Ojo New Mexico

August 15, 2016


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Ojo Sarco is believed to be named for a spring in a nearby cañada. The name was sometimes spelled Ojo Zarco. "Ojo" means "spring" and "zarco" means "light blue". Look for the well-known Ojo Sarco Pottery Studio and several other galleries in Ojo Sarco.

San José de Gracia Church, Las Trampas ©2009 Craig Scogin Continue on to Las Trampas founded in 1751 by a royal land grant, entitled Santo Tomás Apostol del Río de las Trampas ("Saint Thomas, Apostle of the River of Traps"). Despite the heavy toll taken by a smallpox epidemic and raids by Plains Indians, the village survived and the settlers managed to build the magnificent San José de Gracia Church completed in 1776.

The church is considered a model of the Spanish colonial church architecture found throughout New Mexico. It has lovely reredos painted by well-known santeros. The church is a National Historic Landmark, and the village is a is a National Historic District. The building across from the church with the little bell tower was the school.

As you leave Las Trampas, on the right is an old Spanish aqueduct with a wooden flume, or canoa ("canoe"), still in use as part of the acequia system, which still brings waters to the fields and pastures of Las Trampas.

State Road 76 continues through the Carson National Forest. Look for signs that lead off to El Valle and Ojito both settled by colonists from Las Trampas. Both are accessed by lovely scenic drives through the Carson National Forest.

The next village on SR 76 is Chamisal. It, too, was settled by Spanish villagers moving out from Las Trampas; all of these villages lie within the Las Trampas land grant. Chamisal is named for the "chamisa" shrub (rabbitbrush) which turns golden in late summer. Chamisal Creek flows northwest to join the Peñasco River, which is named for the village of Peñasco.

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