La Junta - Eastern Colorado
The name "La Junta" comes from a Spanish term for junction or meeting place, and, since the early 1800s, the town has been living up to its name.
Located along the Santa Fe Trail, a trade route stretching from Missouri to New Mexico, La Junta was a major trade hub as early as 1833, when Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site was built in the area. The fort, run by brothers Charles and William Bent and business partner Ceran St. Vrain, served trappers, Mexicans and Native Americans and was the largest stop along the trail.
The fort lost some of its clout when the railroad came through in the 1880s, establishing the formal town of La Junta and making the area a major hub of industry. Eventually, highways became the preferred mode of transportation in the area, shifting the town's focus to ranching, agriculture and, most of all, tourism.
Nowadays, visitors frequent the area to stop at the reconstructed Bent's Fort and catch a glimpse of the remnants of the Santa Fe Trail, which still contains nearly 200 miles of wagon ruts.
The Koshare Indian Museum keeps the area's Native American legacy alive, featuring one of the largest collections of Native American arts and artifacts and regular performances by the Koshare Indian Dancers.
The area's natural beauty has also helped the city remain a major junction. Comanche National Grasslands boasts more than 400,000 acres of range land with nearly 300 species of birds. And John Martin Reservoir State Park offers fishing, boating, and swimming.
Featured La Junta Businesses
Straddling the Santa Fe Trail, this high plains KOA is on the western edge of La Junta. Stay in a camping cabin, tiny home, full hookup RV sites, tenting site. KAMP K9, summer pool, WI-FI. Near Bent's Old Fort.
La Junta Activities & Maps
Santa Fe Trail Scenic Byway