Santa Fe Trail


When William Becknell took his first load of trade goods west over what would come to be called the Santa Fe Trail, he was following Indian paths which had been used for centuries for commerce and annual migrations. The year was 1821 and his profit margin (an incredible 2,000%) sealed the fate of the once tranquil thoroughfare.

The 900-mile route starts in Independence, Missouri, crosses the plains of Kansas, over the dreaded Raton Pass of the Mountain Route in Colorado, and into the trail’s namesake on this 9-day interpretive tour.

Capture the romance and adventure of this exciting American drama as we head the wagons westward once again along the Santa Fe Trail!

Begins in Kansas City and ends in Santa Fe

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Tour highlights:

  • Arabia Steamboat Museum
  • Fort Leavenworth
  • Fort Leavenworth
  • Alexander Majors Home
  • Mahaffie Farmstead
  • Kansas State History Museum
  • Council Grove
  • Hays House
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site
  • Pawnee Rock State Monument
  • Bents Old Fort
  • Koshare Indian Museum
  • Baca House
  • Fort Union National Monument
  • Pecos National Monument
  • Santa Fe
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Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrivals

Airport transfers.  Welcome dinner.  Overnight:  Kansas City, MO (D)

Day 2 – Kansas City area

Visit the National Frontier Trails Center, which sits right on the original spring where pioneers and muleskinners filled their water barrels for the journey ahead. Visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum, to see supplies identical to those carried over the trail by Santa Fe traildrivers. At Fort Leavenworth, view actual wagon ruts.  Tour the Frontier Army Museum. Overnight: Kansas City, MO. (B,L)

Day 3 – Shawnee Indian Mission Schoool / Alexander Majors home

Tour the famous Shawnee Indian Mission School and Alexander Majors home.  End the day with an authentic pioneer meal and living history interpretation of life on the trail.  Kansas City, MO (B,D)

Day 4 – Mahaffie Farmstead / Kansas State Museum of History

Visit the  Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop which served  commercial travelers along the Santa Fe Trail. Visit the Kansas State Museum of History.  Overnight: Council Grove, KS.  (B, D)

Day 5 – Fort Larned

Intepretive tour of Fort Larned, one of the best preserved frontier military forts in the country. Visit Pawnee Rock, the midpoint on the trail and site of numerous and deadly Indian attacks.  Overnight: Garden City, KS. (B)

Day 6 – Bents Old Fort / Koshare Indian Museum

Tour Bents Old Fort, the center of trading activities between 1833 and 1849.  Visit the Koshare Indian Museum, view a demonstration of Indian dancing. Overnight:  La Junta, CO (B, D)

Day 7 –Bada House / Fort Union

Tour the Baca House in Trinidad, built by a Santa Fe Trail merchant right on the trail in 1870, and visit Fort Union, the largest and most important military fort along the trail.  Overnight:  Las Vegas, NM. (B)


Day 8 – Pecos Pueblo / End of the Trail

Pecos Pueblo,  a major landmark on the Santa Fe Trail, was already a ruin when the first Santa Fe Trail wagons rolled past in 1821.  In Santa Fe we’ll have time to explore the famous shops lining the plaza before our festive farewell dinner.  Overnight:  Santa Fe, NM (B, D)

Day 9 – Departures

Airport transfers provided to Albuquerque.  (B)

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Happy Trails!