“Ocian in view! Oh! The Joy!,” William Clark wrote in his journal on November 7, 1805 as he viewed what he believed was the Pacific Ocean, as the Corps of Discovery reached the broad estuary of the Columbia River, 20 miles from the coast.
Clark’s exhilaration on reaching the destination the Corps had dreamed of for thousands of treacherous miles is the pure emotion of joy that the editors of True West believe our readers—whether first-time visitors or seasoned Western adventurers—discover, and rediscover, when they travel across the American West.
True West’s “Ultimate Travel Guide” encourages treks to the West’s greatest heritage sites, where you can actually stand and experience where history happened. The editorial staff at True West invites you to “saddle up” and travel with us to discover the West together—in the hope we’ll inspire your own ultimate Western adventure—and to make some history of your own.
THE PACIFIC COAST
California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington
From the Sierra Nevada to the San Juan Islands, from the Columbia River Gorge to Death Valley, the Pacific Coast Region is a land of vast horizons, deep, lush valleys and long snowcapped mountain ranges. The natural beauty, vast distances and diversity of the geology and history of the five states inspire wonderment and admiration for those who lived, explored and settled the region in the centuries before trains, automobiles and airplanes. The heritage of the area is defined by the Pacific Ocean, seemingly endless mountain ranges and the continent’s most arid deserts. The Pacific Coast Region is home to dozens of the nation’s most recognizable parks, monuments and historic sites, and travelers to the five states find themselves following the trails of explorers, adventurers and pioneers, while walking in the footsteps of missionaries, mountain men and miners.
Bodie State Historic Park
Visitors who walk the silent streets of Bodie State Historic Park, set amidst the sagebrush of the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Yosemite, will discover the real West amid the 170 buildings that remain preserved in one of California’s most notorious mining camps.
The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270), seven miles south of Bridgeport.
760-647-6445 • Parks.CA.gov
Death Valley National Park
Founded as a monument in 1933, Death Valley National Park’s 3.33 million acres in California and Nevada make it the largest park outside of Alaska. Start your tour at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to visit the nearby Harmony Borax Works and learn about the mineral bonanza that inspired the iconic 20-mule team borax wagons.
Highway 190, Death Valley, CA 92328
760-786-3200 • NPS.gov
Donner Memorial State Park
Honoring the tragic emigrant party, Donner Memorial State Park in Donner Pass includes a museum in the visitors center, and a monument dedicated to all the pioneers who traveled to the Golden State on the California Trail.
9 miles west of Truckee, California
530-582-7892 • Parks.CA.gov
Famed author and Western preservationist Charles F. Lummis hand-built his famed stone-cobbled home in northeast Los Angeles in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Follow up a Lummis house tour with a visit to the Autry Museum of the American West in nearby Griffith Park, and on Saturdays only, Lummis’s Historic Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington.
200 E Ave 43, Los Angeles, CA 90031
323-661-9465 • LAPARKS.org/Autry.org
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Founded in 1853, the outpost was once led by Capt. U.S. Grant, who found it so isolating he left the army after his posting at Humboldt. Shuttered in 1870, the fort today is open to visitors who can walk the grounds, including the last surviving building—the hospital, now a museum dedicated to army life and local tribal history.
3431 Fort Ave, Eureka, CA 95503
707-445-6547 • Parks.CA.gov
Lava Beds National Monument
Near the Oregon border east of Yreka, California, and south of Klamath Falls, Oregon, Lava Beds National Monument protects the battle sites of the Modoc War, including Captain Jack’s Stronghold.
1 Indian Well Campground Trail
Indian Well Hqts, CA 96134 • 530-667-8100 • NPS.gov
Situated along the Eastern Sierra’s “Main Street” U.S. Highway 395, Lone Pine is a historic community first settled in the 1860s. In 1920, Hollywood producers filmed the Western The Last Roundup in Lone Pine, and since then over 400 movies and 100 television programs have been produced in and around the distinctive Alabama Hills.
120 South Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-4444 • LonePineFilmHistoryMuseum.org
Marshall Gold Discovery State Park
In the heart of “Mother Lode country,” Marshall Gold Discovery State Park near Caloma preserves the site where James W. Marshall found gold in the tailings of Sutter’s Mill in January 1848. A living history center, the park includes Marshall’s cabin and a replica of the original mill. Rangers and docents provide daily programs at the park. Visitors can even pan for gold.
310 Back St, Coloma, CA 95613
530-622-3470 • Parks.CA.gov
A national historic landmark district and state historic park, Old Sacramento is a living history center on the banks of the Sacramento River. Visitors can tour the California State Railroad Museum, The Delta King Riverboat, Huntington & Hopkins Hardware, Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, Sacramento History Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum. Passenger train rides can be enjoyed on the California State Railroad Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad, which departs from the reconstructed Central Pacific Freight Depot.
2nd St & Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-808-7059 • OldSacramento.com
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park celebrates and preserves the Spanish, Mexican and early American heritage of the city. Five original adobe buildings survive in the living history center.
Don’t miss an opportunity to stay and dine at
the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel.
4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110
619-220-5422 • Parks.CA.gov
Presidio of San Francisco
For 218 years, Spain, Mexico and then the
United States, garrisoned troops at the Presidio
of San Francisco. An active military post until 1994, the Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Artillery and military architecture buffs will want to tour one of the nation’s finest collections of field armaments and historic buildings at any military park in the U.S.
California Hwy 1, San Francisco, CA 94123
415-561-4700 • NPS.gov
San Gabriel Mission
Padre Junipero Serra’s fourth mission, San Gabriel, was founded strategically between San Diego and San Carlos Borromeo in Monterey on September 8, 1771, and has been an active
parish for 245 years. Visitors should tour the museum and follow the self-guided tours of
the historic church and grounds—the same oasis that mountain man Jedediah Smith arrived at in 1826 after crossing the Mojave Desert from the east.
254 S Santa Anita St, San Gabriel, CA 91776
626-282-3181 • SanGabrielMissionChurch.org
The California Bear Flag Revolt began in June 1846 at the Sonoma Barracks. The restored barracks, across the street from Sonoma’s Mission San Francisco Solano, are a part of a park complex that includes General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s home, the Toscano Hotel, the Servants Quarters and the Blue Wing Inn.
Spain Street & First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476
707-935-6832 • Parks.CA.gov
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park
In 1839, Swiss pioneer John Sutter received a land grant from Mexico to build a community he called New Helvetia near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. Today, visitors can tour Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, a living history center that includes the one of the most significant historic structures in the state, the fully restored Sutter’s Fort.
2701 L St, Sacramento, CA 95816
916-445-4422 • Parks.CA.gov
William S. Hart Ranch and Museum
Silent movie star William S. Hart’s Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion, built on his ranch in 1910 in Newhall, north of Los Angeles, is dedicated to Hart’s life in the movies. Hart is famous for saying: “When I was making pictures, the people gave me their nickels, dimes and quarters. When I am gone, I want them to have my home.”
24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall, CA 91321
661-254-4584 • HartMuseum.org
Yosemite National Park
On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, protecting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. A national park since 1890, Yosemite was a favorite of naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, and was originally patrolled by the U.S. Cavalry.
PO Box 577 Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
209-372-0200 • NPS.gov
Fort Hall Replica
New England entrepreneur Nathaniel Wyeth built Fort Hall in 1832 to support his fur trade business. The fort evolved to become a key crossroads and supply center on the Oregon Trail. Today, Fort Hall Replica, “the gateway to the Pacific,” is a living history center dedicated to Indian, fur trade and Oregon Trail history.
3000 Avenue of the Chiefs, Pocatello, ID 83204
208-234-1795 • FortHall.net
In Boise Basin, Idaho City was the “Queen of the Gold Camps,” the center of the richest gold strikes in the history of the American Northwest in the 1860s. Today, visitors to the village can walk the boardwalks of the boomtown and visit numerous historic buildings, including the Boise Basin Historical Museum housed in the original post office built in 1867.
208-392-4159 • IdahoCity.org
Nez Perce National Historical Park
A multi-state national park, Nez Perce National Historical Park has six sites in Idaho, as well. The Spalding Site, near Lapwai, is the headquarters of the park, and has visitors center and museum.
39063 U.S. 95, Lapwai, ID 83540
208-843-7009 • NPS.gov
Old Fort Boise
Originally a Hudson Bay outpost at the confluence of the Boise and Snake rivers, a small monument marks the site of the Old Fort Boise in the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area. A replica of the old fort was built as a living history center in Parma, and includes a museum and a pioneer cabin.
Parma, ID 83660
208-722-5210 • OldFortBoise.com
Coeur d’ Alene’s Old Mission State Park
Built by Catholic Jesuit missionaries and local Coeur d’ Alene Indians between 1850 and 1853, the Mission of the Sacred Heart at Coeur d’ Alene’s Old Mission State Park is the oldest building in Idaho. Tour the mission, a restored parish house and the historic cemetery. Exhibits interpret the history of Catholic missionary efforts in the Rocky Mountains.
3715 E 3200 N, Hansen, ID 83334
208-432-4000 • ParksAndRecreation.Idaho.gov
Rock Creek Station
An Idaho Historical Society living history center, Rock Creek Station and the Stricker Home were built in 1865. An important transportation hub along the Oregon Trail south of Hansen, the historic trail stop also includes a pioneer cemetery and interpretive center.
3715 E 3200 N, Hansen, ID 83334
208-432-4000 • History.Idaho.gov
Salmon is a jewel in the valley near the confluence of the Salmon and Lehmi rivers along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail on U.S. 93. A traditional home of the Shoshone tribe, the City of Salmon’s Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Educational Center is dedicated to the heritage and history of the region.
208-756-2100 • VisitSalmonValley.com
Located in the richest silver district in American history, Wallace is in the Silver Valley of Shoshone County in Idaho’s northern panhandle. Start your walking tour of the Wallace Historic District at the Wallace District Mining Museum, and continue on to the Oasis Bordello Museum and the Northern Pacific Depot Museum. Don’t leave town without taking the Sierra Silver Mine Tour.
208-753-7151 • Wallace-ID.com
Land of Yankee Fork State Park
One of Idaho’s premier historic state parks, Land of Yankee Fork State Park in Round Valley has numerous historic sites, including three ghost towns—Bayhorse, Bonanza and Custer—and the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge; plus the Shoshone Indian mid-1800s Challis Bison Kill site. Visitors should start in Challis at the interpretive center before touring the park.
Junction of US 93 and SH 75, Challis, ID
208-879-5244 • ParksAndRecreation.Idaho.gov
California Trail Interpretive Center
Ever wondered what it was like to cross the nation in a Conestoga wagon? Or walk across the continent to find your bonanza of gold in California? The California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko will answer all your questions with outstanding exhibitions and regular living history events.
1 Interpretive Center Way, Elko, NV 89801
775-738-1849 • CaliforniaTrailCenter.org
Carson City Historic District
Named after famed Westerner Kit Carson by the city’s founder Abraham V.Z. Curry in 1858, Carson City quickly became a crossroads of emigrants, prospectors, soldiers and entrepreneurs following the California Trail. Chosen as the territorial capital city in 1861, Carson City has one of the most extensive historic districts, including the Capitol grounds, Nevada State Railroad Museum and Nevada State Museum in the former U.S. Mint, and a neighborhood of the Silver State’s 19th-century homes, which visitors can enjoy by taking the self-guided Blue Line Trail. Day trips from Carson City should include visits to Nevada’s oldest settlement, Genoa, and the historic town of Dayton.
775-577-2345 • VisitCarsonCity.com
Fort Churchill State Historic Park
When settlement expanded in Nevada in the late 1850s, the Army built a series of forts across the Central Overland Route in the territory to protect settlers, mail carriers, freight trains and emigrants traveling the new central route across the Great Basin. Fort Churchill State Historic Park has an excellent walking tour of the ruins of the fort, which was posted with troops from 1860 to 1869.
Silver Springs, NV 89429
775-577-2345 • Parks.NV.gov
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
In the shadow of the neon lights and towering casinos of the Las Vegas Strip stands Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, an Old West living history center dedicated to the Mormon missionaries’ community built in 1855. While the first American settlement at Vegas Springs only lasted until 1857, the settlement left behind became the humble beginnings of the internationally famous desert city.
500 E Washington Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-486-3511 • Parks.NV.gov
Tonapah Historic Mining Park
Interested in Old West mining history? Take a slow drive from Las Vegas to the Tonapah Historic Mining Park on U.S. 95 and plan on numerous stops at the ghost towns of Rhyolite near Beatty, Gold Point near Lida, and Goldfield and Belmont outside of Tonapah. In addition to the mining park, Tonapah also has a walking tour of its historic buildings.
110 Burro Ave, Tonopah, NV 89049
775-482-9274 • TonapahHistoricMiningPark.com
In the desert hills between Reno and Carson City, one of the richest silver strikes in U.S. history, the Comstock Lode, rocketed Nevada from territory to statehood. Today, Virginia City is a virtual Victorian-era heritage center, with numerous historic sites, museums and buildings. Don’t miss the Storey County Courthouse, Piper Opera House, Virginia & Truckee Railroad, the Comstock Mill, Ponderosa Mine Tour, Mark Twain Museum and the Comstock Fire Museum. A great way to see the historic mining camp is aboard the Virginia City Trolley tour.
