Humans have inhabited the Pecos Valley for at least 12,000 years. The fifteenth century Towa-speaking trading pueblo, Cicuyé, had over 2,000 inhabitants. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Franciscan churches were built and rebuilt here under the direction of the Spanish. By the 1780's disease, raids and drought had decimated the population, and in 1838 the last 17 inhabitants moved to Jemez to live with their Towa-speaking relatives.
Within the boundaries of Pecos National Historic Park are ruts from the Santa Fe Trail, the site of the 1862 Civil War Battle at Glorieta Pass, and the 20th century cattle ranching operation of the Forked Lightning Ranch, where movie actress Greer Garson once lived. Today the valley is home to long-time residents and attracts many visitors.