Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch

  • Start: Holly, CO
  • End: Trinidad, CO
  • Last Modified: 2012-03-30 22:39:05
  • Total Mileage: 184 Miles
  • Number of stops: 30


The National Historic Santa Fe Trail extends for 900 miles from Missouri to Santa Fe. Colorado's portion of the National Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway parallels the old trail for 184 miles alongside the Arkansas and Purgatoire Rivers. Travelers experience a diversity of landscapes on the Mountain Branch from prairies and canyons to high alpine forests. From 1821 to 1880 the Santa Fe Trail served as an international trade route between Missouri and the Mexican frontiers. Long before man used the trail, dinosaurs migrated along this route. Native Americans hunted the rich grasslands for buffalo and game and shared their lands with trappers and traders. Trail traffic increased once trade was opened up with Mexico. Military forts were established to protect travelers from Indian raids. The buffalo were eventually wiped out and the Indians driven from their hunting grounds by the military.The coming of the railroad began the demise of the old Santa Fe Trail but contributed to a diversity of ethnicities who built the railroad and took part in Colorado's gold rush. Today, Santa Fe Trail travelers can find traces of early trail inhabitants throughout the byway, including dinosaur track sites, Native American rock art, teepee rings, fire circles, and wagon ruts and swales. Visit the Byway's national treasures, settlements, ghost towns, trading posts, forts, stage stops, homes of the famous, towns of the infamous, and ruins of once thriving cattle ranches and coal towns.

Stop #2:

Camp Amache
Granada, CO

Stop #4:

Colorado Green Wind Farm
Lamar, CO

Stop #5:

Willow Creek Nature Trail
Lamar, CO

Stop #6:

Big Timbers Museum
Lamar, CO

Stop #8:

John Martin Reservoir
Hasty, CO

Stop #11:

Boggsville Historic Site
Las Animas, CO

Stop #12:

Bent County Court House and Jail
Las Animas, CO

Stop #14:

Santa Fe Railroad Plaza
La Junta, CO

Stop #15:

Otero Museum
La Junta, CO

Stop #16:

Koshare Indian Museum
La Junta, CO

Stop #17:

La Junta City Park
La Junta, CO

Stop #18:

Vogel Canyon
La Junta, CO

Stop #19:

Picketwire Canyonlands
La Junta, CO

Stop #20:

Sierra Vista Overlook
La Junta, CO

Stop #21:

Iron Spring
La Junta, CO

Stop #22:

La Junta, CO

Stop #23:

Mile Marker 15 interpreted pull off
Trinidad, CO

Stop #24:

Trinidad History Museum
Trinidad, CO

Stop #25:

Colorado Welcome Center Trinidad
Trinidad, CO

Stop #27:

A. R. Mitchell Museum
Trinidad, CO

Stop #28:

Trinidad Lake State Park
Trinidad, CO

Stop #29:

Ludlow Massacre Memorial
Trinidad, CO

Stop #30:

Raton Pass
Trinidad, CO

Vote for

You can only vote once for each town every 24 hours. You can vote again in

Vote for 2013 Best Small Town


Are you a DMO or CVB?
Explore "Best Town Travels" – Rand McNally’s new map-based digital travel guides for your website plus an iPhone and Facebook app! Learn More


Thank you for Voting!

Promote , by sharing your vote or writing a review.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter or Write a Review