Scenic Qualities of the Mountain Branch
of the Santa Fe Trail

History/Culture/Archaeology/Nature/ Scenic/Recreation

The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway's scenic qualities range from the magnificent vistas of Raton Pass, to the verdant, irrigated crop lands of the high plains. The rural communities through which the Byway passes are scenic in their own right and contribute to the overall character of the eastern half of the trail corridor. Near its southern terminus, the byway passes through the Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District. Period architecture and brick streets contribute to the Historic District's charm and scenic value.



The southern half of the corridor exposes the traveler to the quintessential scenic qualities of southeastern Colorado's high plans; panoramic vistas, expansive grasslands, and rolling hills of pinon pine and juniper. The Byway also affords views of Fisher's Peak and the majestic Spanish Peaks which are both historic and inspirational. The traveler also experiences the beauty and solitude found on one of the nation's disappearing natural resources, undeveloped grasslands.





Because much of the southern corridor is virtually undeveloped, the modern visitor can experience what traveling the Santa Fe Trail must have been like in the 1800s. The Purgatoire River is a ribbon of life billowing through the prairie as you make your way across the grassland along the trail. Abundant bird life, dramatic vistas, and a sense of isolation provide the Byway with beauty, character and authenticity that are essential qualities.


Significant Scenic Qualities include:

Spectacular views of Fisher's Peak, the Spanish Peaks, the Rocky Mountains and Raton Pass.

Panoramic vistas of Comanche National Grassland and the Pinon Canyon Army Maneuvers Site.

Picturesque windmills and other evidence of homesteads and settlements.

The brick streets, striking architecture and colorful character of Corazon de Trinidad National Historic District.

Exposure to small-scale agriculture, including rural communities and quaint, roadside farm stands selling locally grown produce.

Wide open vistas and crystal clear views as a result of minimal commercial, industrial or residential development over much of the Byway.

Site Map 

La Junta Sites 

Lamar Sites 

Trinidad Sites 

Byway Museums

Byway Links