Wildflowers, forests, fish -- sure beats summer in the sweltering city

The village of Pecos is 6 miles east of I-25 on State 50 and about 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe.

When the desert breeze starts feeling like a hair dryer on high, Santa Feans flee to the shady pastures of Pecos, a village on the edge of a vast wilderness area. We’re talking evergreens, lush grasses, glassy ponds, and classic log cabins ― Rocky Mountain-style livin’ less than an hour from New Mexico’s capital.

Fuel up on breakfast burritos and chitchat with locals at the country store, then head into the 1.6 million-acre Santa Fe National Forest for fishing, horseback riding, and trekking along trails lined with wild iris.

Santa Fe National Forest.What: Guided horseback rides through the aspen-scattered high country, home to elk, coyote – and sweeping vistas. How much: $30 per hour. Where: Depart from Tererro General Store & Riding Stables, 13 miles north of Pecos on State 63; 505/757-6193. 

Beatty’s Trail.
What: A gently sloping, hour-long woodsy walk with wildflower-strewn meadows and views that’ll have you singing “the hills are alive!” When: Start early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. Where: Jack’s Creek Trailhead, Santa Fe National Forest; 505/757-6121.

Cowles Pond.
What: A perfect fish-filled pond for kids, plus access to 150 miles of streams with rainbow and brookies for adults. When: Best before sunrise. Where: 20 miles north of Pecos on State 63, Santa Fe National Forest; see above. Pick up tackle and bait at Adelo’s Town & Country Store; 505/757-8565. 

Pecos National Historical Park.
What: Remarkably preserved large-scale ruins from a 1400s Indian pueblo. How much: $3. Where: 2 miles south of Pecos on State 63; 505/757-6414.

Griego’s Market & Liquor.
What: Village social center where locals put back fiery carne adovada breakfast burritos. When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. How much: $. Where: 1 mile north of Pecos on State 50; 505/757-6555.

Frankie’s at the Casanova.
What: Green chile stews and enchilada casseroles served in a beer garden. When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tue-Sun. How much: $$. Where: S. Main St. (State 63) at State 50; 505/757-3322.

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