On Walkabout At: El Santuario De Chimayo Church, New Mexico

Basic Information


I have thing for checking out historical churches, temples, mosques, etc. around the world and New Mexico is an especially great place to do this.  The state is filled with many historic old churches especially around the Santa Fe area.  Without a doubt the most famous church in the Santa Fe region is the Santuario De Chimayo Church.  This historic church is located about a 45 minute drive outside of Santa Fe through the scenic high New Mexico desert:

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The drive to Chimayo from Santa Fe is actually quite a nice one due to all the various colors that can be seen in the high desert landscape:

I stopped several times along the way to take some pictures of this colorful desert to include taking one of my truck:

Just a short drive down the road into this river valley was the location of the church:

Native Americans occuppied this valley long before the Spanish ever arrived.  The village of Chimayo was founded in the early 18th century and has long been known for its Spanish weaving traditions, however it is it’s famous church that continues to draw visitor to this remote area.  Since the village is so small the church is fairly easy to find:

From the church’s parking lot I had to first walk across a grass field that had these stone crosses erected next to the creek that flows adjacent to the chuch:

The water in this creek was incredibly clean since it flows straight from the snow capped peaks of the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains:

Also adjacent to this creek was an area where church services could be held as well as this altar that oddly people leave their tennis shoes at:

El Santuario is known for its healing properties and often called the Lourdes of America; so maybe these shoes had something to do with healing people?  Anyway, from the outside seating area there is a small hill to walk up to the actual El Santuario De Chimayo, which from there provides a good view of the outdoor seating area:

As nice as the outdoor area is, the church is without a doubt beautiful building:

What makes this church so popular with visitors is the supposed healing powers this church has.  As the story goes, in 1810 a friar was in the village of Chimayo and he saw a light on the hill side.  So when to the area he saw the light at and begun digging.  When dug into the hill side he found a cruxifix.  The friar brought the cruxifix to nearby Santa Cruz but it ended up disappearing and the friar end up finding the cruxifix back at the original hill side.  He attempted to bring the cruxifix back to Santa Cruz three times and it disappeared each time to end up back on the hill side.  After the third time the friar took it to mean that the cruxifix wanted to remain on the hill.  So the friar built a small chapel on the hill.  Soon after the construction of the chapel the miraculous healings began which brought increased crowds to the chapel.

Due to the ever growing crowds the current adobe mission was built in 1816 to accomodate them:

The church is actually fairly large and all around the structure it is beautifully landscaped:

Of course outside of the chapel is a statue of the friar that found the cruxifix on the hill that made this holy site possible:

I went inside the church, but there was a service going on so I didn’t take any pictures.  However, inside the chapel both the original cross and the hole the friar dug up the cross at can be seen:

The church is reported to receive 300,000 visitors a year and is known as the most important Catholic pilgrimmage site in the United States.


Even if you are not a religious person this site is quite scenic and well worth checking out.  First of all the drive out to Chimayo makes for a nice day trip from Santa Fe.  Also I enjoy seeing the historic Hispanic architecture that can be found in New Mexico which El Santuario de Chimayo is a great example of.  The historic past of the church only adds to the experience of visiting the church.  I had a great time visiting the church and I hope other people have an enjoyable experience as well.

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5 Responses to On Walkabout At: El Santuario De Chimayo Church, New Mexico

  1. sue harrington says:

    is this the church with the priest who has been there for something like 70 years. I heard of a church with healing mud in NM and can't remember the name of it.

  2. Francine Morgan says:

    To whom it may concern, I am visiting New Mexico with my entire family for the first time in 30yrs. We will be there the week after Christmas. As I lost my mother two yrs ago on christmas day, I remember this church being one of the dearest places to take us as children. She walked every year to sacrifice. My mother was born and raised in the San Juan Pueblo. This trip is also to reunite with my birth father that I havnt seen since 1975. He is 71 this year. As we are all very excited for the trip? It is also my husband and mine 25th. Wedding Anniversary. My question is do you think it possible to have a vow renewal on the site?to have all my children present as well as my father would be a great gift to my mother. If possible could someone respond with info.? It would mean so much to me.

    Thank you, Fran Morgan

  3. Roger P. Hansen says:

    :?: I have been unable to find a map on how to get to the El Santuario do Chimayo from Santa Fe. What are the opening days and hours? Will the church be open to the public on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What are the “Christmas time” opening hours?

  4. Dobbs says:

    Fran I hope you enjoy your upcoming trip to New Mexico. I do not know if you can renew your vows at the temple. I looked around the El Santuario de Chimayo website and saw nothing about this. However, here is the contact information for general questions:

    For General Information:
    Mrs. Joanne Sandoval
    Mrs. Fabie Valdez
    Please also visit http://www.holychimayo.us

    I recommend giving them a call. Once again enjoy your trip to beautiful New Mexico.

  5. Dobbs says:

    Roger from the El Santuario de Chimayo websiteSantuario Hours and Address:

    9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    (October through April)
    9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
    (May through September)

    Mass Schedule:
    Daily at 11:00 AM
    (Monday through Saturday)
    10:30 AM and Noon (Sunday)

    Confession Schedule:
    9:00 AM to 10:15 AM
    3:00 PM to Closing

    Street Address:
    15 Santuario Drive
    Chimayo, NM 87522

    Also here is the directions I got from Google Maps:

    Suggested routes

    27.6 mi, 40 mins
    US-285 N and NM-503
    27.1 mi, 47 mins
    Bishops Lodge Rd/State Route 590, US-285 N and NM-503

    Driving directions to 15 Santuario Dr, Chimayo, NM 87522 3D

    Santa Fe, NM

    1. Head east on E San Francisco St toward Cathedral Pl

    289 ft
    2. Turn right onto Cathedral Pl

    0.2 mi
    3. Turn right onto E Alameda St

    1.1 mi
    4. Turn right onto US-285 N/N St Francis Dr
    Continue to follow US-285 N

    16.2 mi

    5. Turn right onto NM-503/Cundiyo Rd
    Continue to follow NM-503

    7.6 mi

    6. Turn left onto County Rd 98/Juan Medina Rd

    2.4 mi
    7. Slight right onto Co Rd 94C/Santuario Dr

    0.2 mi
    8. Turn right
    Destination will be on the right

    To see the directions and map yourself just go to Google and click maps and then enter in the address to the Chimayo. I hope this helps and enjoy your trip.

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