Prairies and Grasslands
The park is situated on a series of low benches along the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado. It is located on the western edge of the Great Plains at an elevation of 4035 ft. This area is short grass prairie, classified as the Kuchler Vegetation Type, as Gramma and Buffalo grasses dominate the high benches. The river bottom encompasses mixed grasses, riparian and wetland plant species. The current vegetation is a mixture of native plant communities impacted by exotics and grassland recovering from agricultural use.
Did You Know?
Bent’s Fort was the only place on the Santa Fe Trail where wagons could be repaired and supplies replenished. Typically it would take 50 to 60 days or more for ox drawn wagons to make the 600 mile journey from Missouri. It would still be another month of travel before they reached Santa Fe.