Santa Fe Trail
On a clear spring day, a sharp observer can still discern the wagon-wheel ruts of the Santa Fe Trail wending their way across the prairie. The cultural legacies of this historic trade route, which saw its heaviest use between the 1820s and 1870s, remain just as distinct.
The byway, which comprises a 188-mile portion of the trail, traverses one of the last strongholds of the nomadic Plains Indians and one of the first toeholds of Anglo-American pioneers, who began homesteading along the Arkansas River in the 1860s.
The Mountain Branch of the trail traveled through what is today Trinidad and crossed Raton Pass, a mountain gap used by Native Americans for centuries. The byway's midpoint is Bent's Old Fort, once a trading post and cultural melting pot, now a National Historic Site.
The Santa Fe Trail was designated by the U.S. secretary of transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 1998. It is one of 11 America's Byways® designated in Colorado.
- Bent's Old Fort
- Comanche National Grasslands
- Santa Fe Trail Museum (Trinidad)
- Designated a National Scenic Byway
- John Martin Reservoir State Park
- High Plains Snow Goose Festival
- Big Timbers Museum
- A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art
- Las Animas Hatchery & Rearing Unit
Local Chambers of Commerce
- La Junta
- Historic Trinidad
- Bent County/Las Animas
- Canyons & Plains Regional Heritage Taskforce
Byways Corridor Management Plan
- Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Corridor Management Plan
- Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Interpretive Master Plan
- Good buys at fruit and vegetable stands
Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway - Mountain Branch
312 E. Main St.
PO Box 118
Trinidad, CO 81082
- Program Contacts
- Lenore C. Bates
Colorado Scenic Byways Coordinator
4201 E. Arkansas Ave.
Denver, CO 80222
- Colorado Tourism Office
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