on the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
Scenic Byway: SANTA FE TRAIL SCENIC AND HISTORIC BYWAY
Season: Year Round
Days/Nights: 2 - 4 days and nights
Traveler Information: Trinidad is located in South East Colorado. Travel by auto on Interstate 25. 1 hour from Pueblo, 1 ½ hours from Colorado Springs.
Client Demographic: The itinerary is very flexible offering choices and a variety of activities specific to family travelers, photographers, historians, geologists, archaeologists, writers, outdoor enthusiast, equestrians, and romantic getaways.
Highlights: FEATURES HISTORIC SITES OF THE SANTA FE TRAIL SCENIC AND
HISTORIC BYWAY IN TRINIDAD COLORADO
Intrinsic Byway Qualities:
Archeological Louden Henritze Archaeology Museum features exhibits on the area's geology, fossils and archaeology. Longs Canyon at Trinidad Lake state park features an exhibit on the iridium deposit in the park.
Cultural Our culturally diverse community sparkles with activity like the Victorian jewel it is. Culturally representative architecture, including adobe structures in the Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District. Several large murals depicting the Santa Fe Trail and western history can be seen on walls of commercial buildings. Trinidad is home to many artists, performers, writers and historians. It is home to numerous art galleries and museums displaying western regional and local art. This country is like a magnet to artists and a cultural feast for their soul.
Historic Museums, Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District with representative architecture, including adobe structures on private property and public facilities. Several large murals depicting the Santa Fe Trail and western history on walls of commercial buildings.
Natural Wildlife watching opportunities at Trinidad River Walk, and Trinidad State Park.
Scenic Scenic Beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the rolling plains of the prairie.
Recreation Trinidad Lake State Park, featuring camping, boating, hunting, fishing, picnicking, wildlife watching, hiking, and a lighted handicapped accessible trail. Trinidad Lake State Park provides interpretive information on the Santa Fe Trail.
Themes: Victorian opulence on the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
the Victorian Jewel of Southern Colorado's population is
under 10,000 of extraordinary people. The town sits in a beautiful and varied
setting, nestled in a pleasant, cottonwood-lined valley. A mountain
stream tumbles its way down from the snows of 14,000 foot Mount Culebra of the fabled Sangre
de Cristo Mountains. Trinidad's stair-stepped mesa, Fisher's Peak, looms over this Colorado alpine gateway on the Santa Fe Trail. A dramatic mountainous background cuddles the town on both sides coming from treacherous Raton Pass. A rock plateau provides a magnificent
cliff-ringed overlook atop Simpson's Rest. There are five lakes within easy reach. Completing the picture, blue mesas stretch through the distant haze and golden
prairies roll away into the skyline. Trinidad's rich history was molded by Native Americans, Spaniards, French explorers, scouts, trappers,
and traders who left evidence of their passing in colorful geographic names.
Wealthy merchants and culturally diverse families were drawn by the extensive coal mining and
the large cattle companies. Railroads followed quickly. You still may hear
the roar of guns, the gallop of horses in pursuit, the shouts of men and
the screams of the women and children riding in their covered wagons on
the Santa Fe Trail. Trinidad was a major trading center along the Mountain
Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, which converged in downtown Trinidad at the
corner of Main and Commercial Streets. Doc Holiday gambled here, Billy the
Kid and Black Jack Ketchum's Gangs visited here far too often. Batt Masterson
was even Town Marshall for a while. Explore the opportunities that await
you along the Mountain Branch on our virtual tour of the Santa Fe Trail
2- 4 nights at your choice of Victorian B&B's. Revel in the Luxury of a bygone age in any of these outstanding Victorian bed and breakfast while visiting the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway.
Tarabinos Bed and Breakfast - 719-846-2115, Toll free-1-866-846-8808, 310 East Second Street. http://www.tarabinoinn.com/ Tarabino Inn bed and breakfast lodging combines the elegance and way of life of the Victorian era with the comforting hospitality and atmosphere rarely encountered in today's world. Hearty breakfast served in a charming Victorian setting. Decadence at it's finest, has all the extras including cotton robes, slippers and library with fireplace.
The Stone Mansion Bed and Breakfast - 719-845-1625, Toll free- 1-877-264-4279. 212 East 2nd Street, Trinidad. http://stonemansionbb.com
Completed in 1904, this elegant historic Stone Mansion designed by I. H. & William Rapp is furnished with museum quality oil paintings, furniture and family heirlooms, is ideal for a romantic getaway, complete with 1920's vintage baths featuring multiple shower heads and oversized tubs. This historic structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in September 2005.
