Tucked away inconspicuously below the High Rd, just west of the junction of Hwy 76 and Hwy 75, Picuris Pueblo was once among the largest and most powerful Pueblos in New Mexico. The Picuris built adobe cities at least seven stories tall and boasted a population approaching 3000.
Thanks perhaps to its isolated location (or inspirational geology), Nambé Pueblo has long been a spiritual center for the Tewa-speaking tribes, a distinction that attracted the cruel attentions of Spanish priests intent on conversion by any means necessary. After the Pueblo Revolt and Reconquista wound down, Spanish settlers annexed much of their land.
Completed in 1780 and constantly defended against Apache raids, the sturdy adobe Church of San José de Gracia in tiny Las Trampas is considered one of the finest surviving 18th-century churches in the US and is a National Historic Landmark. It’s still surrounded by a low adobe wall, while the paintings and carvings inside remain in excellent condition.