150 Years Back In Time, Just 30 Miles Up The Road
Ready for a little time travel? Fort Union is an historic treasure, especially for Civil War buffs, history enthusiasts, curious kids or just about anyone ready to get away – far away, to life on the frontier a century ago, in just an afternoon.
Following the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848, New Mexico officially became a United States Territory. Now it was the job of the U.S. military to protect the people and travel routes of a volatile southwest region.
Strategically placed at the Mountain and Cimarron Cutoff branches of the historic Santa Fe Trail, Fort Union played a vital role in many historic events from 1851 until it was abandoned in 1891. It served a base for campaigns against the Apache, Ute, Navajo, Kiowa and Comanche. It was a major Army supply depot for other forts in the southwest. And in 1862, Fort Union would become a key strategic stronghold for repelling the Confederate invasion of New Mexico from Texas. Perhaps most importantly, the Fort was a guardian of the Santa Fe Trail – the region’s major artery for traders, merchants, mail carriers, soldiers and travelers (and, of course the robbers, rustlers, hustlers and hucksters that preyed upon them).
The story of Fort Union is a journey into lives of people good and bad. It’s a fascinating tale of the cultures, politics, legends and lore of 19th century New Mexico.
A Rut To Get Into
Fortunately, Fort Union’s 150 year old remains have been preserved and beautifully presented by our National Park Service, including miles of actual rut from the wagon wheels of early travelers on the Santa Fe Trail.
Park staff, a Visitor Center and self-guided tours are there to help you feel the spirit of life at the Fort and to restore the ruins as they appeared 150 years ago.
Fortunately the trip back to Las Vegas only takes about 30 minutes where you’ll find everything you need to rest, relax, and reflect on your day. Perhaps a drink, a good meal and a comfortable place to spend the night.