I was intrigued myself after hearing that there is a staircase inside the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico that is miraculous. Why is it miraculous? According to the chapel’s history, two mysteries surround the spiral stairs: the identity of its carpenter and the physics of its construction.

No one know who built the magnificent structure. With two complete spirals and no visible support in the center or side, the staircase design still puzzles experts today.

According to the website, the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.

“When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.”

The Loretto Chapel is a stone-throw away from the plaza.

Loretto Chapel

Entrance to the chapel is on the side.

The queue can become long, depending on the time you arrive. The afternoon visit is the busiest.
Loretto Chapel

Small but fascinating.

This is the altar and the many visitors who want to take pictures of it.
Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel

The mysterious stairs.

Once inside the chapel, there is no missing the stairs. All the details and craftsmanship that went to the construction of the staircase are amazing.
Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel

How the stairs look from afar.

Loretto Chapel

Souvenir shop.

There is a big souvenir shop inside.
Loretto Chapel

Small but beautiful.

Travel contact.

Address: 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, Between Alameda and Water sts., Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone Number: 505-982-0092


Monday to Saturday: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Sunday: 10:30am – 4:30pm

Admission fee.

There is a $3 entrance fee.

Where to park downtown.

See this listing of parking lots in downtown Santa Fe.

Search for a cheap hotel.

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Find your way.

Will you travel and see the Miraculous Stairs inside the Loretto Chapel?

See more of my New Mexico travels.

See also: My other travel adventures.