Santa Fe National Historic Trail
Looking southeast, coming into Raton out of Raton Pass
Once the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail cleared Raton Pass, it headed southwest across open prairie to Cimarron. Raton itself didn't exist as a town until the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad came through in 1879. Before that there were a couple of stage stops in the area to accommodate stage coach traffic mostly between Elizabethtown, Cimarron and Trinidad.
Lucien Maxwell and Kit Carson built homes and a trading post at Rayado (south of Cimarron) before deciding that Cimarron was a better location for any business they might do with travellers on the Trail. After Maxwell sold the Land Grant to European investors in 1871, he bought the abandoned Fort Sumner and Bosque Redondo from the government and moved himself and his family there. The Maxwell Land Grant Company then built their head offices in Cimarron.
The view west, heading south out of Raton
Looking southeast by the turn-off to Cimarron
Looking west, about 10 miles out of Raton
This land is part of Vermejo Park Ranch. The original trail probably passed between here and those hills.
Looking north a bit further west
The Cimarron Range, straight ahead
The Santa Fe Trail crosses the road here and heads down to that pond on Ponil Creek in the distance
That pond is on the left, Cimarron is center and to the right
Looking northwest on Ponil Creek, springtime
Looking southeast on Ponil Creek, springtime
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