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Santa Fe National Historic Trail

National Trails Intermountain Region
PO Box 728
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-0728

Visitor Information
(505) 988-6098

Here are historic sites and interpretive facilities on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail in New Mexico for you to visit:

McNees Crossing, near Moses

This crossing, over the North Canadian River (or Corrumpa Creek, as local residents call it), is located on New Mexico Highway 406, 3.5 miles west of the Oklahoma state line, then 1.5 miles south of the small community of Moses.

The site is located on private land, but access is unrestricted.

This rock crossing was named for a young scout of an east-bound caravan, Robert McNees, who (along with Daniel Munro) was killed there in the autumn of 1828 by Indians. The crossing was also used as a campground, and a group of traders headed by Josiah Gregg celebrated the Fourth of July there in 1831, the first such celebration in present-day New Mexico.

The site, which is still visible, retains much of its original appearance. Good wagon ruts may be seen in the area. A short distance to the north is a gate; please close it if you go through. The site is a National Historic Landmark.

A state historic sign sits in the actual ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. Nearby is a small marker erected in 1921 on the 90th anniversary of the 1831 July 4th celebration.

Herzstein Memorial Museum, Clayton

Corner of S. Second St. and E. Walnut St.

Phone: (575) 374-2977 or (575) 374-9639

Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, closed on Sundays and Mondays

The Union County Historical Society maintains the museum, which is housed in the town�s former Methodist Episcopal church.

The institution is devoted to the acquisition, care, interpretation and exhibit of artifacts and documents associated with the history of Union County and northeastern New Mexico.

Point of Rocks, outside Springer

In Colfax County, approximately 25 miles east-northeast of Springer. To access the site, proceed approximately 20 miles east from Springer along U.S. Highway 56 (Santa Fe Trail) to County Road C-52 (Point of Rocks Road, at mile marker 23), turn left (north) for approximately 8 miles to the Cimarron Cutoff, turn right (east-northeast) and drive two miles to the site.

Phone: (505) 485-2473 (Point of Rocks Ranch, owned by the Gaines family)

The site is on private land (Point of Rocks Ranch), but access is unrestricted.

This landmark was a popular campsite for various Indian buffalo-hunting parties and Santa Fe Trail caravans traveling the Cimarron Cutoff. There was considerable violence at this site, including the killing of the White Family in 1849.

The site offers a year-round spring, numerous teepee rings, the grave of Isaac Allen (who died in 1848), and 11 unmarked graves.

An interpretive wayside exhibit, along with a picnic shelter, is located at the site.

Point of Rocks Ranch Trail Segments, outside Springer

In Colfax County, approximately 25 miles east-northeast of Springer and adjacent to the Point of Rocks site.

Phone: (505) 485-2473 (Point of Rocks Ranch, owned by the Gaines family)

The site is on private land (Point of Rocks Ranch), but access is unrestricted.

These trail segments were part of the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail.

The site offers �sweeping views� of Santa Fe Trail ruts.

An interpretive wayside exhibit is located at the site.

Santa Fe Trail (Goat Hill) Overlook, Raton

Goat Hill is a high point overlooking Raton. To reach the site, take Canyon Dr. (U.S. Highway 85) to Moulton Ave. (just north of the State Highway 72 junction), go west on Moulton for one mile from its intersection with Hill St., then turn left (south, then east) to the overlook.

Phone: (575) 445-9451

Hours: unrestricted

The site provides an overview of Raton Pass, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Willow Springs historic site.

This is a Raton city park.

There is a wayside exhibit at the overlook.

