Villanueva State Park - Villanueva, New Mexico
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Max and 99
N 35° 15.841 W 105° 20.253
13S E 469297 N 3902374
Quick Description: A historical marker is located at the entrance to Villanueva State Park.
Location: New Mexico, United States
Date Posted: 5/26/2022 3:52:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM167H6
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Geo Ferret
Views: 0

Long Description:
At the entrance to Villanueva State Park is a park sign and this historical marker. Just past the historical marker is the Pay Station which provides more information on the park, trails, camping spots, and restrooms.

This is a wonderful park in New Mexico! Shade trees line the west side of the Pecos River, with the rocky bluffs on the east side. An iron footbridge provides access over the river (see map for location), at the Viewpoint Loop Trail.

Text on marker (Official Scenic Historic Marker)

Villanueva State Park

Couched between high red sandstone bluffs in a beautiful valley of the Pecos River, this park is located near the picturesque Spanish colonial village of Villanueva. The park offers hiking trails with historical markers and camping/picnicking sites.
History::
Karl F. Moffatt Gazing out from the overlook trail at Villanueva State Park, one can see the Pecos River sparkling in the sunlight as it meanders through the scenic valley below. It's a short but steep climb to the top of the hill overlooking this tidy little state park, but the rewards are spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The state park, about 60 miles east of Santa Fe, has long been a draw for locals, but others are also finding their way down into this secluded, picturesque valley along the Pecos River. During a recent midweek visit, a French tourist and a Wyoming retiree were hiking along the park's popular overlook trail, while a couple of local fishermen cleaned their catch at the bank of the river. There's a reason Villanueva State Park has long been known as a locals park, and that's in part because it is — it was created back in 1967 with land donated by the San Miguel del Bado Land Grant Board of Trustees. "This is the only state park I know of initially created by a land grant board of trustees," said Malcolm Ebright, director of the Center for Land Grant Studies of Guadalupita, in a 2009 report to the state regarding the park. The report provides a fascinating historical perspective of how the park was born during a tumultuous time in the state's land grant history. It notes that the land-grant trustees not only transferred 67 acres — including 4,800 feet of riverfront access to the park — but also agreed to open to the public an additional 3.5 miles of the Pecos River for fishing and other recreational purposes. The nearby village of Villanueva, where most of the land-grant members lived at the time, was expected to benefit from the increased commerce, the report notes. Visitors to the village may want to drive up to the top of the hill overlooking the town to see a grotto containing santos and other religious items. The village boasts a beautiful church constructed of local rock back in 1830, and a stop at the village mercantile is a must for those who cherish mom-and-pop stores. The park is just a few miles down the road from Villanueva and has proven to be very popular. "The locals love it here on weekends and especially on Easter Sunday," says Ramon Gallegos Jr., a 25-year New Mexico State Parks veteran and Villanueva's acting manager. "But during midweek, it's peaceful and a great place to come relax and enjoy the scenery." The park spans about 1,600 acres, with a campground featuring 33 sites, 12 of which provide electricity. There's a bathhouse with showers and a modern playground for the kids. The river is regularly stocked from fall through spring. Swimming and wading become the favored activities during the summer months. A visitor center features brochures, pamphlets and informative displays. Visitors will find numerous appealing campsites nestled among shade trees along river, while newly rehabilitated camping shelters atop a hill overlook the lower campground. An iron bridge spanning the river leads hikers to a 2.5-mile loop trail that heads up to the ravine overlooking the campground and river below. Upon first heading upstream on the trail, hikers will encounter a small butte jutting out over the river, where the remains of rock walls can be seen. Native Americans and later Spanish settlers both apparently made good use of this spot — and hikers can, too. The trail then switches back and begins a short but steep climb to the top of the overlook, where visitors will find several rustic picnic shelters and an observation deck. This is a superb spot to relax and enjoy a couple of cold beverages. Visitors need to pack out what they bring in, and well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome. Hikers can then continue their hike along the ridge line and return to the bottom just downstream of the bridge. Gallegos notes that the river is popular among kayakers and canoeists during years of ample spring runoff. (see rest of article in text below)


Link to History,Plaque or Sign:: [Web Link]

Additional Point: Not Listed

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