Black Jack's Inn - 719-846-9152, 225 West Main Street. Unique suites furnished in 1800's antiques with private bath and shower, continental breakfast, special packages available with complimentary champagne.
Chicosa Canyon Bed & Breakfast - 32391 County Road 40.0, Trinidad, CO 81082, 719-846-6199, 2 Charming Romantic rooms in main house with private baths, rustic fully functional cabin to sleep four. Enjoy relaxing in our common rooms: Front Room, Great Room, and Solarium, Overnight stabling available. Reunions, Vacations, Getaways, Receptions. Complimentary wine, beverages and snacks served daily. Work out your body in our workout room before relaxing your mind in our library, Just kick off your shoes and put up your feet in our quiet and secluded library.
1. Colorado Welcome Center - 309 Nevada Avenue. 719-846-9512. Korean War Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and a bronze plaque with the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway - Mountain Branch Logo are all available for viewing. With a hearty Colorado welcome and a warm comforting smile, get more information about places to see in our picturesque state. Free literature about Colorado cities and towns, guides to parks and recreational areas, maps and directories, can all be accessed at the welcome center. The volunteer staff can answer questions and tell you more about the state and the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway.
2. Southern Colorado Coal Miners Memorial - West
Main. Be sure and visit The Coal Miner's Memorial in downtown Trinidad.
It is the hub of many of the activities and festivals planned in the Historic
3. Kit Carson Park - Corner of Kansas Ave. and
San Pedro Street, overlooking a route of the Santa Fe Trail. The park, which
was dedicated in 1910, boasts a new playground as well as a historic bandstand
which was restored in 2001. The park also contains a cast bronze statue
of Kit Carson and is widely considered to be the finest equestrian statue
in North America. The statue honors Kit Carson, who knew the Purgatory Valley
well in the years before the town of Trinidad came into being.
4. Largest DAR Marker - Located in the Kit Carson Park. Inscribed on all four sides with historical facts on the west and east sides. The Daughters of the American Revolution insignia and the Colorado state seal are on the other two sides.
5. The Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District - Very few towns in the American West can even approach the exciting past and rich cultural tapestry that wraps the beautiful little town of Trinidad in unexpected contrasts and fascinating details. With impressive historic buildings, brick streets, and meandering alleys, downtown Trinidad is an architectural treasure trove. Historic markers placed throughout the city, highlight people and places of early Trinidad. Take a self guided tour of the Historic District and view the Victorian architectural jewels of such greats as Bulger and Rapp. Enjoy the western hospitality at the quaint restaurants, shops, galleries, Inns, and many in this remarkable Victorian setting. Go home with unique items that represent your visit to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch.
6. Purgatoire River Walk - South side of the Purgatoire River at the Animas St. Bridge. Cool off by the trees along the Purgatoire River at one of Trinidad's newest features, the Riverwalk Park. Stroll along the walkway while you learn things about the history of the Santa Fe Trail, it's people, flora and fauna, and get a sample of local color from the interpretive signs along the path. See Kearny's encampment where he organized his soldiers for a bloodless conquest of Santa Fe, securing the northern battlefield of the U.S. Mexican War for the United States in 1846. Most travelers arrived here exhausted, with wagons needing repair. They rested and recuperated here along the Purgatoire river bank where there was ample water, shaded campgrounds and good forage for the livestock. Another section of the River Walk stretches from Linden Street to near the Kit Carson Trail Bypass. Park at the Linden street entrance parking lot and hike or bike on the trail and absorb the serene natural environment of the Purgatoire River.
7. Engine #638 - Located north of City Hall on Animas Street in Trinidad sits the last coal driven steam engine in service for the C & S Railroad. Colorado & Southern Railroad's last coal burning steam engine. Manufactured in 1906 for the Colorado and Southern Railroad for service in Trinidad, the engine remained in use until its retirement in 1963.
8. Old Fire House No. 1 - 314 N. Commercial Street, 719-846-8220 or 719-846-2024. Open Monday - Friday, June-August, Available for special tours by appointment. built in 1889. From the early 1900s classroom to the vintage fire truck, the Children's Museum is a delightful adventure into the past. The exciting hands-on exhibits and activities will make imaginations soar and history come alive. Experience Victorian Trinidad from a child's perspective. The building was designed by Bulger and Rapp, well known local architects who also designed the First National Bank Building and the Temple Arron.
