Pinos Altos, New Mexico

Written by on February 14, 2012 in NM Cities, Dining, Lodging - Comments Off on Pinos Altos, New Mexico

Pinos Altos means “tall pines” in Spanish, and the town of the same name is a fantastic place to enjoy soaring pines and the beauty of the continental divide in New Mexico. The town got its start in 1860 when three frustrated gold miners stopped for a drink in nearby Bear Creek and discovered gold. Word of the strike spread like wildfire and soon Pinos Altos was a booming gold town. Roy Bean operated his mercantile store here before moving to Texas to gain fame as Judge Roy Bean – the Law West of the Pecos.
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Like nearly all the gold strikes in the West, the mines eventually played out and the ranchers moved in to settle the area and raise mostly cattle on huge stakes. But even the ranchers and settlers weren’t enough to sustain the town and it was eventually abandoned just before the Civil War. However, many of the old building remained standing.

Today, Pinos Altos, originally named Birchville after one of the first prospectors, is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of New Mexico and the Gila National Forest. With mild weather during all four seasons, there’s never a bad time to visit. The charming main street feels like an old west movie set, particularly since many of the buildings date back to the 1880s and have been lovingly restored. Visitors to Pinos Altos can enjoy a wide variety of activities:

  • Visit the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House for a fantastic meal
  • Enjoy two scoops of great ice cream at the Pinos Altos Ice Cream Parlor, Café, Gift Shop and Post Office
  • Explore the Hearst Methodist Church, now the home of the Grant County Art Guild
  • Delve into the Pinos Althos Historical Museum and learn the history of the area
  • Visit the nearby City of Rocks State Park
  • Walk in awe among the Pueblo Ruins at Gila Cliff Dwellings
  • Take a hike on the Continental Divide Trail
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride
  • Try your hand at panning for gold
  • Visit nearby Silver City, another old mining town

There are many places to stay in Pinos Altos, including the historic Bear Creek Hotel & Cabins. Camping is available at nearby City of Rocks State Park. For more information, email gro.sotlasonipnull@ofni or call toll-free: 800-348-2477 or visit the website at www.pinosaltos.org.

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