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Hike the Glorieta Battlefield Trail

Glorieta, New Mexico



2.25 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type



Added by Jared Blitz

An easy, serene hike through a former civil war battlefield

This trail is a little tricky to get to, so be sure to stop at the Pecos NHP Visitor Center first for directions. You will also need to retrieve a gate code from the ranger. I would recommend picking up a guide inside the Visitor Center so you know what you're looking at on the trail (important).

To get to the trail, turn right as you're leaving the park. 7.5 miles down the road is the Old Denver HWY (paved), where you will also turn right. If you've reached the interstate you've gone too far. After a short period of time that street will turn into a dirt road called W. Frontage Rd. Stay straight on that road until you reach the gate that requires a code to enter. Don't forget to shut and lock the get behind you. Also don't forget the code if you want to leave!

Welcome to the Civil War's farthest westward battlefield! Unlike the images you're probably envisioning with regard to most civil war battlefields, this one is different. While it used to be a heavily farmed area with a lot of flat ground, the area has become overgrown with trees. Frankly, you can't get a good sense of what happened even with the 14 markers available telling you what the setup was.

The 2.25 mile trail itself was easy, with a 1 mile wheelchair accessible trail. The area is lush with forest (juniper and various pines). The path itself is very clearly carved out. When it isn't rattlesnake season, it would make for a great trail run as long as no one else is around.

Because it was hard to imagine what events unfolded there without a book in hand, I can't say this was a must do for people interested in Civil War history. However, if you're in the area it is worth checking out for yourself.

Some of the pictures above that have areas cleared of brush were where medical tents and HQs were set up by the Union army

One interesting thing of note: there were benches and even some historical readings along the trail donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Texas Division), which is an active group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as neo-confederate, and has a history of building memorials for the KKK and advocates for white supremacy. 

Something that was written about Confederate soldiers as just "being on an adventure" as opposed to fighting for an ideology to keep slavery in the states, along with the name of the donors, gave me the sense some deliberate revisionist history was in the park. It doesn't seem that old, so it surprised me it was on a trail in the NPS. I figured the NPS itself would figure out a way to teach about the confederacy without downplaying the significance of why the civil war was being fought in the first place.

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Easy Parking
Family Friendly
ADA Accessible

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