On the Santa Fe Trail
With Kit Carson & Company
June 2–8, 2013
Historian Guide: Mike Koury
When one imagines all the storied routes in the history of our nation, the Santa Fe Trail often comes to mind first. As this country's first international highway, it was where Missouri traders headed south, Hispanic traders headed east, and the United States Army traveled when it went to war with Mexico in 1846. Following the Trail today, you can still see wagon ruts, and you can almost hear the whoops and cries of "All's set!" as trail hands hitched their oxen to freight wagons.
We will pick up the Trail at La Junta, Colorado, just after it splits into the Mountain Route and the Cimarron cut-off. Along the way we will meet Kit Carson, "Uncle Dick" Wootten, the Bent's, and outlaws Jesse James and Billy the Kid. We will see Bent's New Fort, the magnificently reconstructed Bent's Old Fort, Raton, Cimarron, and Fort Union. We will travel from charming Mexican villages such as Tecolote and San Miguel to the trail towns of Trinidad and Las Vegas (New Mexico, that is). We will also visit the Civil War battlefield at Glorieta Pass, the most decisive battle in the West, where Colorado Volunteers turned back a Confederate invasion right on the Trail.
Always in sight of the incredible Rocky Mountains, the scenery will be breathtaking, and the history lively and colorful. Mike Koury and this land have a great story to tell. Follow in the curious company of traders, mountain men, and adventurers as the entire saga of the Southwest unfolds along the Santa Fe Trail.
7 Days / 6 Nights
Cost: $2,485 Single Occupancy, $2,165 Double Occupancy
Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.
Sunday, June 2
Gather in Colorado Springs for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Mike Koury and HistoryAmerica TOURS.
Monday, June 3
Travel south this morning to Pueblo and the El Pueblo History Museum, with its re-created adobe trading post. Visit the site of Bent's New Fort (built by William Bent after he partially blew up his first one). We will see Fort Lyon and then over- night in Las Animas, Colorado.
Tuesday, June 4
First today is a visit to Boggsville, the last home of Kit Carson, legendary mountain man, soldier, and Indian agent. A highlight of the day is the visit to Bent's Old Fort, once the principal outpost of American civilization on the Trail. Beautifully reconstructed and interpreted, this bastion was instrumental in shaping the destiny of the Southwest Plains. We follow the Trail southwest, seeing various landmarks in the shadow of the Spanish Peaks. In Trinidad, we visit the Santa Fe Trail Museum and see homes of the rich and famous of the day. Overnight in Trinidad.
Wednesday, June 5
We hear about "Uncle Dick" Wootten this morning. Trader, trapper, hunter, scout, freighter, buffalo rancher, he hired Ute Indians to build a toll road that improved a tough stretch of the Trail over Raton Pass. Have lunch at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron. Attracting a variety of lawmen and outlaws and everyone in between, its saloon was the site of at least 27 murders. Travel anywhere along the Trail, and you'll see the name Lucien Maxwell repeatedly, who went from being a frontier hunter to the largest individual land owner in the history of the United States. In Rayado, we visit Maxwell's home and that of Kit Carson. Our final stop is Fort Union, the most important military supply depot in the Southwest. Our eventful day ends in Las Vegas, where we overnight at the historic Plaza Hotel.
Thursday, June 6
Our journey takes us to San Miguel, the entry point to Mexico for the Santa Fe Trail. The beautiful church here dates back more than 200 years. Detour through the Battle of Glorieta Pass, known as the "Gettysburg of the West." After we visit Pecos Pueblo, it's on to Santa Fe. We will tour the palace of the Governors, built in the 1600s as Spain's seat of government for what became the Southwest United States. Overnight near the Old Plaza in Santa Fe.
Friday, June 7
This morning we'll visit Kit Carson's home in Taos. Our last stop is Fort Garland, once commanded by Carson and home to the 9th Cavalry and famed Buffalo Soldiers. Return to Colorado Springs for our farewell dinner.
Saturday, June 8
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.