St. James (Don Diego) Hotel, Cimarron

Corner S. Collinson Ave. (New Mexico Highway 21 or Santa Fe Trail) and 17th St. in Cimarron�s �old town�

Phone: (575) 376-2664

Hours: unrestricted. The hotel is open year round

Henri Lambert, who had been President Abraham Lincoln�s personal chef, established a saloon here in 1872. By 1880, the saloon had evolved into the two-story, adobe St. James Hotel. As a vital outpost of the Santa Fe Trail, Cimarron and the St. James are linked to early land grant settlers, ranchers and desperados, including such notables as settlers Lucien Maxwell and Carlos Beaubien, Buffalo Bill Cody and his cohort Annie Oakley, Kit Carson, Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Blackjack Ketchum. The notorious gunman, Clay Allison, allegedly danced naked on the bar. The bar, once part of the present dining room, still has bullet holes in its pressed tin ceiling.

The hotel is open for self-guided walking tours and is described in the chamber of commerce�s walking tour booklet.

Rayado (Lucien Maxwell House), outside Cimarron

On the Philmont Scout Ranch. From Cimarron, proceed south along New Mexico Highway 21 for 11 miles to the museum.

Phone: (575) 376-2281

Hours: private residence, restricted access.

In 1841, the Mexican government granted a large tract of land in this area to Carlos Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda. Beaubien's son-in-law, mountain man Lucien Maxwell, led the first settlers to the grant in 1848. With the help of his friend Kit Carson, Maxwell's settlement on the Rayado River prospered despite frequent Indian raids and harsh wilderness conditions. Maxwell moved his ranch north to the Cimarron River in 1857, the site of present-day Cimarron. There it became a famous stop on the Santa Fe Trail, bringing U.S. trade goods into New Mexico. By the 1930, the old ranch house was in ruined condition, but it has since been rehabilitated.

The Lucien Maxwell House, also called the Maxwell-Abreu House, is a long adobe house with wide wooden posts and railing on the veranda. Begun in 1850, it originally had a flat roof and includes remnants of the Maxwell house (built in 1848). The existing house, only portions of which date back to the nineteenth century, is part of the Rayado Ranch which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties. The house shares the Rayado site with the Rayado Chapel (owned by the Catholic Church), the Martinez House, an adobe shed and barn, and other historic structures.

Kit Carson Museum, outside Cimarron

On the Philmont Scout Ranch. From Cimarron, proceed south along New Mexico Highway 21 for 11.1 miles to the museum.

Phone: (575) 376-2281

Summer hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. The museum is open only for special events during the rest of the year.

In 1849, frontiersman Kit Carson began to reside on Lucien Maxwell�s ranch on the Rayado River. Their ranch was visited by many traders traveling on the Santa Fe Trail.

In 1949, workers began rebuilding Kit Carson's adobe home at Rayado�a project that longtime landowner Waite Phillips had urged the Boy Scouts of America to undertake. The building was completed in 1950 and opened as an interpretive museum to portray the area�s history and to recount the exploits of Maxwell and Carson.

Each room in the museum is outfitted with reproduction furniture and objects typical of New Mexico in the 1850s. Staff at the Kit Carson Museum dress in period clothing and demonstrate frontier skills and crafts like blacksmithing, cooking, shooting, and farming. The Rayado Trading Company, located at the museum, sells books, maps, reproduction tools and equipment, moccasins, and blankets.

Las Vegas Plaza, Las Vegas

In central Las Vegas, bounded by Plaza, Gonzales, and Pacific streets.

Hours: unrestricted

The town of Las Vegas began as a Santa Fe Trail town in 1835. The town was laid out in the traditional Spanish Colonial style, with a central plaza surrounded by buildings which could serve as fortifications in case of attack. The trail passed through the plaza, and presumably many of the traders stayed here. It is thought that from the top of the flat-roofed adobe structure, between numbers 210 - 218 on the north side of the plaza, that Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny claimed the New Mexico Territory for the United States on August 15, 1846.

A historical marker commemorating Kearny�s visit to Las Vegas is on the plaza.

City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial, Las Vegas

727 Grand Ave. (near 4th St. and National St.)

Phone: (505) 454-1401, ext. 283

Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The museum, which is housed in a 1940 Works Progress Administration-funded building, was dedicated in 1940. The museum illuminates the history of Las Vegas, its connection to the Theodore Roosevelt�s Rough Riders, the Santa Fe Trail and the development of New Mexico.