775-847-1114 • VirginiaCityNV.com
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
After visiting the historic mining community of Ely, Nevada, located on U.S. 50 (“the loneliest road in America”), including an excursion on the historic passenger trains of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, travel southeast to a unique site from Nevada’s storied mining history—the Ward Charcoal Ovens. The thirty-foot-high kilns were built to support the smelting operations of lead in the long-gone mining town of Ward.
Ely, NV 89315
775-289-1693 • Parks.NV.gov
A tribal fishing center and crossroads of the Columbia River history for centuries, The Dalles developed as an American community at the terminus of the Oregon Trail and launching point for emigrant rafting parties down the river to the Willamette River Valley. While an alternate overland route was built over the Blue Mountains and around Mt. Hood to Oregon City, The Dalles remained an important economic and transportation hub. Today, visitors should begin their visit at Fort Dalles and then tour the world-class Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center.
404 W. 2nd St, The Dalles, OR 97058 • 541-296-2231
Fort Clatsop National Memorial
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park has sites on both sides of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington as it nears the Pacific Ocean, including Fort Clatsop National Memorial, the winter encampment of the Corps of Discovery. The centerpiece of Fort Clatsop, just south of the historic port city Astoria, is the replica of the fort that is supported by a very active ranger program with period-costumed presentations throughout the summer and a visitors center.
92343 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103
503- 861-2471 • NPS.gov
Fort Stevens State Park
At the mouth of the Columbia River, a visitor to Fort Stevens State Park can watch the modern ships ply the Columbia River Bar, one of the most treacherous navigations that has claimed over 2,000 ships, earning it the moniker “graveyard of the Pacific.” Because it was an active fort from the Civil War through World War II, a tour of the park’s historic sites reveals Fort Stevens’ nearly 90 years of history. After a tour of the park, visit Astoria’s Columbia River Maritime Museum to learn about the dramatic history of sailing and shipping on the Columbia River.
100 Peter Iredale Rd, Hammond, OR 97121
503-861-3170 • OregonStateParks.org/CRMM.org
Historic Oregon City
Oregon City welcomes visitors to its historic park, educational history center and museum, like it welcomed the trail-weary Oregon Trail travelers who survived the transcontinental trip and the final leg—the descent over the Cascade Range past Mt. Hood into the Willamette Valley. Tour the Visitor Center, End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, the Country Store and the Heritage Garden. While in Oregon City, plan on extra time to visit the historic Barclay, McLoughlin and Holmes Houses, and tour downtown.
1726 Washington St, Oregon City, OR 97405
503-657-9336 • HistoricOregonCity.org/NPS.gov
Oregon Trail National Trail Center
Near Baker City, the Bureau of Land Management’s Oregon Trail National Trail Center is dedicated to interpreting history through exhibits and ranger-led programs, many in period costume, explaining the history and experiences of the thousands of emigrants who made the overland journey across the country on the Oregon Trail.
22267 OR-86, Baker City, OR 97814
541-523-1843 • OregonTrail.BLM.gov
Pendleton is world famous for the Pendleton Round-Up, a rodeo equally known for its action in the arena as well as its dedication to the local Indian cultures and American settlement history of the Umatilla River Valley. Visitors will enjoy touring the Pendleton Woolen Mills, Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame Museum, Heritage Station Museum and Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. Before leaving town, don’t miss Hamley’s & Co., a famous saddle and Western wear shop downtown, in business since 1883.
501 S. Main, Pendleton, OR 97801
541-276-7411 • TravelPendleton.com
The oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest and second-oldest west of the Mississippi, the Pioneer Courthouse in Pioneer Square in Portland was started in 1869. Just down the street is the Oregon Historical Society Museum, with the most comprehensive exhibits on the heritage, history and diverse cultures that have defined Oregon history.
700 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
503-833-5300 • PioneerCourthouse.org
Cape Disappointment State Park
On Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River across from Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon, Cape Disappointment State Park is a beautiful place to walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Take a tour of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and learn about their expedition and local Native culture. Also, don’t miss a hike out to the North Head Lighthouse, built in 1897-’98, that is still aiding ships navigating the Columbia River Bar.
244 Robert Gray Dr, Ilwaco, WA 98624
360-642-3078 • Parks.WA.gov
Fort Columbia State Historical Park
East of Cape Disappointment and part of the national and state park consortium of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Columbia State Historical Park at the Chinook Point Historical Landmark was a U.S. Army Coastal Artillery fort from 1896 to 1947. Visitors will enjoy touring the historic officer’s house, the observation station and an interpretive center.
612 E. Reserve St, Vancouver, WA 98661
360- 816-6230 • Parks.WA.gov
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington, is a significant British and American outpost in the Northwest. The English Hudson Bay Company built the fort in 1824 and until the 1840s it was the largest European community on the West Coast. The U.S. Army occupied the fort in 1849 and until 2011 maintained an Army Reserve and Washington National Guard unit at the base. Visitors will enjoy the museum and living history programs, which tell the fascinating story of the fur trade and settlement of the Northwest.
612 E. Reserve St, Vancouver, WA 98661
360-816-6230 • Northwest. NPS.gov
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
The Seattle unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park complements the park’s sites in Skagway, Alaska, in interpreting the 1898 gold rush that was the greatest mineral bonanza on the West Coast since the California Gold Rush of 1849. The park’s visitors center, located within the Pioneer Square National Historic District in downtown Seattle, has a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions interpreting the history of the stampede to the Klondike, as well as walking tours, and living history programs.
319 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 • 206-220-4240 • NPS.gov
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Located in Puget Sound, San Juan Island National Historical Park interprets the conflict that almost drew Great Britain and the United States into war over the death of a pig in 1859. The American Camp Visitor Center and the English Camp Visitor Center provide historical interpretation of the history of the island and the international dispute over the San Juan Islands.
4668 Cattle Point Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-2240 • NPS.gov
Steptoe Battlefield State Park
The Steptoe Battlefield State Park commemorates a May 1858 battle between Colonel Edward Steptoe’s U.S. troops and a combined force of Spokane, Palouse, Coeur d’Alene, and Yakama tribes. The 160 soldiers, on a march from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Colville, were surprised by the Indians and forced to retreat through a series of skirmishes, barely escaping. The four-acre park near Rosalia has a monument to the battle and interpretive signs telling the story of the conflict.
S. Summit Loop, Rosalia, WA 99170
509-337-6457 • Parks.WA.gov
Whitman Mission National Historic Site
The Whitman Mission National Historic Site preserves and interprets the location of a significant settlement and event in U.S. Western history. One of Oregon Territory’s first emigrant parties from the Eastern United States were Methodist missionaries Dr. Marcus and Mrs. Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, who arrived in 1836. The Whitmans’ Mission was the site of the Whitman Massacre in 1847, a controversial event that dramatically changed the course of history in the American Northwest between settlers and local tribes. After touring the mission grounds, take a short drive to Walla Walla and tour Fort Walla Walla Museum for interactive exhibits and living history programs on the fort and region’s history.
328 Whitman Mission Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362
509-522-6360 • NPS.gov/FWWM.org
THE DESERT SOUTHWEST
Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
From the Grand Canyon to the Texas Gulf Coast, from the Rio Grande River Valley to Oklahoma’s endless grasslands, the Desert Southwest Region is a land of sky islands, spectacular canyon lands, plains and prairies, unforgiving deserts and rugged mountains. The natural beauty, vast distances, and diversity of cultures in the regions will inspire the visitor to gain a greater understanding of how the aridity of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts has influenced the Indian, Hispanic and American settlement of the region. The Desert Southwest Region is home to many of the nations’ most recognizable geologic landmarks, ancient pueblos, monuments and historic sites, but also some of its oldest Indian and Hispanic communities. Visitors to the four states will quickly find themselves on the trails of conquistadores and explorers, cowboys and cavalry, and walking in the footsteps of ancient peoples, Indian nations, homesteaders and prospectors.
Battle of Big Dry Wash Site
In July 1882, the last bloody battle between Army regulars and the Apache tribe took place north of Payson and is commemorated by a marker built in the 1930s by the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps. To visit the battle site from Payson, drive north on Highway 87 through Pine and Strawberry to the Rim Road, Forest Road 300. Turn right and drive east to the Battle of Big Dry Wash Historical Marker near General Springs.
Battle of Big Dry Wash Site, Payson, AZ
928-472-5110 • RimCountryMuseums.com
Camp Verde State Historic Park
Founded in 1865, Camp Verde State Historic Park is a living history center that commemorates and honors the history of the Army and the conflict with the Yavapai and Western Apaches during the American settlement of Central Arizona.
125 E Hollamon St, Camp Verde, AZ 86322
928-567-3275 • AZStateParks.com
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Located in the heart of the Navajo Reservation, Canyon de Chelly National Monument is home to the traditional clans who have lived in the specatacular canyon for generations. Tour the national monument, above and below the canyon, with special guided tours of the park, and learn about the Canyon’s importance to Navajo culture, and the tragic years during the tribe’s incarceration at Bosque Redondo in New Mexico.
Fort Apache Historic Park
A key outpost during the U.S. Army’s conflict with the Apaches from the 1860s to the 1880s, today the White Mountain Apache Tribe, with assistance from the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation, maintains The Fort Apache and Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Landmark. With historical and cultural exhibitions on tribal history, plus a museum shop the Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints) Museum is open six days a week, and on Sundays May through September.
127 Scout St, Fort Apache, AZ 85926
928-338-1392 • FortApacheArizona.org
Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Located at Apache Springs near the national stageroad in the heart of Chiricahua territory, Fort Bowie National Historic Site can be reached by a short hike across the Butterfield Trail, past the spring and through the desert hills to a well-maintained set of the fort’s ruins and a historic cemetery.
3500 South Apache Pass Rd, Bowie, AZ 85605
520-847-2500 • NPS.gov
Founded in 1863, Fort Whipple was one of the army’s earliest outposts in central and northern Arizona during the American post-Civil War settlement of the Grand Canyon state. Gen. George Crook built the Crook Trail from Whipple to Fort Apache during the Yavapai War. Today, a historic museum is maintained in a 1909 Officer’s home on the post’s grounds, which today is a V.A. Hospital for northern Arizona.
AZ-89, Prescott, AZ 86303 • Sharlot.org
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is the traditional home and a sacred site to the Havasupai, Hualapai, Navajo, Hopi and Paiute Indians of northern Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim visitors center receives 5 million visitors annually. Don’t miss the exhibition on John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Grand Canyon and his epic 1869 river run on the Green-Colorado.
PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
928-638-7888 • NPS.gov
Founded in 1881 by the Santa Fe Railway, Holbrook quickly gained a reputation as one of the toughest towns in the Southwest. As the headquarters of the infamous Aztec Land & Cattle Company, aka the Hashknife Outfit, a walking/driving tour of the historic town once patrolled by legendary lawman Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens starts at the Historic Navajo County Courthouse.
928-524-6558 • CI.Holbrook.US.az
Picacho Peak State Historic Park
Just off Interstate 10, west of Casa Grande, the picturesque Picacho Peak can be seen for miles in every direction, a landmark for generations of travelers and the site of the Western most battle of the Civil War on April 15, 1862. Every March re-enactors gather and entertain thousands with a re-enactment of three battles: Picacho Peak, Glorieta and Val Verde, the latter two fought in New Mexico.
Picacho, AZ 85141 • 520-466-3183 • AZStateParks.com
The historic and picturesque territorial capital of Arizona, Prescott is the perfect town in which to take a walk through state history. Start at Sharlot Hall, the living history center with numerous historic buildings, including the Territorial Governor’s Home, and walk down Gurley to Prescott’s historic Courthouse Square, where Solon Borglum’s Rough Riders bronze greets visitors to the park. Across the street take a walk down Montezuma, known as Whiskey Row, and visit the historic Palace Saloon.
928-445-2000 • Prescott.org
The centerpiece historical site in downtown Bisbee is Phelps Dodge’s Queen Mine, one of the richest mineral bonanzas in state history. Retired miners lead the underground tours that take visitors on trams deep into the copper mine. After touring the mine, don’t miss an opportunity to walk through Bisbee’s historic district, including a tour of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, and the legendary Copper Queen Hotel.
478 N Dart Rd, Bisbee, AZ 85603
520-432-2071 • QueenMineTour.com/DiscoverBisbee.com
Texas John Slaughter was a legendary lawman and rancher in southeastern Arizona during and after the Apache Wars and Earp-Cowboy feuds in Cochise County in the late 19th century. Today his San Bernardino Ranch is home to the Johnson Historical Museum of Southern Arizona and adjacent to the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.
