Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
35110 Highway 194 E.
La Junta, CO 81050
WELCOME to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
Castle of the Plains
Bent�s Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstructed
1840�s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe
Trail where traders, trappers, travelers, and Plains Indian tribes
came together in peaceful terms for trade. Today, living historians
recreate the sights, sounds, and smells of the past with guided tours,
demonstrations, and special events.
A 1/4 mile walk down the trail will bring you to the gate of the
fort. Inside you can view the 20 minute documentary film,
"Traders, Tribes and Travelers". Self-guided tours and the
film are available throughout the year.
Living history interpreters
provide guided tours and demonstrations June 1 through September 1.
Guided tours are available September through May at 10:30 am and 1:00
pm. Summer tours are at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Organized group tours can be reserved by calling (719) 383-5026.
William and Charles Bent, along with Ceran St. Vrain, built the
original fort on this site in 1833 to trade with plains Indians and
trappers. The adobe fort quickly became the center of the Bent,
St.Vrain Company's expanding trade empire that included Fort St.Vrain
to the north and Fort Adobe to the south, along with company stores in
Mexico at Taos and Santa Fe. The primary trade was with the Southern
Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians for buffalo robes.
For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major
permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and
the Mexican settlements. The fort provided explorers, adventurers, and
the U.S. Army a place to get needed supplies, wagon repairs,
livestock, good food, water and company, rest and protection in this
vast "Great American Desert."
During the war with Mexico in
1846, the fort became a staging area for Colonel Stephen Watts
Kearny's "Army of the West". Disasters and disease caused
the fort's abandonment in 1849. Archeological excavations and original
sketches, paintings and diaries were used in the fort's reconstruction
Did You Know?
Bent's Fort was on the boundary with Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s. It
was 600 miles from the nearest town in Missouri.
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