Travel Center

Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail

Length: 188 miles (565 miles total CO/NM)
Driving time: 4 hours

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.

Click here for the photo tour.


Local Chambers of Commerce

Byways Corridor Management Plan

Special Considerations

  • Good buys at fruit and vegetable stands
Bent's Old Fort

Americas Byways Logo

Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway - Mountain Branch
312 E. Main St.
PO Box 118
Trinidad, CO 81082
719- 846-7217

Colorado Welcome Center at Trinidad
309 Nevada Ave
Trinidad, CO 81082
(719) 846-9512
Colorado Welcome Center at Lamar
109 E Beech St # B
Lamar, CO 81052
(719) 336-3483
Trinidad History Museum & Santa Fe Trail Museum
312 E. Main Street
Trinidad, CO 81082
Contact Us
  • Lenore C. Bates
    Colorado Scenic Byways Coordinator
    2829 W. Howard Pl.
    Denver, CO 80204

  • Colorado Tourism Office
    Visit the website. 





Know Before You Go.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal