Trip Planner:   USA  /  New Mexico  /  Santa Fe  /  Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe

4.4
#1 of 86 in Historic Sites in New Mexico
Must see · Religious Site · Historic Site
Create an itinerary including Loretto Chapel
Loretto Chapel, a former Roman Catholic church, is known for its unusual spiral staircase. Called the Miraculous Staircase, it makes two 360-degree turns and is 6 m (20 ft) tall--but has no visible means of support. It's not only an engineering mystery; no one knows for certain who built it. The Sisters of Loretto credit St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, with its construction. After examining the staircase, give yourself enough time to appreciate the Gothic Revival architecture of this late 19th-century building. It features imposing spires, buttresses, and stained-glass windows imported from France. PutLoretto Chapel into our Santa Fe road trip website and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Loretto Chapel reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
5,115 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Beyond beautiful and what a sight to see and story. The gentleman who is there to greet you is so kind and knowledgeable. A must see! 
    Beyond beautiful and what a sight to see and story. The gentleman who is there to greet you is so kind and knowledgeable. A must see!  more »
  • It's not a long self guided tour but it has such an interesting story. The history of the staircase is amazing. 
    It's not a long self guided tour but it has such an interesting story. The history of the staircase is amazing.  more »
Google
  • What a wonderful place to see. We got there early and was able to get photos with out any one else in there for 5 minutes. 5 dollars to get in and it lasts all day. You can come and go. Great gift shop. Well preserved. It helped to watch unsolved mysteries episode that talks about the mysterious staircase.
  • The Loretto Chapel has quite a unique history. Back when the chapel was constructed in 1878, the religious sisters of the Catholic church noticed there was no way to access the choir loft. They came to the conclusion that a regular staircase would be too big to fit the space. To find a solution, according to legend, the sisters prayed a holy novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the last day of the 9-day novena, a man appeared with a donkey and a box of tools looking for work. Months later, the unique spiral staircase was completed. Mysteriously, the carpenter left without a word before anyone could pay him for his work. The sisters could find no trace of this mystery man, and many thought it was St. Joseph himself that came to build the beautiful spiral staircase. This is the first mystery of the church. The other mystery related to the staircase is that the staircase has no visible support. It appears to hang in midair. It was made of an extinct wood species and constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails. While you can no longer step on the staircase, you can take a look for yourself and see if you can uncover the mystery surrounding this staircase. While you’re here, check out the ornate stained glass in the Chapel. The glass came to the Chapel from Paris to New Orleans by sailing ship and then by paddle boat to St. Louis, Missouri, where it was then taken by covered wagon over the Old Santa Fe Trail to the Chapel. It’s a miracle the glass made it in one piece. The Loretto Chapel is now a museum and offers no masses, but the museum is open 364 days a year — every day except Christmas.

Plan your trip to Santa Fe

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.