9. A.R. Mitchell Museum - 150 E. Main, 719-846-4224.
$2 Admission, open May-September, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 AM - 4 PM. Gift shop
open year round with a few exceptions. Please call for off-season hours.
The "Mitchell" is housed in a 1900s western style building with
the original tin ceiling, wood floors, and a horseshoe-shaped mezzanine.
The main floor features a selection of more than 250 original paintings
by acclaimed western artist and illustrator Arthur Roy Mitchell and his
contemporaries. The mezzanine offers a wonderful gallery space where featured
artists exhibit their works. Features special exhibits, entertainment, and
world class art shows.
10. Trinidad History Museum - 300 East Main, 719-846-7217. Open daily 9:00 am-4:00 pm. May 1- September 30. A unique complex overlooking the Santa Fe Trail this museum consists of four attractions occupying an entire city block. Santa Fe Trail Information Center, the Baca House, the Bloom Mansion and Santa Fe Trail Museum are all part of the Trinidad History Museum. This unique historic site also includes Historic Gardens containing native plants, century-old trees, and a Victorian flower, herb and vegetable garden. The charming museum bookstore has an extensive collection of books about the Santa Fe Trail and its famed characters and legends. Learn more about some of the characters from Trinidad's past (Kit Carson, Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid, and Mother Jones) and about the people who built the kingdoms of ranching and of coal, the wealth on which Trinidad was built.
11. Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum -"Summer Hours" Monday - Friday, 10AM - 4PM, call for Off Season Hours. Free Admission, 719-846-5508. Located in the Frudenthal Memorial Library ground level-east entrance at Trinidad State Junior College. A great place for family afternoons, the museum treasures all kinds of dinosaur bones, pottery, models of ancient village life and burials, including a fish that lived on the Santa Fe Trail back when Trinidad was a seabed. One of the most popular exhibits contains copies of fossilized dinosaur prints -one from a duck bill dinosaur, and the other from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The T-Rex footprints are enhanced by a beautiful backdrop painted by Willard Louden. It shows the environment and plant life which would have been in the area when the dinosaur roamed southern Colorado. A replica of the Trinchera Shelter is another special display. The rock shelter, which was discovered in eastern Las Animas County, turned out to be a very important archaeological site. Because of the protected location of the cave, and the subsequent dry conditions throughout the centuries, many perishable items were preserved over time, including pottery shards, projectile points, yucca sandals, braided ropes and grass mats. Also on display at the museum is an archaeological excavation conducted in Trinidad when contractors who were building an addition onto a local home discovered some large bones. They proved to be skeletal remains of Mosasaur dating back to the prehistoric Cretaceous Period. Nearly 80% of the dinosaur's skeleton was recovered.
12. Mural at Mt. San Rafael Hospital - Located in the lobby of Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad. A three-dimensional mural by Sister Augusta Zimmer, S.C., depicts the history of the area from the Conquistadors search for the cities of gold to the present. Highlights include Fisher's Peak, Simpson's Rest & Ludlow Monument.
13. Ave Maria Shrine - 719-846-7347 for bookings. Located on the hillside south of Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, the Ave Maria Shrine is one of the most beautiful and mysterious landmarks in Trinidad. Construction began in 1934 on the site where an early Trinidad physician who was caught in a vicious storm in 1908 and was led by a flickering light to a statue of the Virgin Mary, which had mysteriously appeared on the hillside. Many residents saw this as a divine sight. The Shrine is now a sanctuary of peace for all.
14. Trinidad Skate boarding Park - Located just off the Santa Fe Trail near the Trinidad Community Center. The newest addition to the Santa Fe Trail Mountain Branch Recreation facilities is a four star skate boarding park. One of Grindline's new masterpieces. An xtremely good skate park!
15. Trinidad Lake State Park - Located three miles west of Trinidad and off Highway 12, offers visitors a wide variety of water and land activities amid the scenic splendor of the Purgatoire River Valley. Trinidad Lake provides water for boating, sailing, water skiing and fishing. Hiking trails, camping facilities and the natural beauty of the setting make the area an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
16. Scenic Highway of Legends - This is our sister Colorado Scenic Byway. The route winds along Highway 12 in a circular loop beginning in Trinidad near 1-25 and ending in Walsenburg where it connects back to 1-25. Along the way some of Southern Colorado's most beautiful landscapes, numerous recreational spots, historical structures and geological formations can be seen. Points of interest include: Trinidad Lake State Park, Cokedale, Stonewall, Monument Lake, North Lake, Cuchara Pass, Cuchara and La Veta. Length: 82 miles, Driving time: 2 hours
17. Raton Pass - Interstate 25 takes you up and over the Pass where you will experience beautiful vistas across the entire pass. Get a close up look at Fisher's Peak before you reach the top of the pass. Here you will catch one last spectacular view of the Spanish Peaks as they turn into the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range which marks the gateway to New Mexico. The Highway has been carved through the mountain top and shows the remarkable geologic changes in the earth through the years and stands nearly a mile and a half high. There are interpretive signs for your information along the pass, so stop for photo opportunities and learn about the regions history.
