Trails and Rails: Arts & Heritage of Valencia County

Exploring the Arts & Heritage Trail

Come retrace ancient pathways on the Arts & Heritage Trail of Valencia County, New Mexico. During the 13th century, Anasazi's settled at Isleta, an "island" surrounded by the Rio Bravo del Norte or "Wild River of the North". Now called the Rio Grande, this waterway winds through one of nature's largest cottonwood forests as the lifeblood of settlements wherein farming, fighting, sheep herding, praying, ranching and creative arts have flourished from time beyond memory.

Get caught up in stories of land grants, fierce politics and dramatic battles as you travel the Camion Real del Tierra Adentro, "Spain's Royal Road". Here, armies, traders, Franciscans, scoundrels and settlers followed the ever-changing course of the Rio Grande. Native paths evolved into the Camino Real, Santa Fe Trail, and Historic Route 66 which parallel and cross railways and highways. Now national "scenic by-ways", they weave together layers of Native American, Hispanic, European and Anglo-American history and culture. Whether you explore afoot, on horseback, by train, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile or hot air balloon, you will discover a rich tapestry of heritage through extraordinary art and an ancient sense of place.

Finding the Treasures in Valencia County

This self-guided tour loop takes you to the historic villages of Valencia County, New Mexico. Relax to the gentle pace of valley life and follow the trails and rails of our rich creative history. Traditional and contemporary artists flourish here with the descendants of indigenous and Hispanic families. we also welcome you to spend a night or two in a charming bed & breakfast and savor a delicious meal in one of our local restaurants.