Country Sunshine lives on a small farm in rural Texas, and enjoys sharing tips and stories about her experiences in the country.
All About Tererro, New Mexico
Every year, for the past 40-something years, my family has loaded up the car for our annual trip to Tererro, New Mexico. We have a cabin there- actually, it's a log house. It sits on 70 acres on the side of a mountain in the Santa Fe National Forest.
Most people have never heard of Tererro, New Mexico, because it is such a small town. However, once you stay there a few days, you'll return year after year. Why? It's a beautiful setting, the weather is great, the river is full of rainbow trout waiting to be caught, and there is plenty to do!
Brief History of Tererro, NM
Tererro, New Mexico was originally a mining camp. In the late 1880s, the camp began mining copper. By the mid-1920s, lead, silver, gold, and zinc were also mined in addition to copper. The name of the camp was changed to the "Pecos River Mining Company," and became one of the largest producers in New Mexico of lead and zinc between 1927 and 1939.
When profits increased, The American Metal Company invested in the Pecos River Mining Company. The town grew to a population of around 3000 people, and had a school, hospital, restaurant, jail, boarding houses, dance halls, a post office, and a "red-light district."
In 1939, there was a strike at the mining camp, and eventually, the miners left Tererro. A contract was made between the state and The American Metal Company to restore the town to a wilderness area when the company left.
Where Is Tererro?
Tererro, New Mexico is on the edge of the Pecos Wilderness, in the Santa Fe National Forest. It is part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range, on the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
Tererro is east of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and north of Pecos. Pecos is just off of Interstate 25. Once you get to Pecos, get on Hwy 63, and head north for about 15 miles. On a regular road, this would only take you about 15–20 minutes to get to Tererro. However, this road winds around and through the mountains, and it is pretty slow going. It is a two-lane road, so you'll need to watch for on-coming traffic, especially around the curves. And also watch for rocks—either in the road, or falling from the mountains. It usually takes us about 30 minutes or more to reach Tererro from Pecos.
Tererro Today: General Store and Post Office
When you arrive in Tererro, you'd never guess that this small spot on the road used to be a bustling town! Today, the town of Tererro is made up of a general store and post office. Inside the general store, you'll find just about everything you need for your vacation. On the far left side of the store is the post office. Here, you can buy stamps and send packages, just like in any post office around the country.
The middle of the store contains groceries. Dairy products, eggs, meat, frozen items, ice cream, bread, condiments, and much more are available. There are also cleaning supplies, items of a personal nature, pet food, and automotive supplies.
On the right side of the store, find fishing tackle, rods, reels, magnifying glasses, sunglasses, camping supplies, books, postcards, souvenirs, and clothing.
In the back of the store, you'll find coin-operated washers and dryers, so you don't have to bring so many clothes with you. A shower is also available if you want to clean up on the way home.
Outside the general store to the left, you'll find what used to be the riding stables. Horse trips were offered up until 2012, when the owners of the store decided it was no longer profitable.
The rides were great fun, and my family went on them every year. We rode up the side of the mountain into the forest, and there was no telling what we would see along the way!
If you wish to take a horse trip now, you'll need to contact one of the stables in nearby Pecos or other nearby towns. There are trips for beginners, more serious riders, campers, and hunters.
The Hummingbirds in Tererro
Tererro is one of the greatest places to see hummingbirds in their natural habitat. It is one of the breeding grounds for 3 types: the Broadtail, Rufus, and Calliope. The birds begin arriving in March, and stay through mid-September when they head back to the Caribbean.
Several years ago, hummingbird researchers leased our cabin for a year in order to study the hummingbirds. They caught them, banded them, wrote a few notes about each one, then sent them on their way. They banded close to 2000 individual birds that year and found that the majority of them returned.
A great place to view the hummingbirds is on the porch of the general store. The store owner's wife, Sherry Ley, hangs several gallon-size feeders on the porch, which she fills daily. There are more birds early in the morning and just before dusk. However, no matter what time of day you visit, there are always hummingbirds at the store. It's really relaxing to sit on the porch, watch the birds, and listen to the river.
The Pecos River
To the left of the store is the Pecos River. The fishing here is amazing! It is stocked by the Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery, which is located just outside of the city of Pecos.
Purchase a fishing license before you head up the mountain, then fish for rainbow trout either from the bank or in the river. You might want to bring hip waders with you, as the water is really chilly all year.
If you like to camp out, Tererro has a free campground across the Pecos River from the general store. It is small, with about 10 campsites. But it does have a few picnic tables and portable toilets, so it is not totally rustic. If it is too crowded for you in Tererro, you can continue up the mountain towards Cowles. There are more campsites and fishing areas between the two towns.
One interesting thing of note: There is a cave in the cliff to one side of the campgrounds. One of the native Indian tribes—I can't remember which—claimed a few years back that the cave belonged to their ancestors. They planned a lawsuit to have the town of Tererro given back to the tribe, because of religious ceremonies held in the cave. You can actually look into the cave, but there are bars across the entrance.
Sightseeing Near Tererro
If camping and fishing aren't enough for you, there are attractions nearby that you may find interesting. They are both right outside of Pecos, so you'll have to drive back down the mountain to visit them.
The first is the Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery. It was built in 1927 and is one of the oldest hatcheries in New Mexico. They raise about 135,000 rainbow trout each year, which they release into the Pecos River. It is an interesting tour, and won't take but a few minutes of your time.
Next to the Fish Hatchery is Monastery Lake. This is a large, oval lake where you can fish. My grandfather spent a lot of time fishing here. He especially liked to go ice fishing there in the winter months. Unfortunately, ice fishing is no longer available
What is Monastery Lake without a monastery? Next to the lake is the Pecos Benedictine Monastery. It's also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey. They have rooms for rent, in addition to offering spiritual retreats. I have never stayed there, so I don't know much about that part of the monastery. However, they do have a gift shop full of really interesting items. I have purchased jewelry here. The gift shop also offers candles, books and posters, and a few other items.
Tererro does not have any restaurants, so you are on your own for cooking. Pan-fried or grilled rainbow trout is great, but it's not likely you will want fish for breakfast!
The closest restaurants are in Pecos. There are a couple of Mexican food places and a Dairy Queen. Keep in mind that the Mexican food here is different than you'll get in other states. For example, if you ask for chili, they'll ask you "Red or green?" It's not a meat & bean mixture. Instead, it is a sauce made of Hatch chili peppers that you put on other foods, such as enchiladas.
The next closest place to have a sit-down meal is in Santa Fe. It is a really big city, with a lot of restaurants and bustle. It is a fun place to visit for a day trip.
More Information on Tererro, New Mexico
If you'd like to learn more about Terrero, New Mexico, the Pecos Wilderness, or the neighboring towns and activities, please choose from the links below:
- Pecos, New Mexico
Official website for Pecos, New Mexico. Provides maps of the area, including Tererro. Also includes information on places to stay, area activities, and restaurants.
- Tererro General Store
Contains information on the general store & what it offers, horseback riding trips, the hummingbirds, and cabin rentals
- Pecos Benedictine Monastery
Official website for the Monastery / Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey. It provides information on their ministries, room rentals, retreats, and more
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Country Sunshine