6153 Geronimo Trail, Douglas, AZ 85607
520-678-7596 • SlaughterRanch.com
“The town to tough to die,” Tombstone is Arizona’s most infamous territorial mining camp and is known internationally for the Earp-Clanton gunfight behind the O.K. Corral. Tour the Tombstone County Courthouse State Historic Park, take a walk through Boothill Graveyard, and park at one end of Allen Street and walk into history. Don’t miss visiting in the National Historic District Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, the Crystal Palace, C.S. Fly’s, O.K. Corral, the Bird Cage Saloon, Rose Tree Museum, Good Enough Mine Underground Tour and the Tombstone Epitaph Museum
888-457-3929 • TombstoneChamber.com
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
Long before the British, the Spanish Empire extended its power around the globe including to North America’s Southwest including Arizona’s Santa Cruz River Valley. In 1752, the Spanish crown built Presidio San Agnacio de Tubac, the first permanent European community in Arizona. Don’t miss an opportunity to hike on the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail: the state park is a trailhead for the 4.5-mile segment to that leads to Tumacacori National Historical Park.
1 Burruel St, Tubac, AZ 85646
520-398-2252 • AZStateParks.com/NPS.gov
Warren Earp’s Grave
Warren Earp, the youngest brother of Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan, is buried in the Willcox Cemetery not too far from where he was gun downed by Johnny Boyette in Brown’s Saloon in 1900. After paying your respects at Warren’s monument, enjoy a visit to a museum dedicated to Cochise County’s very own, Rex Allen, at the Rex Allen “Arizona Cowboy” Museum & Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame.
454 N. 3rd St., Willcox, AZ
Near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers, the U.S. Army built a post at the strategic crossing of the Colorado. Today the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park provides a window into early territorial settlement, steamboat military, railroad and mining history. Across the highway from the depot is the notorious Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, once one of the most feared prisons in the Old West.
201 N 4th Ave, Yuma, AZ 85364
928-783-0071 • VisitYuma.com
Battle of Glorieta Pass, Pecos National Historical Park
A separate unit from the main visitor center of Pecos National Historical Park, the Battle of Glorieta Pass commemorates the key battle between New Mexico forces and the Confederate army that had been attempting to secure Southern control over the Southwest. To walk the park’s 2.35-mile Glorieta Battlefield hiking trail, ask the rangers at the Pecos National Historical Park visitor center to provide you the gate code and a map.
NM-63, Pecos, NM 87552 • NPS.gov
El Morro National Monument
For centuries travelers across New Mexico would cite El Morro as a key landmark on their trail north and south from the Pueblo communities along the Rio Grande and New Spain’s settlements in Mexico. Many who paused and rested at the butte’s watering hole and carved their name into its sandstone face. With over 2,000 documented inscriptions, El Morro’s importance from ancient times to the present is documented at the monument’s visitor center and along the Inscription Trail to Inscription Rock, and the Headland Trail to Atsinna, the 875-room pueblo ruin atop El Morro.
Ice Caves Rd, Grants, NM 87020
505-783-4226 • NPS.gov
Fort Bayard National Historic Landmark
Built in the territory of New Mexico east of Silver City in 1866, Fort Bayard was an army camp until 1900 when it became a military hospital. Adjacent to the former hospital (closed in 2010) is the Fort Bayard National Cemetery, opened in 1866, and operated by the Veteran’s Administration. The museum is open every Monday, April through September and by appointment only October through March.
3rd St & D Ave, Fort Bayard, NM •
575-956-3294 • FortBayard.org/SilverCityTourism.org
Fort Selden Historic Site
Built in 1865 along the Rio Grande River in the Mesilla Valley, Fort Selden was an important army post in the Southwestern Apache wars until its closure in 1891. Fort Selden Historic Site is just ten miles north of Las Cruces, where visitors can tour the visitor center, walk through the adobe ruins and enjoy occasional living history events with re-enactors in period dress on weekends during the summer.
1233 Fort Selden Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88007
575-647-9585 • NMHistoricsites.org
Fort Stanton Historic Site
Built in 1855, Fort Stanton was a key territorial outpost in the army’s war with the Mescalero Apache tribe until its closure in 1896. The fort’s soldiers were also called into service during local conflicts, including the Lincoln County War between Billy the Kid and his Regulators fighting for the Tunstall-McSween faction and the Murphy-Dolan faction. Just ten miles from Lincoln, visitors should start their tour at the one Fort Stanton Museum before taking a walking tour of the 240-acre site, which has 88 historic buildings.
104 Kit Carson Rd, Fort Stanton, NM 88323
575-354-0341 • NMHistoricsites.org
Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial
During the Civil War, the U.S. fought a war with the Navajo people that led to the tribe’s defeat and long walk to incarceration adjacent to Fort Sumner at the Bosque Redondo Reservation. The miserable location for the 8,500 Navajos led the tribe to negotiate a peace settlement that allowed the tribe to return with sovereignty to their traditional lands in the Four Corners region. Over 500 Mescalero Apaches who had also been incarcerated at Bosque Redondo fled the reservation in 1865. Visitors should tour the museum and walk the Old Fort Site and River Walk trails. The outlaw Billy the Kid was killed in the town of Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881, and is buried in the village cemetery.
707 N 4th St, Fort Sumner, NM 88119
575-355-7705 • NMHistoricsites.org
Fort Union National Monument
One of the most significant U.S. army posts in eastern New Mexico, Fort Union National Monument preserves, protects and interprets the history of the camp that was built at the crossroads of the Santa Fe Trail’s Mountain and Cimarron Cut-off trails. Re-enactors hold regular events at the monument and visitors will enjoy the many tours of the grounds and the fort’s well-preserved ruins.
Nm-161, Ocate, NM 87734
505-425-8025 • NPS.gov
Kit Carson Home and Museum
Located in the center of Taos, Kit Carson’s family adobe has been preserved as a museum that interprets his dramatic—and controversial—life as a mountain man, explorer, trailblazer, soldier and family man.
113 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, NM 87571
575-758-4945 • KitCarsonMuseum.org
In the annals of Western U.S. history, the humble town of Lincoln’s notorious past is synonymous with the violence that plagued the West, and especially the New Mexico Territory after the Civil War. The historic buildings in the center of town are managed, interpreted and preserved as a New Mexico Historic Site. Visitors can walk the streets of Lincoln and stride in the footsteps of the Regulators, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, John Tunstall, Alexander McSween, Lawrence G. Murphy and James J. Dolan. Stay the weekend at the Dolan House, Ellis Store or Wortley Hotel. Tour the 17 historic structures, (call ahead for scheduled openings), including the Old Lincoln County Courthouse, the Tunstall Store, Montaño store, the 1850s stone Torreon, San Juan Mission Church and the Anderson-Freeman Museum. Old Lincoln Days are held every August and reenactors entertain tourists with some of the most infamous moments of the Lincoln County War, including Billy’s dramatic escape from the Lincoln County Jail.
Highway 380 Mm 97.5, Lincoln,, NM 88338
575 653-4025 • NMHistoricsites.org
Founded in 1848, Mesilla is one of the oldest settlements on the southern Rio Grande River Valley in New Mexico and was an important crossroads for territorial trade and travel on the El Camino Real and Southern Overland Route of the Butterfield Stage Line. Mesilla’s historic plaza is where U.S. troops from Fort Fillmore raised the American flag after the conclusion of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. The short-lived capital of the Confederacy in New Mexico during the Civil War, in the 1870s and 1880s Mesilla’s popular saloons and dance halls for law-abiding citizens and outlaws, including Billy the Kid. Visitors should tour the historic plaza (the Kid was tried and sentenced to die in the historic building that is home to the modern Billy the Kid Giftshop), the local Gadsden Museum and the New Mexico Ranch & Farm Museum in nearby Las Cruces.
2231 Avenida de Mesilla, Mesilla, NM 88046
575-524 3262 • OldMesilla.org
Palace of the Governors
Built of adobe in the early 1600s as New Spain’s seat of government in New Mexico, today it is the state’s preeminent museum and archives of the city, state and region’s history. A Registered National Historic Landmark and American Treasure, the Palace of the Governors is the oldest occupied public building in the United States. The New Mexico History Museum opened next door to the Palace on Santa Fe’s Historic Plaza in 2009 and is dedicated to the ancient multi-cultural history of the Land of Enchantment state.
105 W Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
505-476-5100 • PalaceOfTheGovernors.org/NMHistoryMuseum.org
Pat Garrett Murder Site Historical Marker
Sheriff Pat Garrett became famous for his killing of Billy the Kid, but along the way the notorious and controversial lawman made many enemies in many powerful moneyed circles in the territory of New Mexico. One morning, Garrett’s life ended violently, much like he lived his own, and a marker commemorates his assassination in Dona Ana County.
Jornada Rd & I-70 Service Rd., Las Cruces, NM
St. James Hotel
In Cimarron, the historic St. James Hotel bears the bullet holes in its ceiling as evidence of its Wild West past as a Lambert’s Saloon before the proprietors expanded it into a popular hotel. Many well-known Westerners traveling along the Santa Fe Railway stopped for the night, including Buffalo Bill Cody, who was a friend of the owners—French chef Henri Lambert and his wife, Mary. Today, the historic hotel welcomes guests to enjoy the vintage, well-appointed rooms and a meal and drink at the restaurant and saloon.
617 S. Collison Cimarron, NM 87714
575-376-2664 • ExStJames.com
Village of Columbus/Camp Furlong
On March 9, 1916, Mexican revolutionary Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa led a raid into the United States across the border into the Village of Columbus and past the troops stationed at Camp Furlong. With nearly 500 Villistas riding hard wantonly through the town, the revolutionaries set fire to downtown before suffering dozens of losses. Today, the only attack on U.S. soil by foreign invaders until 9/11 is remembered at Pancho Villa State Park, the former Camp Furlong from which Gen. Jack Pershing led 10,000 soldiers into Mexico in search of Villa.
224 Lima Ave, Columbus, NM 88029
575-531-0046 • ColumbusNewMexico.com
101 Ranch Memorial
The internationally renowned Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch Wild West Show, billed as “The Greatest Show of the West,” toured the world from 1905 to 1939. During the Miller Brothers heyday, the Oklahoma family empire included vast land holdings, oil wells and international fame. The 101 Ranch Old Timers Association owns 72 acres of the original ranch site and in 1996 opened the public picnic area. Visit the E.W. Marland’s Grand Home Museum in Ponca City to see the official 101 Ranch Collection and 101 Ranch Old Timers Association Museum. Visit Ponca City in June to experience the annual celebration since 1960 of the great 101 Ranch Wild West Show at the 101 Ranch Rodeo.
On SH 156, 13 miles SW of Ponca City
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
In Duncan, Oklahoma, The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is located north of the Red River along the historic Chisholm Trail. An interactive museum with regularly scheduled events activities inside the exhibit hall and outside on the museum’s grounds, the centerpiece of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is the Garis Gallery of the American West. In addition to the museum’s extraordinary Western art collection, visitors will enjoy both permanent and temporary exhibitions that celebrate the history and culture of the Chisholm Trail, American cowboy and the West. When walking the museum grounds, don’t miss Paul Moore’s On the Chisholm Trail bronze that greets visitors at the entrance to the Heritage Center.
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway Duncan, OK 73533
580-252-6692 • OnTheChisholmTrail.com
Fort Gibson Historic Site
A national historic landmark, Fort Gibson dates to 1824 when the U.S. army began exploring the region. A key post during the Indian Removal era it was closed in 1857. After the Civil War started the fort was reoccupied and became a key military outpost until 1890. Tours should start at the Commissary Visitor Center on Garrison Hill and proceed through the reconstructed log fort, and historic buildings constructed between the 1840s and 1870s. Visitors also enjoy reenactors leading living history programs and events during the year.
110 E Ash Ave, Fort Gibson, OK 74434
918-478-4088 • OKHistory.org
Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum
One of the most significant historical military museums in Old West history, the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum is dedicated to the interpretation of nearly a century of American and Indian history in the region, including the post-Civil War engagements with the Southern Plains tribes. Fort Sill was enlarged in 1894 when the Chiricahua Indians imprisoned for nearly a decade in Florida and Alabama were moved permanently to a reservation at the military base. The interactive history facility boasts 38 buildings and curates over 235,000 objects at the 142-acre Historic Landmark. The museum is completely dedicated to its historic era, while the US Army Field Artillery Museum has been a separate institution since 2008.
437 Quanah Rd, Fort Sill, OK 73503 • 918-478-4088
580-442-5123 • Sill-WWW.Army.mil
Fort Supply Historic Site
Founded out of necessity during the winter of 1868 to support the army’s war with the Southern Plains tribes in Western Oklahoma, Fort Supply was a key outpost in the Indian Territory for 25 years until its closure in 1894. Today, five original buildings including the 1875 and a replica of the 1868 stockade can be toured at the site. Visitors should start at the restored and furnished 1892 brick guardhouse, which houses Fort Supply’s exhibitions.
1 William S Key Blvd, Fort Supply, OK 73841
580-256-6136 • OKHistory.org
Fort Towson Historic Site
Built in 1824 to protect early settler in the Arkansas Territory, Fort Towson was a key border outpost between Mexico and the United States prior to the Texas Revolution. The Choctaw and Chickasaw encamped at the fort before settlement in the Indian Territory, U.S forces prepared for war against Mexico at the fort in 1846 before it was closed in 1856. The Confederate army had its headquarters at the abandoned fort and in 1865 the final Southern surrender, by Gen. Stand Watie, occurred at Fort Towson. Visitors can tour the Suttler’s Store, 18 interpretive sites on a walking tour, and enjoy regularly scheduled living history demonstrations throughout the year at the site of the historic fort.
