Archaeology & Paleontology on the Mountain Branch
of the Santa Fe Trail


An Archaeologists Dream Come True!

Several significant archaeological sites are found within and in proximity to the Santa Fe Trail corridor. These sites contain pictographs, petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks, fossils, Native American teepee rings, fire circles, and other evidence of both prehistoric and settlement-era human activity. The numerous rock art sites document continuous habitation of the region for approximately 5,000 years. Significant archaeological sites exist on Comanche National Grassland at Picket Wire Canyonlands, Picture Canyon, and Pinon Canyon. The Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum (Trinidad) features exhibits on the area's geology, fossils and archaeology. Experience guided tours where you'll discover dinosaur tracks and Indian rock art in Las Animas County. Go Petroglyph hunting along the wondrous Picture Canyon of Baca County. Bicycling is an excellent way to explore the Comanche National Grassland. Contact the USDA Forest Service in LaJunta at 719-384-2181 for information on access to the dinosaur tracksites.

Rock Art

Southeastern Colorado is abundant with sites that have both Petroglyphs and Pictographs. Petroglyphs are images that are carved into the rock and Pictographs are painted onto the rock. These historic treasures tell of the past.



Archaeological Sites

Several rock art sites bearing Pictographs and Petroglyphs.

Numerous archaeological sites on Comanche National Grassland. A 1997 archaeological survey documented more than 70 sites in the Timpas Creek area alone.

Vogel Canyon, a State Archaeological District.

Native American tipi rings and fire circles.

The Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum (Trinidad)

Picket Wire Canyonlands

Picture Canyon

Pinon Canyon

Dinosaur Track Sites

Although it may be hard to imagine, the National Grasslands area was once the site of an ancient sea. Today fossils of prehistoric creatures of this sea have been found in the Comanche National Grassland. The grasslands are also home to the Dinosaur Tracks, the longest set of tracks in North America, located in the Picket Wire Canyonlands. These tracks are part of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation.






Site Map 

La Junta Sites 

Lamar Sites 

Trinidad Sites 

Byway Museums

Byway Links 

Content for this web page was provided by the USDA Forest Service