Ojo Sarco, Las Trampas and Chamisal
Ojo Sarco is believed to be named for a spring in a nearby cañada. The name was sometimes spelled Ojo Zarco. "Ojo" means "spring" and "zarco" means "light blue". Look for the well-known Ojo Sarco Pottery Studio and several other galleries in Ojo Sarco.
Continue on to Las Trampas founded in 1751 by a royal land grant, entitled Santo Tomás Apostol del Río de las Trampas ("Saint Thomas, Apostle of the River of Traps"). Despite the heavy toll taken by a smallpox epidemic and raids by Plains Indians, the village survived and the settlers managed to build the magnificent San José de Gracia Church completed in 1776.
The church is considered a model of the Spanish colonial church architecture found throughout New Mexico. It has lovely reredos painted by well-known santeros. The church is a National Historic Landmark, and the village is a is a National Historic District. The building across from the church with the little bell tower was the school.
As you leave Las Trampas, on the right is an old Spanish aqueduct with a wooden flume, or canoa ("canoe"), still in use as part of the acequia system, which still brings waters to the fields and pastures of Las Trampas.
State Road 76 continues through the Carson National Forest. Look for signs that lead off to El Valle and Ojito both settled by colonists from Las Trampas. Both are accessed by lovely scenic drives through the Carson National Forest.
The next village on SR 76 is Chamisal. It, too, was settled by Spanish villagers moving out from Las Trampas; all of these villages lie within the Las Trampas land grant. Chamisal is named for the "chamisa" shrub (rabbitbrush) which turns golden in late summer. Chamisal Creek flows northwest to join the Peñasco River, which is named for the village of Peñasco.
- Blue Spring Orchard, Ojo Sarco, New Mexico: Orchard Restoration on the High Road to Taos—blog about restoring a centuries-old orchard in Ojo Sarco
- Las Trampas—article from Sangres.com
- Photo of Las Trampas from the Library of Congress, taken by John Collier in the 1940s for the Farm Security Administration
- Photos of Las Trampas from the Library of Congress, taken by John Collier in the 1940s for the Farm Security Administration (from Flickr)
- Las Trampas—Moon Travel Guides article
- San José de Gracia Church—from Wikipedia
- San José de Gracia Church—from National Historic Landmarks, National Parks Service website.
- Chamisal, New Mexico—from Wikipedia