896 N 4375 Rd, Fort Towson, OK 74735
580-873-2634 • OKHistory.org
Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site
North of Checotah and adjacent to Rentiesville, the Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site commemorates and honors the largest of 107 engagements in the Indian Territory during the Civil War. Visitors can walk six different trails across the 1,100-acre park and learn about the Battle of Honey Springs on July 17, 1863 at 55 interpretive sites. The Union’s decisive defeat of the Confederate forces has earned the battle the nickname “Gettysburg of the Indian Territory.” A new visitor center is under construction in Rentiesville.
101601 South 4232 Road Checotah, OK 74426
918-473-5572 • OKHistory.org
National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum
Founded in 1955 in Oklahoma’s capital city, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the preeminent museums in the United States dedicated to the cultural history and heritage of the American West. Annually more than 10 million visitors tour its Western art galleries, Old West and American Indian history galleries, and its three hall of fames: Hall of Great Westerners, Hall of Great Western Performers and Rodeo Hall of Fame.
1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111
405-478-2250 • NationalCowboyMuseum.org
Oklahoma Territorial Museum
In Guthrie, the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library is the centerpiece of the historic downtown district that honors and celebrates the Oklahoma’s transformation from Indian Territory to statehood that began with the 1889 land run. The downtown district is on the Register of Historic Places and is the largest contiguous urban historic district in the country. Begin your tour of the Guthrie Museum Complex in the museum at the territorial and first state capital building before taking a walking tour of the historic city.
406 E Oklahoma Ave, Guthrie, OK 73044
405-282-1889 • OKTerritorialMuseum.org
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
The Lt. Col. George A. Custer led U.S. 7th Cavalry surprise attack at dawn on the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on November 27, 1868 is commemorated at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. Follow the 1.5 mile trail from the overlook to the site of Black Kettle’s village and learn about the tragic conflict between the U.S. and the Southern Plains Indian tribes.
426 E. Broadway Cheyenne, Oklahoma 73628
580-497-2742 • NPS.gov
Internationally the most recognized historical site in the state of Texas, the Alamo is a Shrine of Texas Liberty and those who tour its sacred grounds should revere it as hallowed ground. Built originally by Spanish pioneers in 1718, the Mission San Antonio de Valero was abandoned in the 1790s. By 1836 and the Texas War of Independence the mission was known best by its nickname “El Alamo” renamed by Spanish soldiers in the early 1800s. Visitors to the Alamo will enjoy the various tour opportunities of the mission and battlefield site, history talks, audio tours, regularly scheduled special events and the unique Phil Collins Collection of Alamo and Texas history.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
210-225-1391 • TheAlamo.org
Take a walk back into time in El Paso’s historic Concordia Cemetery, the eternal resting place for the famous and infamous, valiant and brave, humble and unknown. El Pasoans have buried their dead in the graveyard since the first soul was interred in the 1840s. Managed by the Concordia Heritage Association to protect, preserve and maintain the historic cemetery, visitors can walk its grounds and see outlaw John Wesley Hardin’s grave as well as John Selman’s, the lawman who put Hardin in Concordia. Don’t miss the special section dedicated to Buffalo Soldiers, the graves of Texas Rangers, Civil War veterans and the innumerable headstones of El Paso’s citizenry forgotten with time.
3700 E. Yandell Dr., El Paso, TX 79903
915-842-8200 • ConcordiaCemetery.org
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
An ancient dome of granite in Texas’s Hill Country, Enchanted Rock has been a landmark to the peoples of the region for thousands of years. Protected in a state natural area, the landmark 425-fott pink granite outcropping, has over 400 archeological sites, and held sacred by many tribes. Enchanted Rock was the site of a famous shootout between Texas Ranger Capt. Jack Hays and a band of Comanches in 1841. Today, visitors can hike its trails, explore the granite dome and star gaze, all the while considering why the local Tonkawa believed the granite dome was the “Glowing, singing rock.”
16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
830-685-3636 • TPWD.State.Tx.gov
First Battle of Adobe Walls Site Historic Marker and Second Battle of Adobe Walls-Battle Ground Marker
Southern Plains pioneer and proprietor William Bent built an adobe trading post on Bent Creek north of the Canadian River in 1843. Five years after his initial log cabin, expanded into an adobe fort, was built, he closed and blew up his 80-square foot outpost because of Indian attacks. In November 1864 and then in June 1874, the ruins of Bent’s adobe fort became ingrained in Western history as the site of the First and Second Battle of Adobe Walls, respectively. Visit the Hutchison County Historical Museum in Borger to learn more about the local history, culture and the two Battles of Adobe Walls.
Borger COC • 613 N. Main, Borger, TX 79008
806-274-2211 • BorgerChamber.org
Fort Concho National Historic Landmark
Built in 1867 as a strategic U.S. Army outpost during the post-Civil War conflict with the Southern Plains tribes, Fort Concho served its purpose effectively until it was closed in 1889. The City of San Angelo operates the historic landmark, museum and preservation of 23 fort buildings. Walk in the footsteps of soldiers and their families who lived at the fort and tour Officers Row and Quarters, the Enlisted Men’s Barracks, Post Headquarters, Hospital, School House and Chapel. Fort Concho is also the site of numerous annual living history events including Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day in February and Fort Concho Frontier Day in April.
630 S. Oakes St., San Angelo, TX 76903
325-481-2646 • FortConcho.com
Fort Davis National Historic Site
From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis played a strategic military role in the settlement of West Texas and the protection of travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road. Today, Fort Davis National Historic Site is one of the best examples of frontier posts that played such a critical role in the Indian Wars with the Comanche, Apache and Kiowa in the American Southwest. Visitors can tour the fort’s restored and re-furnished buildings on a self-guided tour, and enjoy regular scheduled living history events with reenactors in period and military dress, including an annual Independence Day celebration.
101 Lt. Henry Flipper Dr., Fort Davis, TX 79734
432-426-3224 • NPS.gov
Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
From 1866 to 1890, Texas cowboys drove the cattle north to market, and in the early days, Fort Worth was a last stop before the trail boss headed his outfit and herd north across the Red River across Oklahoma to the rail heads in Kansas. After the railroad arrived in 1876, Fort Worth became a shipping station and the first stockyards were built. For the next seven decades, Fort Worth developed into the nation’s largest stockyard and livestock exchange in the nation. In the 1970s, with the steady decline in the cattle business and packing houses in the city, the Fort Worth Historical Society was created to preserve the historic district. Today, the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state (don’t miss the twice a day longhorn cattle drives), and cattle are still sold at the Livestock Exchange Building every week—via satellite.
131 E. Exchange Ave., Suite 110, Fort Worth, TX 76164
817-625-5082 • StockyardsMuseum.org
Goliad State Park & Goliad Historic Site
When visitors arrive at Goliad State Park they should be prepared to take a walk into Spanish Colonial, Mexican and Texan history. Tour a 1930s refurnished restoration of the Spanish Colonial Era Mission of Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga, the reconstructed birthplace of Mexican Cinco de Mayo hero General Ignacio Zaragoza, the Fannin Memorial Monument and the 1749 Presidio La Bahia, where Fannin and his men were executed under the orders of Mexican Gen. Santa Ana in 1836. The Fannin Battleground State Historic Site is ten miles east of Goliad, and well worth a tour, as is a walk through Goliad’s historic downtown.
108 Park Rd 6, Goliad, TX 77963
361-645-3405 • TPWD.State.Tx.gov
Historic Fort Stockton
First constructed in 1856 near present day Pecos, Camp Stockton was abandoned in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established at its current location and garrisoned with the 9th Cavalry, a newly created Black regiment. The fort was used to the tactical advantage of the Army in its fight with Southern Plains Indian tribes until it was closed in 1886. Historic Fort Stockton consists today of the parade ground, the Guard House, two reconstructed Enlisted Men’s Barracks and Kitchens, and three structures from the original Officers’ Row, two of which are open to the public.
301 E. 3rd St., Fort Stockton, TX 79735
432-336-2400 • HistoricFortStockton.org
Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
Home to ancient peoples long before the Spanish entrada into the region, modern Indian tribes found refuge, water and shelter amidst the tanks, as did succeeding generations of explorers, travelers, settlers, and event the Butterfield Overland Mail had a station in the late 1850s. A working ranch from the 1890s to the 1940s, the rancher’s adobe home is the park’s interpretive center today.
6900 Hueco Ranks Road No. 1., El Paso, TX 79938
915-857-1135 • TPWD.State.TX.us
Old Fort Parker Historic Site
Fort Parker bears the name of the family who suffered an Indian raid on May 19, 1836, that led to the kidnapping of nine-year-old Cynthia Parker. She would be raised as a Comanche and married to Chief Peta Nocona. Their son grew up to be the legendary Chief Quanah Parker, the last to lead the Comanche in war on the Southern Plains. Tour the restored fort, built in 1936 in honor of the Texas Centennial, adjacent to Fort Parker State Park.
866 Park Road 35, Park Rd., Groesbeck, TX 76642
254-729-5253 • OldFortParker.org
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Monument
In the lower Rio Grande Valley near the Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican-American War started on the prairie of Palo Alto when Mexican forces attacked Gen. Zachary Taylor’s army on May 8, 1846. Visitors to the Palo Alto Battlefield Historic Monument should begin their tour at the visitor center’s museum before walking interpretive trails to the battlefield site.
7200 Paredes Line Rd., Brownsville, TX 78526
956-541-2785 • NPS.gov
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
In the Panhandle of Texas, Paul Duro Canyon State Park, known as “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” protects one of the most unique natural and culturally important sites in the Lone Star state. Home to Native peoples for over 12,000 years, the Comanche and Kiowa occupied the canyon lands prior to the their wars with the U.S. in the 19th century. In 1874, the tribes suffered a major defeat in a battle at Palo Duro, and two years later famous cattle baron Charles Goodnight established his JA Ranch in the canyon. Events are held at the park every month, but for five decades Texas! Outdoor Musical held in the Pioneer Amphitheatre in the Canyon, June to Mid-August, is the highlight of the year.
11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015
806-488-2227 • TPWD.Texas.gov
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
A World Heritage Site since 2015 that includes the Alamo, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park protects, preserves and interprets Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada four of the most important 18th century Spanish Mission complexes in North America.
6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214
210-534-1540 • NPS.gov
San Elizario Historic District
Just east of El Paso, the San Elizario Historic District is a living history center that provides visitors with a window into 18th and 19th century life along the Rio Grande River in southwestern Texas. Founded in 1789, the town of San Elizario grew up in support of the Presidio San Elcear. Visit the city’s historic sites on a walking tour that includes the Presidio, Old City Jail, Memorial Placita, and Los Portales, home to the city’s museum and visitor center.
City of San Elizario: 12710 Church St, San Elizario, TX 79849
915-974-7037 • CityofSanElizario.com
San Jacinto Battle Monument
General Sam Houston’s decisive victory over Mexican leader General Santa Ana’s army on April 21, 1836 is honored and enshrined at the San Jacinto Battle Monument and Museum just 20 minutes outside of Houston. The 567.31 foot obelisk towers over the battlefield site with an observation tower at the top and the San Jacinto Museum in the base. Tour the museum’s exhibits and watch the film Texas Forever!!
1 Monument Cir, La Porte, TX 77571
281-479-2421 • TPWD.Texas.gov
Waco Suspension Bridge
Driving the longhorn herds north from southern Texas to Kansas, the range bosses and cowboy crews faced innumerable daily dangers, but pushing thousands of steers across rivers on the Chisholm trail led to many drownings of men and animals. The Brazos River in Waco was unpredictable, and the ferry crossing cumbersome for cattle drives. The city recognized an opportunity for the future and built a 475-foot suspension bridge, the first ever in Texas. Today, the Waco Suspension Bridge is pedestrian only, but Waco still holds its Independence Day celebration at the bridge and Indian Springs Park, the original town site.
Waco CVB: 106 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706
800-922-6386 • WacoHeartOfTexas.com
GREAT BASIN AND ROCKY MOUNTAINS
Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming
When William F. Cody died in Denver, Colorado, in 1917, they say he requested he be buried high on Lookout Mountain west of the city so that he could eternally see both the plains and mountains he loved. From Montana’s snow-covered peaks to the labyrinth of canyons in Southern Utah, from Wyoming’s Yellowstone country to Colorado’s Continental Divide, the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains region was home to numerous Indian tribes before Europeans arrived in search of furs. The abundant natural resources of the region drove the conquest and settlement of the four states through the 19th century—and even into the present. Travelers in search of the Old West in the region will discover why distance is relative to the time needed to cross over high mountain passes and sagebrush deserts on foot, horseback or wagon, by transcontinental train, or in a car driving on ribbons of historic highways under a seemingly endless blue sky.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Entrepreneurism and courage were the touchstones of William and Charles Bent who in 1833 built their trading post with their partner, Ceran St. Vrain, along the Santa Fe Trail on the north banks of the Arkansas River in the middle of Indian country. For 16 years, Bent’s Fort was the “castle of the plains,” and was the most important economic center between Kansas City and Santa Fe until it was abandoned in 1849. The fort was reconstructed for America’s bicentennial, and serves as one of the National Park’s most active living history centers.
