Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site allowed traders to engage in trading with Native Americans and buffalo trappers during the 1830s and 1840s. The fort was destroyed in 1849 when cholera broke out among local Plains Indians. William Bent, the fort's founder, abandoned it. The National Park Service later deemed this area an important historical site. They reconstructed this majestic Pueblo-style fort with as much accuracy as possible based on written, drawn, and archeological evidence. The public has enjoyed visiting this piece of history since the 1960s.
RV Parks & Campgrounds Near Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is near both wilderness and cities, which means visitors have several RV parks to choose from. Several highways provide easy access to this location, and you'll never be far from civilization. Using an RV to visit allows you to skip hotels in favor of relaxing under the stars.
RV Rentals Near Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Things To Do Near Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
To get to this historical site, you hike down a short trail leading to the fort. When you see the grand Pueblo-style architecture, you'll understand why the original fort was once called "The Castle of the Plains." You might enjoy going inside to watch a short documentary called "Traders, Tribes, and Travelers: The Story of Bent's Old Fort." The film provides context for the rich details you'll see around you. After watching the movie, ask an employee dressed in historical garb to give you a pamphlet for a self-guided tour.
Bent's Old Fort Hiking Trail
The walk from Bent's Old Fort's parking area to the fort itself is the beginning of this hiking loop. Once you arrive at the fort, the path goes on for another mile and a half. The trail is home to many birds and cottonwood trees. It follows along the Arkansas River and goes through marshes. Signs along the trail explain the hustle and bustle of the river's unique ecosystem.
35110 State Highway 194 E. La Junta, CO 81050
Picket Wire Canyon Trail
A hike through Picket Wire Canyon Trail starts at Withers Canyon Trailhead, where you'll see dry scrub and brush as soon as you step out of your vehicle. This lengthy out-and-back trail crosses a shallow river, but that's not all. It goes through the ruins of the Dolores Mission and Cemetary. Farther along the path, you'll find the dinosaur tracks. This is the biggest dinosaur track site in the entire United States with more than 1,500 prints.
Withers Canyon Trailhead, La Junta, CO 81050
Annual Tarantula Migration
Throughout the summer and fall, tarantulas migrate from Oklahoma to Colorado, where they breed before returning home. Arachnid lovers from throughout the country come to witness this at Comanche National Grassland, which is the best viewing location.
1420 East 3rd Street, La Junta, CO 81050
The Koshare Museum opened in 1949, but a Boy Scout troop first dreamed it up during the Great Depression. The scouts raised money to build this museum's unusual round room, inspired by Anasazi architecture. This museum is full of Native American artwork and artifacts from New Mexico and across the country.
115 W 18th Street La Junta, Colorado 81050
The Otero Museum gained its artifacts with the help of the Otero County Historical Society. They gifted much of their memorabilia to the museum and helped acquire other items. The museum covers the period from 1875 to 1945. Displays are structured to resemble people's real lives during that timespan.
706 W. 3rd St. La Junta, CO 81050
Nearby Shops and Restaurants
The Copper Kitchen is an old-fashioned diner with some of the friendliest servers you'll ever meet. They serve breakfast and lunch.
116 Colorado Ave, La Junta, CO 81050
Lucy's Tacos is a popular food truck in La Junta. It's open all day long, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight.
17 E 3rd St, La Junta, CO 81050
1st Street Emporium
1st Street Emporium holds numerous booths, each selling the wares of a different retailer. You're likely to find crafts, books, gifts, collectibles, handmade art, and antiques.
112 West 1st St, La Junta, CO 81050
Selena's sells women's clothing and jewelry. This boutique has carefully chosen pieces you might not find elsewhere.
209 Colorado Ave, La Junta, CO 81050
How To Get To Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
To get to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site by car from La Junta, take U.S. Highway 50 to Highway 109 North. Go 1 mile until you hit Highway 194, where you'll head east for 6 miles and arrive at the fort. If you're coming from Las Animas, take U.S. Highway 60 to Highway 194 and go west for 13 miles. For users of GPS, you can set it to 35110 State Highway 194 E., La Junta, CO. Visitors from farther off can fly into airports in Pueblo or Colorado Springs before heading to the fort. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the summer. This National Historic Site also allows free visits for everyone on certain days of the year, which you can find on their website. Fee: Free (entry fee for children under 6 years of age) Fee: $5 (Major events fee for everyone over 6 years of age)
35110 State Highway 194 E. La Junta, CO 81050
Fee: Entry Fee (Adult) $3 Entry fee for individuals 13 years and older.
Fee: Entry Fee (Youth) $2 Entry fee for children 6 to 12 years old.
Fee: Entry Fee (Children) There is no entry fee for children 5 years and younger.
Fee: Major Event Fee (For Individuals Over 6 Years) $5
Visiting Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is a treat. If you have a chance to see this rare reconstruction, you should. It shares information on the traders and the Native Americans with whom they traded. Though the 1800s can seem like the distant past, the labor of those who lived and worked at the fort still matters. Some people wouldn't even be alive today had their ancestors been unable to replenish supplies here! To get the most out of your trip to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, make the journey in an RV. Traveling in an RV brings all the comforts of home into your mode of transportation for utmost comfort.