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Encampment and Caravan Highlight Bent’s Old Fort Santa Fe Trail Weekend

Viewing a Trader's Camp

Viewing a Trader’s Camp

The busy days of the Santa Fe Trail will come back to life the weekend of June 4 – 5 as Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site hosts an encampment and trail caravan.  Over 40 living history interpreters will inhabit the fort and surrounding camps on Saturday, June 4 demonstrating life along the trail.  On Sunday, June 5 many of those same interpreters will take to the trail itself as a caravan travels along the Santa Fe Trail southwest of La Junta.

On the Road, Once Again

On the Road, Once Again

Events at the fort will run from 8 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday, June 4.  Among the groups for visitors to interact with will be traders, trappers, domestics, topographical engineers, laborers and a host of other fort employees.  They will be demonstrating the day-to-day activities of a busy Santa Fe Trail trading post in the 1840s.

On Sunday, June 5, fort livestock and living history interpreters will hit the trail, traveling in a wagon caravan along a 3-mile stretch of the Santa Fe Trail between Sierra Vista Overlook and Timpas Picnic Area on the Comanche National Grassland.  Visitors are invited to walk along with the caravan and experience trail life on the move.

The caravan will depart from Sierra Vista at 10 am and arrive at Timpas by about 1 pm.  Those joining this walk will need sufficient water, sun screen and proper footwear for crossing the dry, rocky, cactus-strewn ground.  Shuttle service will be provided between the starting and end points, so participants will only have to walk one-way.  A Junior Ranger badge will be available for kids who complete the trip.

Sierra Vista Overlook is located on Colorado Highway 71, just north of its intersection with U.S. Highway 350, approximately 14 miles southwest of La Junta or 14 miles south of Rocky Ford.    Timpas Picnic Area is 3 miles further to the southwest down U.S. Highway 350.

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site has waived all fees for the year.  Thus there will be no charge for either the encampment or the caravan on the trail.  Again, water, sun screen, hats, insect repellent and comfortable walking shoes are recommended even for a visit to the fort and the camps.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, 8 miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas.   For more information on the Santa Fe Trail Encampment and Caravan, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/beol and click on “Special Events” or call the park at (719) 383-5010.

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