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Colorado Scenic Drive: Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway

        Adventure | West

Highlights of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway
The Bloom Mansion is part of the Trinidad History Museum, one of the attractions along the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway.
The Bloom Mansion is part of the Trinidad History Museum, one of the attractions along the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway.

Scenic qualities along the Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway range from panoramic vistas of the Spanish Peaks, Fisher Peak, and Raton Pass to the verdant, irrigated croplands of Colorado's high plains. Picturesque windmills and evidence of homesteads provide travelers with a glimpse of life as a settler.

In addition, the byway passes through communities that are scenic in their own right, from the Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District to quaint rural farm towns.

The Santa Fe Trail historical tour begins at Bent's Old Fort and follows the trail toward Trinidad.

Bent's Old Fort: This National Historical Site is a reconstruction of Bent's Fort, which was built in the 1830s. The fort played an important role as a trading post for trappers and the Plains Indians and also as a supply depot during the Mexican-American War.

Sierra Vista Overlook: For Santa Fe Trail travelers heading south, the changing horizon from plains to mountains was a major milestone on their journey. One of their guiding landmarks was the distant Spanish Peaks, which came into view along this section of the trail. A short walk up the side of a bluff gives you an excellent view of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding prairie, much like what early travelers saw.

To reach this overlook, drive southwest from La Junta on Highway 350 for 13 miles. Turn right (north) at Highway 71 for 1/2 mile, and then turn left (west) to the parking lot.

Trinidad History Museum: This museum complex, operated by the Colorado Historical Society, houses five attractions in one location. Visitors to the site can visit the Santa Fe Trail Museum, the Baca House, the Bloom Mansion, the Historic Gardens, or the bookstore.

Travel the route along which many have gone before, including pioneers, Native Americans, and miners -- the Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway.

Find more useful information related to Colorado's Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway:

  • Colorado Scenic Drives: The Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway is just one of the scenic byways in Colorado. Check out the others.
  • La Junta, Lamar, Las Animas, Trinidad: Find out what there is to do in these cities along the Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Colorado? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.
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