35110 Colorado Hwy 194 East, La Junta, CO 81050
719-383-5010 • NPS.gov
Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum
In Golden, Colorado, high on Lookout Mountain is William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s final resting place. The Western showman died while visiting his sister in Denver in 1917. His wife, Louisa, was buried next to him four years later and that same year Cody’s friend Johnny Baker started the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum. Today the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is one of the most visited historic sights in Colorado, a true testament to the lasting importance of the beloved Western showman.
987½ Lookout Mountain Road Golden, CO 80401
303-526-0744 • BuffaloBill.org
Located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains on the banks of the Animas River in Southwest Colorado, Durango is home to the world-famous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Visitors who love Victorian inns will love staying at the Historic Strater Hotel in the downtown district before taking a round-trip ride into history on the narrow-gauge railroad to Silverton and back. The train runs year ’round, with special excursions in the heart of the winter.
802 Main St., Durango, CO 81302
800-463-8726 • Durango.org
Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center
Built in the heart of Colorado’s San Luis Valley in 1858, Fort Garland was an early outpost in the heart of the state when settlers began expanding their communities into the rich interior valleys. A key military outpost until 1883, Kit Carson was assigned command of the fort in 1866-’67 because of his knowledge of the region and relationship with the local Utes. Today’s visitors will enjoy the rich heritage preserved at the fort, including regularly scheduled re-enactments and living history events.
29477 CO-159, Fort Garland, CO 81133
719-379-3512 • HistoryColorado.org/MuseumTrail.org
Fort Vasquez Museum
In 1835, fur traders Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette built Fort Vasquez about 35 miles north of modern Denver. The adobe outpost was a busy site with many famous mountain men working for the frontier entrepreneurs. Near Platteville, the museum inside the re-created fort rebuilt in the 1930s has numerous displays and exhibits on the fur trade, mountain men, Plains Indians and frontier life.
13412 U.S. Highway 85, Platteville, CO 80651
970-785-2832 • HistoryColorado.org
Georgetown Loop Railroad & Mining Tours
The Silver Queen of the Rockies, historic Georgetown’s business district is an enjoyable and informative place to begin a tour of the mining town built on the silver boom of the 1880s. The Georgetown Loop Railroad & Mining Tours is an engineering marvel and provides today’s passengers views of the Clear Creek Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. For an additional fee, passengers may take a guided tour of one of three mines.
646 Loop Drive, Georgetown, CO 80444 • 888-456-6777
At 10,430 feet, historic Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States, is a mining boomtown built near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Abe Lee discovered gold in 1860, which was followed by a silver boom in the 1870s. Start your tour at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, then take the historic walking tour before boarding the popular vintage Leadville Train. Stay at the 1886 Delaware Hotel in Leadville’s historic district.
Leadville/Lake County Chamber: 809 Harrison Ave.,
Leadville, CO 80461 • 719-486-3900 • Leadville.com
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a solemn site. The park is dedicated to remembering, the tragic and unforgivable attack on Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope and Left Hand’s peaceful villages on November 29, 1864. Led by Col. John Chivington, 675 cavalrymen attacked at dawn, slaughtering 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children, warriors and the elderly. Visitors should plan to attend an interpretive program and take the short walk out to the monument and overlook.
CR 54 & CR W (Near Eads), CO 81036-0249
719-438-5916 • NPS.gov
Gold and silver were found in 1860, but miners didn’t return to the Animas River Canyon to seek their fortunes until after the Civil War. In 1874, the town of Silverton was laid out and the boom was on. In 1882, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached Silverton. At its height, over 2,000 called Silverton home, with more than 400 buildings, including 29 saloons. Today, historic Silverton is a popular tourist destination and the terminus of the internationally acclaimed Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
414 Greene St., Silverton, CO 81433
800-752-4494 • SilvertonColorado.com
Bannack State Park
When prospector John White found gold on Grasshopper Creek in 1862, the news of the discovery created a rush to Bannack, which in 1864 became the first Territorial capital of Montana. Mining remained an important industry in Bannack until the 1930s and in the 1950s Montana made the historic community a state park. Today visitors step back in time and can walk through most of the 60 historic structures. Don’t miss Bannack Days, held the third weekend every July, which celebrates the early decades of the Montana Territory.
4200 Bannack Road, Dillon, Montana 59725
406-834-3413 • Bannack.org
Bear Paw Battlefield
Commemorating the final battle of the Nez Perce War of 1877, Bear Paw Battlefield is the site of Chief Joseph’s famous statement, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” Begin your tour at the Blaine County Museum in Chinook, fifteen miles south of the battlefield. Call for hours of operation. Bear Paw Battlefield’s self-guided
1¼-mile moderately difficult interpretive trail is
open to the public every day during daylight hours.
Located 15 miles south of Chinook, MT on Highway 240
406-357-3130 • NPS.gov/BlaineCountyMuseum.com
Big Hole National Battlefield
Near Wisdom, Big Hole National Battlefield is a unit of the Nez Perce National Historical Park and one of the most significant sites of the Nez Perce War of 1877. An extensive museum in the visitor center displays rare artifacts and detailed exhibitions on the tragic results of the battle. Three self-guided trails take visitors onto the battlefield, to the village site, and up onto the ridgeline where Col. John Gibbon’s soldiers retreated and held out under duress from a Nez Perce siege while the tribe buried its dead and escaped.
16425 Hwy 43 W. Wisdom, MT 59761
406-689-3155 • NPS.gov
Fort Benton on the Missouri River is a crossroads of history. Visitors should stay awhile in the national historic landmark, the terminus of three major trails and a key stop on the Lewis & Clark and Nez Perce National Historic trails. Museum lovers will enjoy Historic Old Fort Benton, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, Museum of the Northern Great Plains, the Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center, the Historic District and Levee Walk, the Shep Memorial and the State of Montana’s Lewis & Clark Memorial.
U.S. Highway 87, forty miles northeast from Great Falls or seventy two miles South from Havre • 406-622-3864 • FortBenton.com
Upriver from Fort Benton, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail leads to Great Falls, a key stop for heritage travelers to view and tour the site of the Corps of Discovery’s portage of the five waterfalls on the Missouri River. Visitors should visit the C.M. Russell Museum, Giant Springs State Park and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and enjoy a short or long walk, run or bike ride on the 48-mile River’s Edge Trail.
1106 9th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405
406-771-1180 • GenuineMontana.com
Glacier National Park
Known as the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park was a traditional homeland to Native Blackfeet, Kootnei, Pend d’Oreillie and Salish tribes. With the Blackfeet controlling the region into the 1870s, American settlers were slow to homestead the area but with the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1891, homesteading and prospecting increased pressure on the natural beauty of the area. Tourism became a source of income, and with the rise of the national park movement, President William H. Taft made Glacier the tenth national park in 1910.
64 Grinnell Dr, West Glacier, MT 59936
406-888-7800 • NPS.gov
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
In American history, Little Bighorn remains one of most significant battles in the Republic’s history. Located on the Crow Agency, the June 25-26, 1876 battle between Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse’s Sioux and Cheyenne allies and Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s 7th Cavalry, led to the death of 263 soldiers, including Custer. Visitors will discover a solemnity that imbues the park, whether one is touring the national cemetery, the visitor center museum, along the walkways, the 1881 7th Cavalry Memorial, or the 2003 Indian Memorial. When touring the monument, ranger-led programs provide expert analysis on the battle, while a drive out to the Benteen-Reno Battlefield provides the visitor with a great view of the Little Bighorn River Valley. After touring the monument, don’t miss an opportunity to visit the Custer Battlefield Museum, in Garryowen, Montana, or a chance to stay the night at the fully restored, historic Sheridan Inn in Sheridan, Wyoming.
756 Battlefield Tour Rd, Crow Agency, MT 59022 406-638-3224 • NPS.gov/CusterMuseum.org/
In 1863, prospectors looking for the next bonanza beyond the claims covering the hills near Bannack discovered gold in Alder Gulch. Soon Virginia City was the latest Western boomtown that brought settlers deep into the Northern Plains. Within a year, 8,000 to 10,000 miners were living in the wild boomtown. Soon thereafter Virginia City was the territorial capital. Today, visitors can walk the historic streets of the Victorian mining town, tour numerous historic structures, be entertained by re-enactors, take a ride on train, and learn how Virginia City, Montana, changed the course of history in the West.
800-829-2969 • VirginiaCity.com
In 1879-’80 Mormon Pioneers built a 250-mile trail from Parowan to Bluff that remains symbolic of the determination of the missionaries and their loyalty to themselves and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Soon after the pioneers settled along the San Juan, they built Bluff Fort and moved the community members into cabins inside the fort to protect them from Indian attacks. Visitors can tour a replica of the fort, an original cabin, and replicas of other buildings, including the Co-op Store, which is the visitors center and gift shop.
550 Black Locust Ave, Bluff, UT 84512
435-672-9995 • BluffUtah.org/HIRF.org
Fort Douglas Military Museum
The army post was built in 1862 just east of Salt Lake City to guard the Central Overland Route. In the early years, soldiers at Camp Douglas played an important peacekeeping role in the region and served to protect the construction of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. The fort served the regular army until 1991, although the Army Reserve still maintains a 51-acre site. Today, visitors can enjoy the Fort Douglas Military Museum on the campus of the University of Utah.
32 Potter St, Salt Lake City, UT 84113
801-581-1251 • FortDouglas.org
Golden Spike National Historic Site
On May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads completed the engineering feat of the first transcontinental railroad in North America at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. Today, the Golden Spike National Historic Site protects, interprets and promotes the magnanimous moment with visitor center exhibitions and film, interpretive hiking and walking trails, and living history re-enactments, including a regular re-enactment of the meeting of the two steam locomotives Jupiter and No. 119 nose-to-nose, and the driving of the Golden Spike.
6450 N 22000th W, Corinne, UT 84307
435-471-2209 • NPS.gov
Goulding’s Trading Post
In the early 1920s, sheep trader Harry Goulding and his wife, Leone, known to all as “Mike,” came to Monument Valley and started a trading post. During the Depression, Harry and “Mike” went to Hollywood with photographs of their beautiful valley to drum up business for the impoverished area, and John Ford agreed it was perfect for his upcoming film, Stagecoach. Ever since, Monument Valley has been a favorite location for movie companies, and Goulding’s quickly became Ford’s headquarters in the picturesque valley. Today, visitors can stay in the lodge, tour the museum in the original trading post, and enjoy the spectacular views of Monument Valley known worldwide.
1000 Main Street Monument Vly, Monument Valley, UT 84536
435-727-3231 • Gouldings.com
The earliest Mormon settlers of Moab in the 1850s were driven out by Indian attacks. In 1878, a new wave of settlers restarted the community. The isolated, rural river town attracted its share of miscreants, including Harvey Alexander Logan, aka Kid Curry, who on May 26, 1900, went on a killing spree of revenge in Moab, killing Grand County Sheriff Jesse Tyler and Deputy Sam Jenkins. Tyler had killed his friend George “Flatnose” Curry (Logan’s adopted last name) and his brother, Larry Logan. Visitors should start their tour at the Museum of Moab before venturing out to drive three scenic byways and visit Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park.
217 Center St, Moab, UT 84532
435-259-5121 • DiscoverMoab.com
Meadow Mountains Massacre Site
The Meadow Mountains Massacre Site commemorates an attack on an Arkansas emigrant wagon train by Mormon settlers with local Paiute Indians. The local Latter-day Saints pioneers were suspicious of the federal government’s anti-Mormon policies, and on September 11, 1857, the Mormon militia attacked and killed 120 men, women and children of the Baker-Fancher wagon train. Seventeen children survived. The National Historic Landmark, is 40 minutes north of present-day St. George on State Highway 18.
Monument Valley became known internationally after Harry and Leone “Mike” Goulding convinced John Ford to make his movie Stagecoach amidst the valley’s beautiful buttes in 1938. Today, nearly 80 years later, Monument Valley is one of the most iconic sites in the American West. Visitors can stay at the Navajo Nation’s recently built View Lodge, in which every room has a balcony view of the sunrise over Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Tourists can take a 3.2-mile self-guided walking tour, a 17-mile scenic loop drive, or hire a Navajo guide for a personal tour through the park.
The valley lies within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation and is accessible from U.S. Highway 163 NavajoNationParks.org
Butch Cassidy’s gang found refuge in Utah Territory’s rugged Capitol Reef Country. North of Hanksville, visitors drive north on state highway 24 and follow the Robber’s Roost Trail, a 28-mile dirt road for ATV and ORV and four-wheel vehicles only. From the parking area, trails lead into historic sites in the back country, including Butch Cassidy’s cabin and camping area.
800-858-7951 • NPS.gov • CapitolReef.org
This is the Place Heritage Park
A living history village dedicated to the Mormon settlement in Utah, This is the Place Heritage Park commemorates where Brigham Young and his Church of Latter-day Saints pioneers viewed the Salt Lake Valley from the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains at the mouth of Emigrant Canyon. Young declared “this is the place,” and today the location is an interactive history center, where visitors can tour a Pioneer Village of restored and replicated 19th-century homes, buildings and businesses, an Indian Village and ride around the park on two miniature trains.
