Historic Cultural Crossroads in Southeast Colorado
This circle tour provides an introductory tour to the major historic sites in Southeast Colorado. You'll travel the Santa Fe National Scenic and Historic Byway, touring two National Park Historic Sites and one Historic Landmark. If you have more time, you can follow the route at a more leisurely pace, taking time to spy some of the 400 species that have made this a bird watcher's paradise.
A Weekend Loop Tour from Denver
3 Days/2 Nights
Sand Creek Massacre Site
John Martin Reservoir
Towner Bus Tragedy Site
Camp Amache — WW II Japanese Internment Camp
Bent's Old Fort
Koshare Indian Museum
Day One: Eads, Granada, Lamar
Start your tour in Eads with a visit to the Kiowa County Museum. Visit the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, first opened to the public in April 2007, and join an interpretive tour conducted by the National Park Service. Drive east to the memorial for the Towner School Bus Tragedy and continue south to Granada. Plan to have either lunch or dinner in Granada, a tiny town that draws people from all over the region to two restaurants -- Shorty's and Chez Duvall's. Visit Camp Amache, located just outside Granada, one of ten WW II Japanese relocation camps. Overnight in Lamar.
Day Two: Lamar, Las Animas
Visit Big Timbers Museum to view an extraordinary collection of WW I posters, then drive west to John Martin Reservoir where you can view ruts from the Santa Fe Trail, hike on the Red Shin Trail, and view dinosaur tracks. Visit the Army Corps of Engineers visitor center to view a new paleontology exhibits and the State Park visitor center for information on watchable wildlife. Grab lunch at the grocery in Hasty, and continue on to Boggsville for a self-guided tour of this important settlement on the Santa Fe Trail. Overnight in Las Animas or La Junta.
Day Three: La Junta
Start the day with a tour of Bent's Old Fort, either with a tour led by a National Park Service interpreter in period attire, or take a self-guided walk. Visit the excellent bookstore located inside the fort. Drive to La Junta to explore the Koshare Indian Museum that houses one of the finest collections of Indian art in the state. Attached to the museum is the Koshare Kiva placed on the Colorado State Register in 1995. It is listed as an example of the Pueblo Revival style. Designed by architect Damon Runyon, ground was broken on October 3, 1948. The kiva has curved walls designed with ten niches to accommodate the Velino (Valino) Shije Herrera murals. The log roof is 60 feet across with 620 logs weighing over forty tons, making it the largest self-supporting roof in the world. Performances by the Koshare Dancers are held. It was constructed by a local Boy Scout troop that has studied and performed Native American dances for over seventy-five years, and a museum gift store.