Exhibits: The museum features collections of local American Indian pottery, household items, costumes, ranching and farming equipment, agricultural and mercantile operations, and home life. It also features a permanent exhibit on popular culture and the Santa Fe Trail.

Las Vegas Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center, Las Vegas

116 Bridge St. (between the plaza and the Gallinas River Bridge)

Phone: (505) 425-8803

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The center contains art exhibits and artifacts pertaining to the Santa Fe Trail and early pioneering life. There are photos and artifacts of the Santa Fe Trail and from the Las Vegas area. The center can provide visitors with an in-depth history of the Santa Fe Trail through books, brochures and original photos. The interpretive center is managed by the Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation, which is active in preserving and promoting the history of Las Vegas.

Santa Fe Trail Ruts, Santa Fe

Near the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Camino Lejo, Santa Fe. Three parallel ruts are just west of Camino Lejo and the museum complex, and a fourth rut is located on a south-facing slope above Arroyo de los Chamisos just south of the Museum of International Folk Art. The ruts were identified through an archeological survey of the area.

Hours: unrestricted

These ruts, which are located on Museum of New Mexico property, are adjacent to the collaborative artwork �Journey�s End,� by sculptor Reynaldo �Sonny� Rivera and landscape architect Richard Botkovetz.

Two wayside exhibits and an audio recording interpret the sculpture.

Amelia White Park, Santa Fe

981 Old Santa Fe Trail (at Camino Corrales)

Phone: (505) 984-6760
Hours: unrestricted

Amelia White was a Santa Fe philanthropist and civic leader who donated this land to the City of Santa Fe. White also played a major role in the establishment of Museum Hill, the complex of museums and other cultural institutions that are now located on nearby Camino Lejo.

Faint Santa Fe Trail ruts can be found in this park, which are remnants of the historic travel route to the traditional western terminus of the trail.

El Zaguan, Santa Fe

545 Canyon Rd. (near Delgado St.)
Phone: (505) 983-2567

Offices open weekdays 9-noon and 1:30-5:00 p.m.; gardens open Mon.-Sat. 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

This territorial-style house was originally built during the 1840s. Behind the house was once a corral where freighters on the Old Santa Fe Trail kept their oxen, horses and mules while in town.

Since the 1920s, El Zaguan has housed an artists� colony. Today it is the headquarters of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, a caretaker of historic landscapes.

The house has a small exhibit on Santa Fe architecture and preservation. Outside is a small but remarkable garden abundant with lavender, roses, and 160-year-old trees.

Santa Fe Plaza, Santa Fe

In downtown Santa Fe, bounded by San Francisco Street and Washington, East Palace, and Lincoln Avenues.

Hours: unrestricted

The plaza was the traditional end of the Santa Fe Trail for westbound travelers. The plaza is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The "End of the Santa Fe Trail� marker (placed by the Daughters of American Revolution) is on the southeast corner of the Plaza. It was dedicated in 1911.

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe

105 West Palace Ave., on the north side of the Santa Fe Plaza.
Phone: (505) 476-5100
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Palace of the Governors, built in 1610, served for 300 years as the seat of the Spanish, Mexican, and American territorial government in New Mexico. After occupying New Mexico for the United States in 1846, General Stephen W. Kearny raised the U.S. flag over the palace and took up temporary residence inside of it.

Since 1909, the palace has housed a historical museum.

Objects from American Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo cultures are represented in the museum�s collection, many of which are on display.

Fort Marcy, Santa Fe

Along Kearney Ave. near Artist Rd., one-half mile northeast of the Santa Fe Plaza

Hours: unrestricted

American General Stephen W. Kearny�s troops built Fort Marcy in 1846 on the hill overlooking Santa Fe in order to protect the American presence in Santa Fe. The earthen fort was large enough to accommodate 1,000 soldiers. It was never completed and was abandoned in 1868.

The remains of Fort Marcy consist of mounds of earth several feet high tracing the outline of the adobe fortification.

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