2601 Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
801-582-1847 • ThisIsThePlace.org
Visitors who walk the downtown district of Buffalo, Wyoming, should consider spending the night and dining at the Occidental Hotel, where Owen Wister may have written part of his famous novel, The Virginian. The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum’s exhibits chronicles local history, including the Johnson County War. Just outside town is the TA Ranch, a historic guest ranch that was the site of a major conflict during the cattle war. Don’t miss Longmire Days every July in celebration of writer Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery novel and television series set in Big Horn country.
55 N. Main St. Buffalo, WY 82834
800-227-5122 • BuffaloWyoming.org
Cody, Wyoming, is one of the preeminent Western destinations. Founded as a land venture to attract the railroad near the east entrance of Yellowstone, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody lent his name to the town. Begin your tour by checking into Cody’s Historic Irma Hotel (don’t miss the cheery wood bar given to Cody by Queen Victoria), named after his daughter, and then visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s complex of five museums, library and archive, the most significant Western history museum center in the United States. Schedule a couple of days to tour the Buffalo Bill History Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Draper Museum of Natural History and the Whitney Gallery of Western Art.
836 Sheridan Ave Cody, WY 82414
307-587- 2297 • CodyChamber.com
Fort Bridger State Historic Site
In 1843, mountain men Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez opened a trading post along the Oregon Trail. In the early 1850s, it became a Mormon outpost and then an army camp in 1858. Visitors can walk along the Oregon Trail at the site, tour restored and reconstructed historical buildings and the museum in the 1888 stone barracks. Every Labor Day Weekend, the annual Fort Bridger Rendezvous brings the park alive with an encampment of re-enactors.
37000 I80 Business Loop, Fort Bridger, WY 82933
307-782-3842 • WyoParks.State.WY.us
Fort Caspar Museum
Originally built in 1865 as Platte Bridge Station, the city of Casper manages the reconstructed fort as a living history museum. Adjacent to the North Platte River and the national emigrant trails, Fort Caspar was an army camp for just two years before the post was closed and the troops transferred to Fort Fetterman. Rebuilt by the WPA in the 1930s, visitors to the Fort should tour the museum and the fort’s well-furnished complex of historic army facilities and barracks.
200 N. David, Casper, WY 82601
307-234-3260 • FortCasparWyoming.com
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Established in 1834 to serve the transcontinental fur trade, Fort Laramie’s location on the North Platte River and the overland trail assured its role as a military fort, trading post and key stopping point for hundreds of thousands of emigrants traveling to the West. A strategic post during the Plains Indian Wars, Fort Laramie also was a station stop for the Pony Express and Overland Stage. Visitors to the who take the self-guided or guided tour will learn the importance of Fort Laramie to U.S. history until its closure in 1890.
965 Gray Rocks Rd, Fort Laramie, WY 82212
307-837-2221 • NPS.gov
Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site
In the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site commemorates the ill-fated 1866 fort built on the Bozeman Trail during the Red Cloud War. The fort was burned after the army abandoned it in 1868. Today, visitors can tour a replica of the fort and take a walking tour of interpretive sites about Red Cloud’s Indian force of Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne that wiped out Capt. William Fetterman’s entire command of 80 soldiers.
528 Wagon Box Rd,
Banner, WY 82832 307-684-7629
Historic Laramie Territorial Prison
Built in 1872, the Laramie Territorial Prison was the end of the road for outlaws and law breakers in the territory and state until 1903. Just one of three federally funded territorial prisons built in the West, the Laramie Prison has been restored and can be toured along with the warden’s quarters, the horse barn, prison industries broom factory, and a visitor center in a historic adobe house. A 1920s church and 1880s ranch buildings were moved to the site for preservation.
975 Snowy Range Rd, Laramie, WY 82070
307-745-3733 • WyomingTerritorialPrison.com
Forty miles southwest from Kaycee in the Big Horn Mountains, the legendary Hole-in-the-Wall outlaw hideaway is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Outlaws such as Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch Gang were known to ride through the “hole” in the red sandstone wall to escape from the law. The site is accessible only by primitive roads and a 2.5-mile cross-country hike. Always check with the field office for current conditions, a map and directions.
Interstate 25 south from Kaycee to the TTT Road exit. At TTT Road exit, drive south about 14 miles to Willow Creek Road (County Road 111). Take this road west for about 18 miles to a primitive two-track road which bears north. This is County Road 105. As you travel along County Road 105 there are a number of livestock gates • BLM.gov
South Pass City is one of the best preserved mining towns in the state. Gold Rush Days are held every July and celebrate the mineral rush that built the boomtown adjacent to the famous pass through the Rocky Mountains. Every Saturday at 11 a.m., guided walking tours are given through the ghost town with numerous restorations and demonstrations in progress. Prior to the 1867 gold rush, South Pass was best known as the key crossing point of the Continental Divide for emigrants and travelers on the Overland Trail.
Fremont County, Wyoming. T27N/R102W. The Buttes are visible from the BLM interpretive overlook for South Pass located about 47 miles southwest of Lander on State Route 28. SouthPassCity.com
Yellowstone National Park
The nation’s—and world’s—first national park, Yellowstone National Park was created on March 1, 1872 when President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law. Yellowstone is also one of the largest national parks, at 2,291,791 acres. The first rangers to patrol the park were members of a U.S. Cavalry troop, which in 1877 was called out to protect tourists from Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce warriors. Visit the Albright Visitor Center to learn about the role of the U.S. Cavalry at Yellowstone.
Mammoth St, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
NORTHERN PRAIRIE AND PLAINS
Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota
The Northern Prairies and Plains of the West are awe-inspiring in their natural beauty, endless vistas, rolling hills, dense forests and long, winding river valleys. Today, millions of acres of land are planted with grains that feed a world, where tens of millions of bison once roamed and nomadic Indian tribes followed with the seasons. From the legendary shores of Minnesota’s Lake Superior to the mystical Black Hills of South Dakota, from the banks of the Mississippi where William F. Cody was born in the Iowa Territory to the historic earthen lodge Indian villages of North Dakota, visitors to the Northern Prairie and Plains will discover a region rich in history, culture and heritage.
Buffalo Bill Museum
The Mississippi River town LeClaire has a rich Western heritage, including being the birthplace of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody on February 26, 1846. The Buffalo Bill Museum has a broad collection that celebrates the region’s history, and the LeClaire’s Famous Sons exhibit. After visiting LeClaire, take a short drive to tour the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead in Scott County.
200 N Cody Rd, Le Claire, IA 52753 • 563-289-5580 BuffaloBillMuseumLeClaire.com/ScottCountyIowa.Com
The Fort Museum & Frontier Village
In May 1850, a U.S. soldiers were sent from Minnesota to build a fort on the Des Moines River in Iowa. Fort Dodge was named in honor of Wisconsin Senator Col. Henry Dodge, who in 1833 had founded the 1st U.S. Dragoons. The fort was sold to the post sutler William Williams in 1853, who then platted out the town of Fort Dodge. The Fort Museum & Frontier Village is an interactive history center that honors the town’s role in the settlement of Iowa.
614 9th St, Fort Madison, IA 52627
515-573-4231 • FortMuseum.com
John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
On May 27, 1907, Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, the son of Clyde and Mary Brown Morrison. The Iowan from Madison County would grow up to be film star John Wayne. Today, the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum is a destination for the iconic Westerner’s fans worldwide. Tour the museum just off Winterset’s historic town square which was dedicated in 2015, his humble childhood home, and plan on attending the museum’s biggest annual event—the two-day John Wayne Birthday Celebration held every May.
205 John Wayne Dr, Winterset, IA 50273
877-462-1044 • JohnWayneBirthplace.museum
Golden Spike Monument
In 1862 Congress determined that the Union Pacific Railroad Company would start construction on the eastern shore of the Missouri River in Council Bluffs. In 1939, as a promotion for the film Union Pacific, the 56-foot Golden Spike Monument was dedicated in Council Bluffs at Mile Marker Zero of the rail line. When in Council Bluffs, don’t miss the Historic General Dodge House, the Lincoln Monument, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Western Historic Trails Center.
2073-2099 9th Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
712-256-257 • TravelCouncilBluffs.com
Old Fort Madison
Fort Madison was built along the Mississippi River in 1808, 38 years before Iowa was a state. An outpost until 1813, it is the oldest American fort on the Upper Mississippi, and was attacked by the British during the War of 1812. Old Fort Madison provides an extraordinary historical interpretation of the earliest decades of American trans-Appalachian history, including annual re-enactment events.
614 9th St, Fort Madison, IA 52627
319-372-6318 • FortMadison.com
Sergeant Floyd Monument
Sgt. Charles Floyd was the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die on the Lewis and Clark expedition. He died of appendicitis on August 20, 1804, and was buried on a bluff near the river. The Sergeant Floyd Monument, a 100-foot Egyptian style obelisk above the Missouri River, was dedicated in his honor in 1901.
2601 S Lewis Blvd, Sioux City, IA 51103
800-593-222 • VisitSiouxCity.org/NPS.gov
Wyatt Earp Home
The Wyatt Earp Home-Van Spanckeren House is home to the Pella Historical Museum Village, which is dedicated to the history the 800 Dutch settlers who founded Pella in 1846. The house’s first-floor apartment was also the childhood home of Wyatt Earp in the early 1860s. Visitors to the museum will learn what life was like for the Earps, who twice lived in Pella between 1849 and 1864.
507 Franklin St, Pella, IA 50219
641-628-2409 • PellaHistoricalMuseum.wordpress.com
Fort Ridgely State Park
Built in 1855 adjacent to the Dakota Sioux Reservation in the Minnesota River Valley, Fort Ridgely played a key role in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Ten years after the war the fort was shuttered and sold. In 1896 a war memorial was built on the site, and in 1911 the state bought the property for a park. Start at the visitors center and tour the interpretive exhibit, which requires a small entrance fee.
72158 Co Rd 30, Fairfax, MN 55332
507-426-7840 • DNR.State.MN.us
Grand Portage National Monument
Grand Portage National Monument is co-managed with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe-Grand Portage Band, and is the most important National Park living history center dedicated to the Old Northwest Euro-American fur trade network. Tours should begin at the visitors center and proceed to the re-created fort on the shore of Lake Superior. Grand Portage’s signature annual event is the Rendezvous Days and Powwow staged the second week of every August.
Grand Portage, MN 55605
218-475-0123 • NPS.gov
James J. Hill House
The James J. Hill House in St. Paul was the largest and most expensive ever built in Minnesota when it was completed in 1891. The Gilded Age mansion remained the railroad baron’s family home until 1925 when his heirs donated it to the Catholic Diocese. The Minnesota Historical Society has owned and managed it as a museum since 1978 and it’s now a National Historic Landmark.
240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
651-297-2555 • Sites.MNSH.org
Historic Fort Snelling
Historic Fort Snelling brings history to life at the army outpost first built in 1825. Located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, the U.S. built the outpost to keep the peace in the rich fur trading region of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Visitors today enjoy touring the exhibits, attending special history programs and walking the grounds of the fort that served the army until 1946.
200 Tower Ave., St. Paul, MN 55111
612-726-1171 • HistoricFortSnelling.org
Following the failed robbery of the First National Bank in Northfield on September 7, 1876, the James and Younger Gang fled southwest and then split up in an attempt to escape being brought to justice. Two weeks and a 100 miles later, on September 21, 1876, Charlie Pitts and Cole, Jim and Bob Younger were cornered in Hanska Slough outside of Madelia. Each year during the third week of September, the town of Madelia holds a re-enactment of the Younger Brothers Capture that celebrates the townspeople’s role in the enthralling saga of the failed Northfield Bank Robbery.
127 West Main St, Madelia, MN 50602
507-642-8822 • MadeliaMN.com
North West Company Fur Post
Near Pine City, the Minnesota Historical Society’s North West Company Fur Post brings history alive at the reconstructed 1804 trading center. A museum dedicated to the French voyageur and British fur trade era presents extraordinary exhibits while rangers dressed in period costume conduct educational history programs. A heritage trail on the Snake River is open throughout the year for recreation.
12551 Voyageur Ln., Pine City, MN 55063
320-629-6356 • Sites.MNHS.org
Northfield Historic District
Founded in 1855, Northfield entered the history books permanently as the legendary site of the James-Younger Gang’s failed robbery of the First National Bank on September 7, 1876. Visitors to Northfield should tour the historic downtown after touring Northfield’s Historical Society and Museum, in the restored original bank building. The annual Defeat of Jesse James Days is held every Labor Day Weekend and is one of the premiere Old West re-enactment events in the region.
Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce
205 Third Street West, Suite B, Northfield, MN 55057 507-645-5604 • VisitingNorthfield.com/NorthfieldHistory.org
Pipestone National Monument
For 3,000 years, the American Indian stone quarry at Pipestone National Monument has been actively used for making pipes. A monument since 1937, the Yankton Sioux tribe of South Dakota is credited for saving the quarry for use by any members of federally recognized American Indian tribes. Tour the visitors center, watch Native pipestone carving demonstrations and walk the Circle Trail to see the most important historical and natural features of the park.
36 Reservation Ave., Pipestone, MN 56164
507-825-5464 • NPS.gov
Camp Hancock State Historic Site
Visitors to North Dakota’s state capital, Bismarck, should visit Camp Hancock State Historic Site, dedicated to interpreting local history at the military encampment built to protect the construction crews of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1872.
