The Cerrillos Hills Historic Park is the preeminent tri-cultural mining region of North America, a cultural crossroads and a living teacher, a place of refuge and of learning, where all may be nourished by the rich historical and multi-cultural heritage. The Park offers to all who visit it, recreation, education and a renewed sense of connection to the land. It is a place in which we may all better understand our own part in a shared history.
The Cerrillos Hills Historic Park comprised about half of the total acreage acquired in Santa Fe County with the 1998 Open Space bond monies, and it was accomplished with the expenditure of about 8% of that fund.
Integral with the plan for the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park is a joint-management agreement with the Bureau of Land Management for the adjacent 2,200+ acres north of the county parklands. As the park develops we expect it to comprise over 3,000 acres of some of the most intriguing land in New Mexico.
The original Americans knew these hills well. Certainly by 900 A.D. and probably much earlier turquoise was being extracted, and by the early 1300s the lead for Rio Grande glazeware pottery. The Cerrillos Hills may be the location of the oldest known mine in the United States. First among cultures, Native Americans honor the gifts of the earth, and these generous hills are honored today as more than just a place.
Today, those few people fortunate enough to know the way hike and bike and ride their horses in the arroyos and across the ridges of the Cerrillos Hills. Soon, as trails are marked, hazards are abated, and facilities are established, this attraction will be available to everyone.
Unlike most built-up areas, the history of the Cerrillos Hills has been little disturbed by subsequent activity. You can still see fossil worm tracks in 70 million-year-old shale, a thousand-year-old turquoise pit, the stump of a juniper cut by prospectors 120 years ago, a hawk or coyote just a couple of years old searching for a meal, or this year’s bloom on the chamisa or the cholla.