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     “Shortly after passing Bent’s Fort, following the California trail up the river, we got our first sight of Pike’s Peak, resting on the western horizon like a small white cloud . . . in a few days it seemed we were running up against the whole Rocky Mountain Range.”       Robert M. Peck, 1857

     “We had the finest scenery yet, being a succession of round Potato hills some two hundred feet above bottom lands. . . . Dr. Rose, while out on Potato hills, first saw Pike’s Peak.”      Charles Post, 1859

Bent’s Old Fort was established on what would become known as the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was a major civilian supply post for Americans, Mexicans, and Indians from 1833 to 1849. Living history programs at the 1976 reconstructed fort represent the 1846 trail era.

Evidence of beaver activity along the Arkansas River near the mouth of Chico Creek. Here the “Chico Creek Cutoff” left the river and angled northwest to rejoin the main branch of the Cherokee Trail north of Pueblo.

Archaeological dig at the site of El Pueblo, an 1842 civilian trading post in present-day Pueblo. The site is administered by History Colorado. At Pueblo, the Cherokee Trail turned north to follow Fountain Creek.