About 25 miles south of Socorro, and a mile or so off the highway, you will find the El Camino Real Historic Trail Site and International Cultural Center where you can explore and learn about the history of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the Royal Road of the Interior Lands (not to be confused with the El Camino Real California). Spanning 1,500 miles from Mexico City to north of Santa Fe, The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is one of the oldest trails in the US, and for much of its lifetime, the longest trail, as well!
The visitor’s center and museum are housed in a beautiful contemporary, award-winning facility and the thoughtful exhibits tell the story of almost four centuries of cross-cultural trade and immigration. The collection of art, artifacts, and stories places visitors in the thick of the history, allowing for an immersive experience. The site is located near the point where caravans from Mexico City veered away from the Rio Grande River in an effort to shorten the long journey to Santa Fe, but in doing so, sacrificed their proximity to water. It is easy to imagine, once visitors go back outside and look at the vast expanse of desert, what a risk it was.
Often during the spring and summer months there are events and dances in the on-site amphitheater. Other amenities include: the Museum Shop, conference room, picnic areas, Curandera Herb Garden, Native American garden, and nature trails with 360° views of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Magdalena Mountain range.
Adjacent to the Historic Trail Site is a monumental sculpture by artist Greg Reiche entitled “Camino de Sueños” or “Road of Dreams.” If you walk up to and into the sculpture, you can find these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” This sculpture was placed as part of the State of New Mexico’s 1% for Public Art program, and serves as a beacon for travelers looking to experience the Historic Site.
As it says on the El Camino Real Historic Trail Site website, “Discover the conflict, the confluence of cultures, and the ideas that have forged New Mexico, the Southwest, and the nation. Discover your roots. . . travel the trail.”
Phone : 575-854-3600
Open 8:30am - 5:00pm Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, & Xmas