- This scenic byway follows the historic mountain route of the Santa Fe Trail for 188 miles from the Kansas border to Trinidad. It begins in the border town of Holly on U.S. Highway 50 and leads west to Lamar. West from Lamar the route passes John Martin Reservoir and State Wildlife Area. Continuing west to Las Animas this route follows the rails of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe into the junction of La Junta.
La Junta has several museums including Bent's Old Fort, which was a fort used for trading in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Immediately south of La Junta is Commanche National Grassland where you can see the wagon ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. In La Junta the byway follows U.S. Highway 350, which traces the tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe to Trinidad.
Recreation - This route traverses southeastern Colorado and provides an interesting perspective for the scenic driver. John Martin Reservoir and Commanche National Grasslands, as well as Bents Old Fort allow for diversion from the route. Hiking, biking, camping and picnicking are options for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway.
Climate - Southeastern Colorado's climate is mild compared to that of the mountains. Summers are usually scorching in this arid region with highs reaching the triple digits. High visitation times are usually during the cooler, but pleasant, times of spring and fall. Winter is usually mild, but snow does occur. Be prepared for wind in this area.
This scenic byway is located in the arid southeastern region of the state. It leads through the high shortgrass prairies that made the dust bowl infamous. Since that time these areas have been reclaimed and revegetated to a healthy state.