La Junta

On the southeastern plains of Colorado, the town of La Junta — "the junction" in Spanish — is a welcome sight to travelers who have crossed the vast great plains.

The most famous local attraction is Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, about nine miles from town. The fort was originally erected in the 1830s by two brothers, Charles and William Bent, and was the only permanent structure for hundreds of miles around. Kit Carson hunted for food for the fort, and other famous Western characters appear in its history.

The remnants of the fort were studied and, during the nation's bicentennial, the National Park Service re-created the adobe structure as close to its original condition as possible. A living history program further enhances a visit here.

In town, the Koshare Indian Kiva & Museum began as a Boy Scout troop's project in the 1930s and evolved into a fine collection of American Indian artifacts. The site presents Indian dances performed by trained Scouts (not Indians).

For more local history, visit the Otero Museum, with artifacts from local life and from the Santa Fe Railroad, among other things.

La Junta is also the access point for the Picketwire area of the Comanche National Grasslands, a great place for prairie hiking and birdwatching. It also has an awesome set of dinosaur tracks worth following.

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