101 E Main Ave, Bismarck, ND 58501
701-328-2666 • History.ND.gov
Fort Ambercrombie State Historic Site
Nicknamed “the Gateway to the Dakotas,” Fort Ambercrombie was the first American fort built in the Dakota Territory in 1858. During the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the post was under siege for six weeks. Abandoned in 1877, the fort was reconstructed in the 1930s to be an interactive history center, with programs held throughout the year, the majority in the summer.
935 Broadway, Abercrombie, ND 58001
Fort Buford State Historic Site
Near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, Fort Buford was constructed in 1866 as a key army supply depot to support the Northern Plains campaigns. In service for 29 years, Fort Buford is best known as the 1881 surrender site of Sitting Bull. Across the Missouri River from Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Fort Buford offers visitors an opportunity to walk into the past of frontier
15349 39th Ln NW, Williston, ND 58801
701-572-9034 • History.ND.gov
Fort Totten State Historic Site
On the banks of Devils Lake, Fort Totten State Historic Site stands as a testament to frontier, military and Indian life in the Dakota Territory after the Civil War. Built in 1868-’73, as a key outpost adjacent to the Devils Lake Sioux Reservation, the fort was converted to an Indian school in 1890. Visitors can tour many of the original buildings, including the commissary storehouse, which hosts the Fort Totten Interpretive Center.
Outheastern Edge Of The Town Of Fort Totten, Fort Totten, ND • 701-328-2666 • History.ND.gov
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
A major living history center along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Fort Union Trading Post was built in 1826 at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. An international trading center, Fort Union was a crossroads of history for four decades, including most of the famed mountain men and Indian tribes of the era. Every summer the park hosts numerous events with re-enactors in period dress, including the Fort Union Rendezvous.
15550 Hwy 1804Williston, ND 58801
701-572-9083 • NPS.gov
Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site
Near Walhalla in northeastern North Dakota near the Manitoba border, Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site interprets and preserves Antoine Blanc Gingras’s 1840s trading post and home. A Métis fur trader, his restored two-story post and separate home are rare examples of early settlements in the state. Visitors will enjoy the museum in the finely appointed home, and souvenirs of the fur trade can be purchased in the Gingras store.
12882 129th Ave NE, Walhalla, ND 58282
701-549-2775 • History.ND.gov
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
For 500 years, the Knife River Indian Villages were the traditional home of the Hidatsa people, and later the Mandan and Arikira. They were a major Native tribal trading center on the Missouri River for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. In the 1750s a fur trading center was established. Tour the visitors center to learn about the role of the Upper Missouri tribes in North American history. Trails lead from the headquarters to culturally important and fragile village sites preserved in the park.
564 County Road 37 Stanton, ND 58571
701-745-3300 • NPS.gov
Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park
One of the most beautiful—and entertaining—places in North Dakota, the restored historic village of Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park are inexorably connected. Every summer the town of Medora comes alive as the community celebrates the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt at the Medora Musical. Founded in 1883 by Frenchman Marquis de Mores, he named the town after his wife. The Marquis’s settlement also attracted another New Yorker, Teddy Roosevelt, who built a cattle ranch nearby in 1883. Roosevelt’s experiences in the Dakota Territory would forever shape his life and political career, and the adjacent national park encompasses the land he so loved. There are three units to the park: North (near Watford City), Elkhorn Ranch (Roosevelt’s ranch), and South (adjacent to Medora). The south unit’s scenic drive, numerous pullouts and trails provide the visitor with a beautiful overview of the park and opportunities to see wildlife, including bison.
330 Pacific Ave Medora 58645
701-623-4830 • MedoraND.com/NPS.gov
Badlands National Park
The wild, windswept Badlands National Park is 244,000 acres of buttes and ridgelines that has eroded over millions of years. Enjoy the Badlands Loop Road, with its numerous pullouts, interpretive signs, endless vistas and wildlife. Stop at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to learn the story of the Badlands and stay at the Cedar Pass Lodge. Want to visit the neighboring Pine Ridge Reservation? Stop at the White River Visitor Center, which is staffed by the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority.
25214 Ben Reifel Pl, Interior, SD 57750
605-433-5361 • NPS.gov
Legendary and sacred, the Black Hills of western South Dakota remain as magnificent as they are mysterious, a premier Old West destination with thousands of years of history, innumerable trails to follow deep into its wild mountains and home to four of the most significant sites in the West: Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Wind Cave National Park. Whether you camp, stay at a historic lodge, guest ranch or inn, a visit to the Black Hills will inspire the Western traveler to come back many times to see the bison herd in Custer State Park, gaze upon the visages carved in granite at Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and walk deep in the sacred earth at Wind River Cave.
1851 Discovery Circle, Rapid City, SD 57701
605-355-3700 • BlackHillsBadlands.com
Deadwood and Lead
The epicenter of the gold rush of 1874-’76 that transformed the Black Hills, Deadwood was founded to supply the rush of miners everything they needed to survive: supplies, saloons and soiled doves. Today, Deadwood is one of the most significant historical cities in South Dakota and the West. Visitors who walk the streets of Deadwood should start at the visitors center in the restored railroad station for a map of the city, directions to local museums, daily events, historic sites and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried side by side. After touring Deadwood, drive up the mountain to tour the historic gold mining town of Lead.
767 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732
160 W Main Lead, SD 57754 605-584-1100
Devil’s Gulch Park
On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger Gang was thwarted in their attempt to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. With multiple posses chasing them west out of Minnesota, the gang split up. Legend has it that soon after crossing into South Dakota, near Garretson, Jesse was separated from Frank, and while pursued, he avoided capture by leaping the 20-foot chasm of Devil’s Gulch.
5th Street & North Central Avenue, Garretson, SD 57030
Fort Pierre Chouteau Site
In the 1830s, the American Fur Company had Frenchman Pierre Chouteau build a fort to serve the region, quickly becoming one of the most important trading posts on the Upper Missouri. After visiting the Fort Pierre Choteau Site, tour the Vérendrye Museum and the Vérendrye Site, where French explorer Pierre Gaultier De La Vérendrye placed a lead plate in 1743 claiming the Mississippi River drainage for France. After Fort Pierre, cross the Missouri River to Pierre and tour the State Capitol complex and the South Dakota Museum/Cultural Center.
located about one mile north of Fort Pierre off of SD Hwy 1806 on Fort Chouteau Rd. • Historical Society 605-773-3458 • HistoricPierre.com/HistorySD.gov
The Charles and Caroline Ingalls Homestead near DeSmet was started in 1880 after Laura Ingalls’s family moved temporarily to the town in 1879. Readers of Wilder’s books will recognize it from her book By the Shores of Silver Lake. Laura married Almanzo Wilder in 1885. Today, visitors can tour a one-room schoolhouse, take a covered wagon ride, participate in hands on crafts, and pony-cart rides. Camping at the homestead can even be enjoyed in a covered wagon.
20812 Homestead Rd, De Smet, SD 57231
800-776-3594 • IngallsHomestead.com
Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial
The Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial Site on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a very solemn place. Visitors to the memorial should start at the Oglala Lakota College Historical Center (open June-August, Monday-Saturday). Proceed to the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce in Kyle for information on visiting Wounded Knee (inquire about a guided tours). Afterwards, tour the Journey Museum & Learning Center in Rapid City, home to the Sioux Indian Museum, the SD Archeological Research Center and the Minnilusa Pioneer Museum to learn and experience a broader understanding of culture and history in the region and state.
Wounded Knee, SD 57794 • 605- 867-2228
SOUTHERN PRAIRIES AND PLAINS
Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska
The Southern Prairie and Plains states should be considered the gateway states to the West. From the lesser known trails to Texas and Oklahoma, from Louisiana and Arkansas to the great epicenters of national trail history in St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph, Missouri, heritage travelers can begin transcontinental trips from Missouri on National Historic Trails as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sacramento, California, and Astoria, Oregon. In Kansas and Nebraska respectively, the vistas of the Great Plains inspires visitors to follow the famous Santa Fe and Oregon Trails west, while inviting tourists to stop and explore the historic sites associated with the great cattle drives and military Indian War campaigns. Travel in the Southern Prairie and Plains region ties the national story of the Trans-Appalachian West with the Trans-Mississippi West and how the competing empires of Spain, France, Great Britain and the United States vied to wrestle control of North America from the indigenous American Indian tribes.
Fort Smith Belle Grove Historic District
Belle Grove, one of the most significant historic districts in Arkansas, is a 22 block area of homes dating back 130 years adjacent the Fort Smith National Historic Site and the Arkansas River. Four homes are open for public tour: The Clayton House, McKibben-Bonneville House, Fort Smith Art Center and the Darby House.
Fort Smith CVB: 2 North B St., Fort Smith, AR 72901
Fort Smith National Historic Site
In the annals of American Trans-Mississippi history, Fort Smith, founded in 1817, is one of the most important gateway cities to the West. While Missouri’s St. Louis, Independence, and St. Joseph receive more attention in the history books, Fort Smith’s role in the development and settlement of Western territories, including Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas must be understood equally to the Missouri cities. The National Park Service’s Fort Smith National Historic Site is one of the largest, best preserved interpretive centers of a historic 19th-century federal post west of the Mississippi. Tours should begin at the Visitor Center in the fort’s former barracks/courthouse/ prison. Fort Smith may have been best known as the court of Judge Isaac Parker, the hanging judge, visitors can tour the 37-acre grounds of Fort Smith on 1.4 mile self-guided tour of all the key historic structures and sites, including the Gallows, Commissary and Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Overlook.
Fort Smith CVB: 2 North B St, Fort Smith, AR 72901
479-783-8888 • NPS.gov
Historic Washington State Park
Founded on George Washington’s birthday in 1824, Washington, Arkansas, is a National Register of Historic Places site, and one of the best preserved Southern villages West of the Mississippi River. Historic Washington State Park includes 30 preserved and restored architecturally important buildings constructed between 1824 and 1900. Numerous exhibits and collections can be enjoyed in the buildings open to the public, with re-enactors acting as hosts and guides. Start at the Visitor Center and inquire about programs, activities and tours of the historic town.
103 Franklin St, Washington, AR 71862
870-983-2625 • HistoricWashingtonStatePark.com
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Known as the “battle that saved Missouri for the Union,” Pea Ridge National Military Park preserves and interprets across 4,300 acres one of the most significant, and lesser known major engagements of the Civil War in northwestern Arkansas. On a late winter day, March 27, 1862, 26,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in one of the wars largest Western battles. When the smoke cleared, the Federal forces had thwarted the Southern army from taking control of northern Arkansas and advancing into Missouri. Begin a tour at the Visitor Center’s museum, where visitors can sign up for guided tours in the summer. One of the best ways to see the battle is to drive the Park’s interpretive loop, but the park also has numerous walking and horse trails. Contact the Park for regular scheduled reenactments and events.
15930 E. Highway 62, Garfield, AR 72732
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
The Battle of Prairie Grove was one of the most significant in the history of the Western Theater of the Civil War. One of the most intact battlefields of the War Between the States, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park preserves the site that left 2,700 dead or wounded in northwest Arkansas on December 7, 1862. Visitors may need more than one day to walk the battlefield trail, take the driving tour, visit historic Ozark Village and tour the Park’s museum an visitor center in Hindman Hall. A biennial event, the Battle of Prairie Grove Reenactment will be held December 3-4, 2016. Inquire with the Park for more information.
506 E. Douglas St., Prairie Grove, AR 72753
479-846-2990 • ArkansasStateParks.com
Condon Bank Building
Rivaling the James-Younger Gang’s failed bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, is the Dalton Gang’s disastrous attempt to rob two banks, C.M. Condon and First National, simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. Convenient for visitors
to Coffeyville, the area’s Chamber of Commerce is located in the original site of the C.M. Condon Bank, the 1871 Perkins Building, in the city’s historic district. The Chamber is open Monday to Friday and the bank vault, teller’s area and lobby can be seen as they were on that fateful day. From the Perkins Building, take a walking tour of the district to the Dalton Defenders Museum. The graves of Bob and Grat Dalton and Bill Powers can be visited in Coffeyville’s Elmwood Cemetery.
807 Walnut, Coffeyville, KS 67337 • 620-251-5500 CoffeyvilleChamber.org/DaltonDefendersMuseum.com
The history of Kansas is inexorably tied to both the development of America’s expansion Westward to the Southwest, Great Plains and the Northwest, but also to the national political debate on the abolition of slavery and the Civil War. Historic Lecompton should be on everyone’s tour of key heritage sites on the origins of the Kansas-Missouri Border War. Constitution Hall was built in 1856 and is where the Kansas Territorial government first convened and wrote a pro-slavery constitution. After two years of conflict with the Kansas anti-slavery factions, the seat of power was wrested from the Lecompton leaders and moved to Lawrence. Visit Constitution Hall, Territorial Capital Museum or the website the for information on a self-guided tour of the historic city.