18. Simpson's Rest - The bluff, overlooking the town from the north can be reached by way of a road leading from the western end of North Avenue. Trinidad is rightfully referred to as the gateway to the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. Carefully guarding this passageway, one finds a great sentinel, an historic sandstone bluff, Simpson's Rest, standing proudly at Trinidad's northern limits. The mountain proudly adorns the Trinidad sign which lights up the evening skies and serves as a beacon to modern day trail travelers. The summit of Simpson's Rest offers one of the most spectacular awe-inspiring views to be found in the entire southwest. Not to drive atop the Rest, is not to see Trinidad. The bold magnificent Rest in itself represents a geological Mecca. The views are breathtaking and from it you see the prairies directly to the east that pioneers and traders traveled across what became known as the Santa Fe Trail. Eventually, this trail wound through the heart of downtown Trinidad before embarking across mountainous Raton Pass.
19. The Spanish Peaks - West-northwest of Trinidad. They can be seen from great distances along the Mountain branch, and they served as landmarks for trail travelers. According to Indian legend, rain was created on these Spanish Peaks in order to nurture the lands and produce a paradise on earth.
20. Trinidad Farmers Market - Coal Miners Memorial Park on Main Street. This is the place to be on Saturday mornings. Your coffee is brewing and growers rise early to bring you the choicest produce from the area; mounds of cantaloupes, sweet corn, greens and every variety of root crop. Some say that Rocky Ford, Colorado grows the sweetest cantaloupes on earth! Vendors offer honeys, homemade jams, jellies, vinegars and pickles, even handmade aprons. Local nurseries are here with a large selection of annuals and perennials that grow well in the area, redwood trellises, and melodic wind chimes and musicians are all available at the Farmer's Market. Farmer's Market on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail is a cultural feast for the soul.
21. Morley Church - Located 10 miles south of Trinidad off Exit 6 on 1-25. Morley Church is located at a former mining camp, in operation from 1907 until 1956. The remains of the adobe walls of the St. Aloysius Church along with building foundations from Morley, the once-thriving mining camp, still can be seen today. The mountain slopes just north of the Raton Pass were bustling with activity in the early 1900s.
22. Fisher's Peak - It was a major landmark for travelers of the Santa Fe Trail, jutting out from the surrounding mesa. It overlooks the entrance to Raton Pass between Trinidad Colorado and Raton New Mexico. This distinctive mountain which dominates the skyline of Trinidad is a basalt-capped mesa of volcanic origin.
Black Jack's Saloon & Steak House - 719-846-9501, 225
West Main Street. Mouth watering all American melt in your mouth grilled
Steak at the Black Jack's Saloon. Black Angus Steaks, Seafood, Chicken &
Ribs served in an 1890s Saloon atmosphere.
Rino's Italian Restaurant in Trinidad - 400 East Main, 719-845-0949. Excellent Italian fair and singing waiters. A truly romantic experience that will leave you breathless and feeling as though you took a trip to Italy. Located in an historic stone building, the atmosphere and ambiance are outstanding and the food is creative, authentic and delicious. A colorful way to experience Trinidad.
Nano & Nano Monteleone's Pasta House and Deli - 719-846-2696, 418 East Main Street. Traditional Italian dinning and be sure to try everyone's favorites, Spaghetti, Fettuccini Alfredo and the homemade Italian dressing.
Try our local speciality of Green Chile Sauce or Stew for a wonderful treat. It is a stew usually cooked with pork (or beef), onion, and sometimes pinto beans, and garlic with a base of the flavorful Green Chiles. The Green Chiles have a southwest flavor that is not always hot, served in mild, medium and hot in some restaurants. Try many different restaurant's as it is served differently in each.
Mission at the Bell - 719-845-1513,134 West Main Street. Traditional Mexican foods served downstairs in the historic Bell Block building.
El Capitan - 719-846-9903,321 State Street. Homemade Mexican and Italian foods, ribs, steaks, seafood, affordable prices.
