Abó Ruins

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6034 - 6061 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Abo Visitor Center
Fee: none
Attractions: Spanish mission, pueblo

The Abó Ruins are part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument that is located in the area around Mountainair, New Mexico. It is one of three Indian pueblos where Spanish priests built missions upon their arrival in the 1600's. The other two sites are the Quarai Ruins, that are about 8 miles north of Mountainair, and the Gran Quivira Ruins that are 25 miles to the south.

The Abó Ruins are a little less that 80 miles south of Albuquerque via Interstate 25. The easiest way to get there from wherever you are is to start typing 'abo ruins' into your driving app and then compare those directions with the map at the end of this post.

Once you arrive the best place to begin is at the visitor center. The ruins are open daily from 9am to 5pm.

The trail around the ruins follows a nice wide wheelchair accessible path where the rattlesnakes have the right of way. We didn't see any rattlesnakes but if you do they ask that you report it to a ranger. I know that at other places they like to put the snakes in a barrel and relocate them away from the site.

There are public trails with a gravel base where you can explore the various rooms of the convento that are attached to the mission. This part of the trail doesn't look accessible for a wheelchair without some assistance but should be just fine for baby strollers.

The trail brochure mentions the strangeness of there being a kiva in the middle of the convento but it doesn't say whether or not the kiva was already there before the first church was built.

With no one to care for it there is little that remains of the walls of the once grand Mission San Gregorio de Abó. Perhaps later settlers salvaged its massive wooden beams for their own purposes. Such activity would have made it easier for the walls to crumble and fall.

From the church the paved trail continues around the unexcavated mounds of the original pueblo.

There is probably at least 4 centuries worth of sand that has blown through the area and buried the pueblo creating the scene that appears today.

As the trail loops around it crosses the entrance road and passes a modern ramada with tables and a fire pit where visitors can take time to enjoy a picnic.

Along the final stretch of the trail it passes some structures that are buildings leftover from the Hispanic resettlement of the area.

There is a nice trail guide with lots of interesting facts about the Abo Ruins that really enhances the experience and almost makes the ruins come alive. On the day that we were at Abó the visitor center at the site was closed so you might want to stop at the main Visitor Center for the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument at 105 S. Ripley Avenue in Mountainair before going to the ruins. The Spanish mission and Abó Pueblo are well worth the little time it takes to explore and by combining it with a visit to the Quarai Ruins and the Gran Quivira Ruins you can have a day long outing. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.