos Ski Valley. Arroyo Seco in Spanish translates into "dry creek". There were two streams running through the area that was the settlements source of water.

arroyo seco new mexico
Picturesque Arroyo Seco NM
This unincorporated community at an elevation of 7,634 feet was first settled in 1804 over a Spanish land grant. Two brothers, Cristóbal Martínez and José Gregorio Martínez, moved to the area at that time and began planting crops. Shortly afterwards they built homes. This would have been during the time of Spanish rule over Nuevo Mexico. The Spaniards had settled Santa Fe to the south some 200 years prior.

Today, the economy of Arroyo Seco is predominantly from tourists and the area has a lot of vacation homes.

The Art and Events of Arroyo Seco

You'll find more than half a dozen very interesting art galleries in the little village of Arroyo Seco and is home to many artists and environmentalists. New Mexico art is one the state's biggest tourist draws. Along with visiting the galleries make a stop at Arroyo Seco Mercantile, a store first opened in 1895. Among other things there are wood carvings by local artists and Indian jewelry.

For a good meal stop by at Abe’s Cantina y Cocina. This is a market grill and a bar and a favorite of the locals and very affordable.


arroyo seco nm art
Mural on Arroyo Seco building
The biggest event of the year is the town's traditional Fourth of July Parade. People travel from all over to attend this event. At that time the village is closed off and almost everyone living in the town participates, some in costumes. You may well see burros and horses among the many automobiles. Featured in the parade are colorful floats and banners which all translate into a small town Fourth of July full of fun and very family friendly.


Northern New Mexico offers a fine collection of art galleries and Arroyo Seco is no exception.

Church of the Most Holy Trinity

The Church of the Most Holy Trinity was built in 1834 and has been restored during the 1990's. The church was built on what had been the land granted in 1745 by Joaquin Codallos y Rabal. An interesting historical fact is that the land had originally been granted to General Lucero de Godoy by the Viceroy of Mexico. He however never settled on the land. The town was not settled for another sixty years and where the church stands was at the site of the old plaza.


arroyo seco nm church
Restored Church of the Most Holy Trinity
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity was built by the famous La Fraternidad de Los Hermanos Penitentes de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno along with their families and community members. These families arrived at Arroyo Seco in 1824.

The architecture of the church is quite impressive. Adobe walls are five feet thick at their base and about three feet on top. While many churches in New Mexico were built in the "Mission" style, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity would correctly be classified in the Mission Revival style. A Mission style church in New Mexico would have been one constructed in a pueblo. Some also refer to the architecture as Mission Revival and Northern New Mexican.

The church has an altar screen that dates all the way back to it's founding.

The church operates under the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and is open for mass.

The Abominable SnowMansion

The only hostel in the Taos vicinity is located at Arroyo Seco as the The Abominable SnowMansion. This hostel is in the former Gusdorf grocery. The hostel is very laid back and gives you the impression that you're staying in someone's private home. The prices are affordable, the rooms are comfortable and the kitchen is well stocked. Being so close to the Taos Ski Valley the hostel has visitors all through the year.

You may also enjoy the Western Trips photo articles on the links below...

New Mexico Pueblo Pottery

New Mexico Attractions


arrolyo seco nm hostel
Abominable SnowMansion Hostel
Lucero Peak

Lucero Peak stands over Arroyo Seco. This 10,780 foot peak is the location of a cave which was the inspiration for D.H. Lawrence's story The Woman Who Rode Away. Lawrence had visited the area and the cave in 1924 with Mabel Dodge and others.The short story written by Lawrence follows one woman’s religious quest in Mexico.

If you enjoy mountain hiking you'll find several excellent trails in the Lucero Peak area.

A visit to Arroyo Seco New Mexico makes for a very pleasant and picturesque day trip. Being located only seven miles north of Taos, there are plenty of fun things to do and interesting places to visit in the immediate area. Taos is home to many art galleries, unique shops, the Taos Plaza, historic landmarks and the Kit Carson Home and Museum. Taos Pueblo is another excellent place to stop at. Taos Pueblo is the world's only living Native American community designated as a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Western Trips)


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