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 The Santa Fe Trail was one of the nation’s first and most important trade routes – connecting Missouri and the rest of the inhabited country to the Mexican Frontier. The Colorado section of this scenic byway follows plains and rolling hills, to high mountain peaks and river valleys. Enjoy an assortment of activities to do, from numerous historic sites and museums, to biking and camping along the byway.

 180 miles / 289 km (approximately) in the Colorado section; 480 miles / 772.5 km total in Colorado and New Mexico.

 Key Attractions

  • Historic trading posts like Bent's Old Fort and Boggsville, the last home of Kit Carson
  • Visit historic stage coach stops, with beautiful views and images into the history of the Santa Fe Trail

  • Explore the many welcome centers and museums that this byway has to offer, including: the Colorado Byway Visitors Center and the Santa Fe Trail Museum in the Trinidad History Museum

  • Look for famous Wild West charm, rural, picturesque ranches and farms, and historic sites of Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, the Bent Brothers, and Bat Masterson

  • Comanche National Grassland – home to North America’s largest dinosaur track site – with guided tours and a history that covers the Native Americans that lived there, Spanish explorers, pioneer traders, miners, and merchants

  • Scenic hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and biking – biking is very popular from Trinidad to the CO/KA boarder (rolling hills and moderate terrain – bicyclists are allowed to travel on I-25)


  • 174 miles from Denver, CO; 60 miles from Albuquerque, NM; located from Santa Fe, NM/ the northeastern section of NM to the southeastern section of CO (for directions to the byway from these cities, visit the website)

  • Driving directions:

    • The Colorado section

      • The Colorado section of the Santa Fe Trail starts at the state line of Colorado and Kansas on US-50

      • Drive west on US-50 to Goff Ave in Granada, CO

      • Continue west on Goff Ave to Main St in Lamar, CO, then continue north to US-50

      • Continue west on US-50 to Bent Ave

      • Drive south to Ambassador Thompson Blvd, then head west to E 1st Dr

      • Make your way west to Barnes Ave, then south to W 5th St.

      • Continue west to Potter Dr. and then southwest to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hwy

      • Drive south on John F. Kennedy Memorial Hwy to the state line of Colorado and New Mexico, where the Colorado section ends

    • View the directions for the New Mexico section of the byway

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