This little known national monument is located in the prairie lands of central New Mexico and home to three 17th century Spanish missions alongside the ruins of pueblos dating back to the earliest periods of European civilization.
The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument contains the earliest remnants of Spanish Franciscan missions that were led to spread Christianity to these sparsely populated grasslands. The place marks the earliest accounts of contact between Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials.
The three missions and surrounding pueblos settlement is in ruins, which isn't that surprising, given its age. Although in ruins, it is remarkably well-preserved largely thanks to the general remoteness and lack of urbanization in this region.
New Mexico's central grasslands offer a remote and serene outdoor experience. Combine this with the history and unique architecture of the ruins and you have a place that captures both the heart and the mind.
The largest excavated site at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, and perhaps the most remote, is the Gran Quivira, followed by the Quarai and Abo sites that are much older and still largely unexcavated.
Exploring these ruins in this remote and wild landscape presents a fascinating day out for all those who visit here.