Palo Flechado Pass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Palo Flechado Pass (Spanish: tree pierced with arrows),[1] also called Taos Pass and Old Taos Pass,[2][3] is a mountain pass located in Taos County, New Mexico[4] on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.[5]


Palo Flechado Pass is 9,109 feet (2,776 m) in altitude.[6] It is located 3.5 miles west of Aqua Fria Creek[2] on U.S. Route 64 in the Carson National Forest.[7] A tributary of Agua Fria Creek, Palo Flechado Creek, is near the pass.[2]


Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache used the mountain pass on a trail from the plains to and then alongside the Cimarron River (also called La Flecha) before the arrival of the Spanish.[1][7] It continued to be used by Native Americans, Spaniards and Europeans on journeys to Taos.[2]

According to the historic marker placed at the pass, a band of Apaches, the Flecha de Palo, lived in the plains east of the mountains in 1706.[1] A common theory for the name of the pass is based upon a Taos Pueblo tradition for shooting arrows into a tree at a mountain pass following a successful buffalo hunt.[2]


There are two hiking trails within a mile of the pass that go into the Palo Flechado Meadow and alongside a stream, the Elliot Barker Trail leads to a pond and then a dense spruce-fir forest. The La Jara Trail at Forest Road 5 parallels a stream in the Rio Grande valley.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Palo Flechado Pass. New Mexico Historic Markers. New Mexico Tourism Department. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Robert Hixson Julyan (1 January 1996). The Place Names of New Mexico. UNM Press. pp. 256–257. ISBN 978-0-8263-1689-9. 
  3. ^ "Palo Flechado Pass". Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), United States Geological Survey. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  4. ^ Palo Flechado Pass. Topozone. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  5. ^ United States. Forest Service. Southwestern Region (1990). Enchanted Circle and Valle Vidal Loop tours: Carson National Forest. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. p. 12. 
  6. ^ Topographic Map Gap Features in Taos County, New Mexico. Topozone. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  7. ^ a b David Pike (November 2003). Roadside New Mexico: A Guide to Historic Markers. UNM Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8263-3118-2. 
  8. ^ Bob Julyan (2004). Best Hikes with Children in New Mexico. The Mountaineers Books. pp. 55–58. ISBN 978-0-89886-886-9. 

Coordinates: 36°24′52.13″N 105°20′11.04″W / 36.4144806°N 105.3364000°W / 36.4144806; -105.3364000