Traveling the Trail
During your travels through the middle of America and toward the Southwest, there are many sites along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail that you can easily visit.
Our Map page will also help you decide your journey along this incredible route through history.
Near the fur trapping region of the Southern Rocky Mountains, in the lands of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, along the Santa Fe Trail, where the western frontier of the United States met the northern frontier of Mexico.
Buenos días, Señor, welcome to Bent’s Fort.
Here was a castle rising out of the prairie.
And I made this fort from the materials that were at hand; the soil from the earth, grass from the prairie, water from the Arkansas and cottonwood that came from the river.
Bent’s Old Fort was not so much a walled barrier as it was an open door to a crucial trading network in the earliest days of the West. Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche, Mexicans, and folks from the states to the east all converged here. Historic bonds were created between cultures and ethnicities. But in 1849 Bent’s Old Fort was burned. A mystery that may never be solved.
The fort rose from its remaining foundations in 1976 with breathtaking detail. Even the iron fixtures were handmade onsite, as well as thousands of adobe bricks used to rebuild the great walls.
Visitors are captivated by this living, breathing replica, a monument to southeastern Colorado’s place in the history of the West. Bent’s Old Fort.
Experience it for yourself.
Ranching. Farming. It’s a southeastern Colorado way of life. A way of living that owes much to the arrival 150 years ago of two families to this one place on the Santa Fe Trail.
This is kind of the first settlement in southeastern Colorado where you had people coming here; you had people building a life.
It was the women of these families who owned this land, along the Purgatoire River. Romaldo Luna Boggs came from the influential Jaramillo family of Taos. Her husband Thomas’s sheep operation on Romaldo’s Arkansas Valley Land was the beginning of a new way of life here. Native Cheyenne Amache Prowers, and her husband John, raised cattle here on Amache’s land to the north. They called their growing settlement Boggsville.
From these beginnings the cattle and sheep industries flourished. More people travelled to Boggsville, including Josefa Carson and her now legendary husband, Kit, who made Boggsville the site of their final home.
This whole area is considered a borderlands, where you have different cultures coming together interacting and it still pretty much continues today.
Boggsville, it’s the story of the beginnings of a southeastern Colorado agricultural tradition, one that continues to this day. Come, explore the Boggs and Prowers homes.
Boggsville Historic Site. Experience it for yourself.
Boggsville Historic Site is located on the Purgatoire River two miles south of Las Animas, Colorado on Highway 101. Site administered by the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County.
Almost half a million acres. Canyons, rivers and prairie, abundant with life. A land of natural wonders brimming with tales from the past. Over a thousand dinosaur tracks, 40 miles of wagon ruts and pioneer homesteads from the Santa Fe Trail. Part museum, part playground, all built by nature, preserved by those who love it.
SE Colorado Resident
This is where I spent most of my childhood growing up, just hiking, swimming, just everything. This is one of the best places to come.
Where prehistoric sea beds defined an area from just south of La Junta all the way to the Southeastern Colorado border, where the remains of abandoned homesteads testify to the crippling drought of the Dust Bowl era, and where public efforts have transformed the land again into a place of conservation and recreation.
Going up along the cliff sides you can find a lot of pictographs and just old cave paintings that have been here since who knows when. This is an area that can be damaged so easily. We try to pick it up and keep this as nice as it was when we found it.
Here we connect with the secret marvels of nature and history right in our backyard.
This, to me, is the perfect area. I lived for the canyons, I love this.
Comanche National Grassland. Experience it for yourself.
You’ll never know it’s here until you come.
Comanche National Grassland is located in Baca, Las Animas, and Otero counties of southeastern Colorado. The total land area of the grassland is approximately 443,784 acres. Site administered by the U.S. Forest Service.