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Bent's Old Fort

Bent’s Old Fort is one of Colorado’s most evocative historic sites. Summer hours (June 1 - Aug. 31) 8 - 5:30. Winter hours (Sept. 1 - May 31) 9 - 4; $3 adults, $2 children. It is eight miles east of La Junta, or 15 miles west of Las Animas. Take Hwy 50 to 109 to 194 east. Historic DAR Markers welcome you to begin your journey back in time. The gateway was erected by the La Junta Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, while the chapter still owned the land. A. E. Reynolds donated the site of the Old Fort to the La Junta DAR Chapter in 1920. The National Park Service acquired Bent’s Old Fort in 1963 and manage living history programs year round at the fort. 719-383-5010

Commanche National Grassland

Picket Wire Canyonlands is located off Hwy 109, right on CR 802, left on CR25, left on FR 500 to gate. The track site extends 1/4 of a mile across the Purgatoire Valley, in the Morrison Formation of strata. Four layers of rock 150 million years old are famous for revealing dinosaur trackways of Apatosaurus and Allosaurus.
Take the scenic way to the trackway and plan for a full day hike, bike, or horseback ride. Hitches are available and horse trailer parking is provided. Motorized vehicles and camping are not allowed in the canyon. Visitors must be out by dusk and should bring plenty of water and food. The Forest Service Office in La Junta, 1420 East 3rd St., has maps, and information on wildlife watching. Their guided 4WD Tours are by reservation only in May, June, September, and October and you will need your own 4WD. Call USDA FS Office in advance. 719-384-2181

Amache

Amache is located on Hwy. 385 near Granada. At the dawn of World War II, there were approximately 127,000 Japanese Americans living in the United States. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued orders which lead to the U.S. government’s forcible detention of nearly the entire West Coast population of Japanese -110,000 in all - at ten inland internment camps. The move was upheld on multiple occasions by a divided United States Supreme Court. The Granada Relocation Center, outside Granada, Colorado, housed approximately 7,500 of the West Coast detainees. Following the end of the war, after three years of occupation, Camp Amache was quickly dismantled—a seeming effort to erase what had taken place, it’s buildings dismantled or sold and moved elsewhere. Today structures are being rebuilt and an interpreted trail has been constructed. This site has interpretive signage and an audio tour to guide visitors to sites throughout Amache. 719-336-3483

Sandcreek Massacre Site

At Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, John Chivington led the Colorado Volunteers in a dawn attack on Black Kettle and his band, who had been told they would be safe on this desolate reservation. Two hundred Cheyenne men, women, and children were slaughtered, and their corpses often grotesquely mutilated. The massacre shocked the nation and brought a new wave of Indian-white conflict to Colorado’s high plains along the Santa Fe Trail. Take a self-guided tour of the site, which is managed by the National Park Service. Sand Creek is located in Kiowa County, Colorado. Follow Hwy 50, turn north on 287, then east on 96. Near Chivington, turn north on CR 54, or at Brandon, turn north onto CR 59. Follow these roads to their intersections with CR W. The park entrance is along W, a mile east of 54 or several miles west of 59. 719-438-5916

Bent's New Fort

In 1853 William Bent built a new stone fort east of Bent’s Old Fort on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River. The fort resembled Bent’s Old Fort, only smaller, with 16’ tall walls. It had 12 rooms surrounded by a central courtyard. Bent continued his trading with the Indians but it was never as successful as Bent’s Old Fort. By 1857, the increased Indian harassment prompted the US Army to withhold the annual allotment of food, clothing, and other supplies. These goods were stored at Bent’s New Fort and William was concerned at the possibility of raids. In 1860 troops began building Fort Wise, later called Fort Lyon, a mile southwest of Bent’s trading post. Bent leased his fort to the U.S. Military, and it was used as the Upper Arkansas Indian Agency and Commissary for Fort Wise. This marked the end of the Bent trading empire. Bent moved upriver to the mouth of the Purgatoire River, where he built a wooden stockade and lived until his death in 1869. All that remains of Bent’s New Fort are the earthworks where the Fort once stood. The Semmens and McCall families made the site an archeological preserve. The NPS provided interpretive exhibits for the site. It is located 10 miles west of Lamar or 25 miles east of Las Animas. Take U.S. 50, turn south on CR 35 for one mile to CR JJ, turn left for 1/4 mile to CR 35.25 to the Bent’s New Fort parking area. Contact Lamar Country Acres Motel and RV park for information. 719-336-1031

Fort Lyon

Open M-F, 8-4:30, call 719-456-0165. Ft. Lyon is located off Hwy 50 East. First known as Fort Wise and later as Fort Lyon, this military fort was built a mile west of Bent’s New Fort in 1860 to protect the new settlers. Major John Sedgwick Jr. built a stone structure on the riverbed just below the bluffs of Bent’s New Fort. In 1865, a spring ice dam in the river backed up the snowmelt deep into the buildings. Fort Lyon was abandoned and moved to its current location near Las Animas. New Fort Lyon was established in 1867 and used by the US army until 1889 at the end of the Indian wars. Fort Lyon became a sanitarium for those suffering from tuberculosis, including Kit Carson, who died in the surgeon’s quarters. The reconstructed surgeon’s quarters were moved just outside the grounds of Fort Lyon and named Kit Carson Chapel. All that come are welcome and the Chapel is available for use by contacting Bent County at 719-456-1600. Fort Lyon has been a VA hospital, a correctional facility, and today it is a Supportive Residential Community for homeless citizens with an emphasis on serving homeless veterans. 719-456-6066

Boggsville

Boggsville was the first non-military settlement in Southeastern Colorado, founded in the early 1860s in Las Animas, Colorado. Thomas Boggs married Ramalda Luna Bent, stepdaughter of Charles Bent, in Taos in 1846. A 2040 acre tract of land including Boggsville, once a part of the Vigil and St. Vrain Mexican Land Grant, was given to Rumalda Bent by St. Vrain. The settlement consisted of several families including the Boggs, John Prowers, Kit Carson, and John Hough. This was Kit Carson’s last home. Boggs raised sheep and Prowers raised cattle. Both industries flourished on the land surrounding Boggsville during the 1870s. The irrigated farming of Boggsville supplied the major amount of grain, fodder, vegetables, and other food crops for the region.Boggsville is open the last weekend in April to Memorial Day and Labor Day to the last weekend in October: Open Wednesday - Sunday, 10-4; Memorial Day - Labor Day: Daily, 10am-4pm. The site features a nature trail, and reconstructed homes of the Boggs, Prowers family. Boggsville sits on the banks of the Purgatoire River and is located south of U.S. Hwy 50, on Hwy. 101, 2 miles south of Las Animas. Call 719-456-1358 for more information.

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