Chef Liu's Chinese Restaurant - 719-846-3333, 1423 Santa Fe Trail. Affordable and original Chinese food that is sure to please in a wonderful atmosphere! Great values and they serve exotic cocktails.
Wonderful House Restaurant - 719-845-1888, 415 University. Mandarin, Chinese, Hunan, Szechuan, Cantonese Restaurant. Their food is always served fast, hot and with plentiful portions and friendly waiters.
Bob & Earl's Café - 719-846-0144,1118 Robinson Ave - Highway 12. Family style dinning.
El Paso Café - 719-846-8522,1101 East Main Street. Taco heaven and burgers too!
Lone Star Café - 719-846-6101, 200 West Main Street. Great deals on their delicious Mexican food!
Savoy Café - 719-846-2532, 313 North Commercial Street. American and Mexican family style dinning.
Lee's Bar-B-Q - 719-846-7621,825 San Pedro Street. Drive up dinner, family operated since 1938.
Frontier Motel Restaurant - 719-846-2261,815 Goddard Ave - I-25 & Goddard. Great Fresh Cooked Breakfast and Lunch. Mexican and American. Located on the West Side of Exit 15, Interstate 25. A best kept secret!
C & H Restaurant - 719-846-3851, 443 North Commercial Street. Their specialty is the all day burger.
Trinidad Dinner - 719-846-7798, 734 East Main Street. Delicious Gyro's, good food at reasonable prices.
Trinidad Historical Society Presentations - At Trinidad
State Junior College campus every third Thursday. Presentations are focused
on aspects of the history of Trinidad. Attendance is free and you learn
about the many opportunities that life offered within its complicated conception
during area development. Presentation videos for sale at our web site. www.santafetrailscenicandhistoricbyway.org
Lucky Monkey - 719-846-3000, 137 West Cedar Street. A popular modern day watering hole with local flavor in a historic building.
Trinidad Brewing Company - 719-846-7069, 449 North Commercial Street, Trinidad, CO 81082 . Try one of their two new brews, one being a Porter and the other a Honey Wheat. Trinidad's First New Brew Pub in this Century.
The Historic Fox Theater - 719-846-285, 423 West Main. Included in Trinidad's opulence is the West theater (now the Fox) built in 1908, with a large ballroom and three floors of seating. It is the oldest continuous running movie theater in Colorado and continues its tradition of entertainment today.
Trinidad Lake State Park Weekend Activities - Learn about Native Americans, our watchable wildlife, and and the settlers of the Santa Fe Trail during show and tell presentations at the amphitheater around the fire.
Santa Fe Trail Days - Occurs every year in June. The entire community takes part in the Festivities. They have living history activities from the Trail's hey days, outlaws and gun fights. People dress up as their favorite character from the old days. Live continuous music for three days, a car and bike show, vendors, and yummy food.
Kiosks & Auto tour of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway - The National Historic Trail Auto Tour of the Santa Fe Trail is easily identified by the distinctive orange and maroon Santa Fe National Historic Trail logo. Tune in your AM Radio to 15.90 or 16.10 for the ongoing broadcast about the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail. Your radio will be your guide as you journey along the Santa Fe Trail. Follow the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail within the comfort of your own auto through four hours of shimmering endless plains, rugged hidden canyons and pioneer history. The auto tour is broadcast wherever you see the Santa Fe Trail triangle sign.
Look for these signs indicating the National Historic Santa Fe Trail. Or order our CD or video in advance for your trip, available through our web site at http://www.santafetrailscenicandhistoricbyway.org/store.html, " True Stories of the Santa Fe Trail, Listening for the Sounds of Wheels" for an even greater understanding for the historical importance of our Scenic Byway. Trinidad Lake State Park Weekend Activities - Guided hiking tours to learn about wildlife, archaeology, paleontology and history of the area. They offer many living history activities such as how to cook like a Spanish settler. Learn about the history and the use of the horno and afterwards sample the tasty result.
Explore the city on the free Trinidad trolley, which operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The trolley leaves just about every daylight hour, on the hour, Monday through Friday from the Colorado Welcome Center. A trolley ride is a fun-filled tour with tall tales of the main attractions, and quick stops long enough to stretch your legs. Admire views and visit some of the city's major artwork, the Trolley trips are a great adventure for the curious kids of all ages. They are a great way to ask more questions about the area and figure out where you'd like to spend more time. In the cool of the evening, after dinner, you will probably want to go back and walk or drive along some of the streets, imagining the people who built and lived in the beautiful frontier Victorian homes.