319 Elmore St, Lecompton, KS 66050
785-887-6520 • LecomptonKansas.com
“The Queen of the Cowtowns,” Dodge City’s iconic status stands equally with Deadwood, Lincoln and Tombstone. A tour of Dodge City should begin at the Visitor Information Center for an orientation and guide to the city. Take the Historic Trolley Tour (Memorial Weekend to Labor Day), pick up a map of the Dodge City Trail of Fame and visit the internationally acclaimed Boot Hill Museum. Boot Hill is well known for its outstanding exhibits on frontier Kansas history, firearms, gambling, buffalo hunters and the Wild West era of cattle drives. Visitors will enjoy walking amongst the historical interpreters and watching the gunfight reenactments on Front Street, and the Variety Show in the Long Branch Saloon. While in Dodge City, don’t miss a visit to the Gunfighters Wax Museum, and the Wild West Heritage Foundation’s Buffalo and Longhorn Exhibit.
620-225-8186 • VisitDodgeCity.org
Fort Hays State Historic Site
First constructed in 1866, Fort Hays served the strategic needs of the U.S. Army in Western Kansas at three different sites until it was decommissioned in 1889. Commanders included Nelson Miles and Phil Sheridan, and was garrisoned by the 5th Infantry, 7th Cavalry and 10th Cavalry regiments, the latter a famed unit of Buffalo Soldiers. From 1867-1869, Maj. Gen. Sheridan and Lt. Col. George A. Custer were headquartered at Fort Hays in their war with the Southern Cheyenne and Kiowa. Visitors today will enjoy regularly scheduled re-enactment events, rangers in period dress, a museum and walking tours of the parade ground and four historic buildings.
1472 US Highway 183 Alt, Hays, KS 67601
785-272-8681 • KSHS.org
Fort Larned National Historic Site
The army troops posted at Fort Larned were known as “the guardians of the Santa Fe Trail.” Built in 1859, the outpost’s buildings were constructed of native quarried sandstone, the reason Fort Larned National Historic Site remains one of the best preserved Western outposts in the United States. Fort Larned a learning history center, with numerous rangers and docents in period dress providing daily and monthly educational programs about life at a frontier army post. Guided tours held May-September is one of the best ways to learn the history of Fort Larned.
1767 Kansas 156, Larned, KS 67550
620-285-6911 • NPS.gov
Old Abilene Town
Abilene was founded in 1857, but it was the arrival of the Kansas Pacific Railway in 1867 that transformed Abilene into the legendary town at the end of the Chisholm Trail from Texas. Old Abilene Town is dedicated to promoting and preserving the colorful and popular history and heritage of the “wickedest and wildest” cow town of all the Kansas cow towns. Visitors to Old Abilene Town will enjoy reenactors in period costume, gunfight reenactments, special events, stagecoach and steam engine rides. In 2017, Abilene will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of famous trail and its transformative history of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas—and the nation, throughout the year, with the grand celebration at Old Abilene Town, September 1-3, 2017.
100 SE 5th St. Abilene, KS 67410 • 785-479-0952
Medicine Lodge Treaty Site
The Medicine Lodge Treaty Site National Historic Landmark in Kansas, is as important as Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming to understanding how the United States government negotiated with the Plains Indian tribes for land ownership and rights in the 19th century settlement and conquest of the Indian Nations West. The historic importance of the three treaties are honored every two years by the Medicine Lodge Treaty Association at the Medicine Lodge Treaty Indian Summer Days.
Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty Association
P. O. Box 194, 103 East Washington, Medicine Lodge, KS 67104 620-886-9815 • PeaceTreaty.org
Chalmette Battlefield Site
On January 9, 1815, General Andrew Jackson led U.S. forces over the British in a resounding victory to end the War of 1812 at Chalmette Battlefield Site (Battle of New Orleans) at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Visitors to the national park can walk the field of battle and learn how Jackson’s victory changed the course of history for the United States and the world. Tours the informative museum at the Battlefield’s Visitor Center before enjoying the self-guided tour and visit to the Chalmette Monument, a 100-foot obelisk with 122 interior steps to the top. A unique way to visit the Park is by the Creole Queen paddlewheeler from New Orleans’ French Quarter; inquire with the park for information.
8606 W. St. Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, LA 70043
504-281-0510 • NPS.gov
Confederate Memorial Hall Museum
Understanding the influence of Southern United States history and the Confederacy on the history, settlement, politics and war in the American West is a critical part of the story of 19th century America. Opened in 1891 in New Orleans Warehouse District, the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum is dedicated to honoring Southern history.
929 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130
504-523-4522 • ConfederateMuseum.com
The 1850 House
In New Orleans’ Jackson Square, the 1850 House museum is dedicated to the family history of Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, whose father Don Andres Almonester y Roxas funded the construction of St. Louis Cathedral. The Upper and Lower Pontalba Buildings are considered the oldest apartment houses in the nation. The Museum has recreated one of the residences to mirror middle class life in antebellum New Orleans.
523 St. Ann St., New Orleans, 70116
504-524-9118 • The1850House.com
Fort St. Jean Baptiste Historic Site
The French were in Natchitoches in west-central Louisiana trading with local Indians as early as 1699. The trading post on the Red River was founded in 1714 as a trading post and was oldest city in the Louisiana purchase. The Fort St. Jean Baptiste Historic Site reconstructs the French fort built in defense of the Spanish Empire to the West. When in the area, don’t miss a tour of historic Natchitoches, and the nearby Fort Jesup State Historic Site, built under the leadership Lt. Col. Zachary Taylor as a key American outpost between the Red and Sabine rivers in 1822.
155 Rue Jefferson, Natchitoches, LA 71457
318-357-3101 • Natchitoches.net/Crt.State.LA.us
Spring Street Historical Museum
The Shreve Town Company founded Shreveport to develop a town at the crossroads of the Texas Trail and the Red River in 1836. The development led to the opening of the river as a navigable waterway for steamships with the clearing of the Red River’s infamous Great Raft logjam. The Spring Street Historical Museumexhibits provide an informative and educational window into the history of the gateway Louisiana city to the West.
525 Spring St., Shreveport, LA 71101
318-424-0964 • SpringStreetMuseum.com
Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse Building
St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, an internationally recognized landmark of the “Gateway City,” is the centerpiece of the city’s historic district. Currently, the Museum of Westward Expansion, located under the Gateway Arch is closed for major renovations, and visitors wanting to visit the Arch should go to the Old Courthouse Ticket Center. The Old Courthouse is one of the most significant historical sites in Missouri, with numerous galleries dedicated to St. Louis’s history, and the river city’s role in Westward Expansion and Southern history.
11 N. 4th St., St. Louis, MO 63102
314-655-1700 • GatewayArch.com/NPS.gov
Independence Historic District
The original trailhead of the Santa Fe Trail, historic Independence on the Missouri River remains one of the most important and influential frontier cities that shaped America’s expansion West. Start your visit to Independence at the Visitor Experience Center and then take a self-guided walking tour of Independence Square. While in Independence be sure to see where Frank James was incarcerated at the 1859 Jail & Marshal’s Home; visit the National Frontier Trails Museum; and, schedule a covered wagon tour with Pioneer Trails Adventures.
112 W. Lexington, Independence, MO 64050
816-325-7890 • CI.Indpendence.MO.us
Until 1978, the James Farm was owned by descendants of the famed outlaw Jesse James. Today, the historic site in Kearney, Missouri is a Clay County Museum dedicated to the James Family, the history of the region, the Border War and the Jesse and Frank James years as outlaws. The Visitors Center and Museum is in the restored 19th century family home.
21216 Jesse James Farm Rd., Kearney, MO 64060
816-736-8500 • JesseJames.org
Jesse James Home/Pattee House Museum
Located at the same location, the Pattee House Museum and the Jesse James Home, where the famous outlaw was shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882. The Pattee House was built as a hotel in 1858, was the headquarters for the Pony Express in 1860-’61 and was occupied by the Union Army during the Civil War. A National Historic Landmark, the Pattee House has a superior collection of exhibitions dedicated to 19th century Missouri life. The Jesse James House has an exhibit on Jesse James life in St. Joseph and his grave.
1202 Penn St., St. Joseph, MO 64503
816-232-8206 • PonyExpressJesseJames.com
Mark Twain Historic District
Walk the streets of historic Hannibal and a visitor can imagine a young Samuel Clemens growing in the town and the Mississippi River. Start at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, which includes eight historic properties, for a complete immersion into the real life of Twain. Tour the Mark Twain Interpretive Center and discover how the great American author transformed his own life and friends into the imaginary lives of his novel’s fictional characters. Two tours not to miss: Mark Twain Cave and the Mark Twain Riverboat cruise on the Mississippi.
120 N. Main St., Hannibal, MO 63401 • 573-221-9010
St. Joseph Historic District
Known best as the trailhead for the Pony Express, St. Joseph’s historic district will inspire the imagination and remind visitors of the importance of Missouri’s western frontier towns to American history. Begin tours of historic St. Joseph at the Pony Express Museum, followed by a visit to the extraordinary St. Joseph Museum, with its extensive exhibitions on the culture and history of the region, including American Indian and Civil War exhibitions. Also, don’t miss the Pattee House Museum, Jesse James Home, Robidoux Row Museum and Pony Express Monument.
St. Joseph CVB: 109 South 4th St., St. Joseph, MO 64501
800-785-0360 • StJoMo.com
While St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph receive more attention from historians—and have more historic sites associated with the Western trails—Westport Landing was actually the site that wagon trains and wagon train bosses preferred for many years to prepare and provision for the transcontinental journey to Oregon or Santa Fe. Visit the Harris-Kearney House Museum managed by the Westport Historical Society in the Kansas City suburb of Westport and learn about life in the 19th-century frontier town and its role in the development of the West.
4050 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite M100, Kansas City, MO 64111
Buffalo Bill State Historical Park
Buffalo Bill State Historical Park preserves Scout’s Rest Ranch, the home and life of the great Western showman William F. “Buffalo Bill.” Cody first began ranching in the area in 1877 and began building a major farm and ranch operation in North Platte in 1878. A major enterprise, Cody and his family made their home at the Nebraska ranch for many years. He owned the home and property until 1911. The park includes the Cody House and the historic barn. The ranch is also noted as the place Cody debuted his Wild West show, known as the Old Glory Blowout, in 1882.
2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd., North Platte, NE 69101
308-535-8035 • VisitNorthPlatte.com/OutdoorNebraska.gov
Chimney Rock National Historic Site
A landmark for travelers in the North Platte River Valley for centuries, Chimney Rock National Historic Site protects the unique geological site in the Sand Hills of western Nebraska just east of another significant landmark in the area, Scotts Bluff. Explorers, fur trappers and emigrants on the Oregon Trail. Chimney Rock is managed by the Nebraska Historical Society and includes a Visitor Center Museum.
Chimney Rock Trail, Bayard, NE 69334
308-586-2581 • NebraskaHistory.org
Fort Kearny State Historical Park
Fort Kearny State Historical Park preserves and promotes the history of the U.S. Army’s role in protecting the Overland Trails along the Platte River in central Nebraska. Founded in 1848, Fort Kearny served the region until 1871. In 1928, the Fort Kearny Historical Society bought 40 acres for a park and rebuilt key structures: the stockade, powder magazine, carpenter-blacksmith shop, and the parade grounds. The park has an interpretive center and hosts living history events throughout the year.
1020 V Rd., Kearney, NE 68845
308-865-5305 • OutdoorNebraska.gov
Fort Robinson State Park
Fort Robinson State Park is one of the most historically significant—and largest state parks—in Nebraska. Near Crawford, with dozens of historical buildings and museums on site, Fort Robinson encompasses 22,000 acres, with numerous houses and camping spots for rent. Fort Robinson was founded in 1874 and served the army until 1947. Fort Robinson was involved in some of the most critical events of the Great Sioux War, including the site where Crazy Horse surrendered and was later killed; the Dull Knife breakout of the Northern Cheyenne; and, the Fort Robinson Massacre.
Soldier Creek Rd., Crawford, NE 69339
308-665-2900 • OutdoorNebraska.gov
Homestead National Monument of America
The Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, honors the history of homesteading and the men, women and families who staked so much on 160 acre homesteads with the hope of building an independent life and future. Tours should begin at the Heritage Center, which has an excellent museum, followed up by an outdoor tour of the park, including the Education Center, Palmer-Epard Cabin and Freeman School.
8523 NE-4, Beatrice, NE 68310 • 402-223-3514 • NPS.gov
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park is the site of the stage coach station where James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok had his shootout with Dave McCanles. Working as a stock boy, Hickok’s feud with the local McCanles ended with Wild Bill’s enemy dead, and the beginning of a Western legend’s career as a gunfighter.
57426 710th Rd., Fairbury, NE 68352
402-729-5777 • OutdoorNebraska.gov
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Scotts Bluff National Monument is dedicated to interpreting the culture, heritage and history of Scotts Bluff and the North Platte River Valley. During the early 19th century, European and American fur trappers plied the paths along the North Platte to and from the West, way-marking a key trail that would guide the way West for successive generations of emigrants. Tours of the park should star indoors at the Visitor Center, but the strength of the monument is in its numerous trails, including the Oregon Trail Pathway and the North and South Overlook.
190276 Old Oregon Trail, Gering, NE 69341
308-436-9700 • NPS.gov