In May 2015 I flew to Alamosa, Colorado, to defend my thesis for my MA in US History. While I was there, I rented a car and drove around Colorado and northern New Mexico for a few days to see some of the historic sites. Here are a few of the highlights.
Black American History Museum & Heritage Center (Denver, CO)
Set in the home of Justina Ford, Denver’s first licensed Black woman doctor, this museum is filled with artifacts and photos of Black farmers, ranchers, soldiers, cowboys, and others who were involved in the 19th and 20th century development of the West. If you get a chance to visit Denver, this is a must-see local history museum.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Numerous Indigenous nations have lived in this area for more than 11,000 years, including the Southern Ute, Apache, and Diné. It has been a national park since 1932. Unfortunately for me, I never made it past the main road into the park. About halfway down the road, a massive hail and electrical storm burst from the sky, forcing visitors to flee for safety.
Rocky Mountain National Park
I only had time for a drive through of the park, but the vistas were absolutely stunning. This land was traditionally home to the Ute and Arapaho, and the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Shoshone also hunted in and traveled through the region.
San Luis, CO
Founded by Hispanic settlers from Taos Valley in 1851 as San Luis de la Culebra, this is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Colorado. This barn was built that same year.
Earthships, El Prado, NM
I stumbled across these weird homes completely by chance and was enchanted. Earthship homes are completely off the grid and entirely sustainable – often utilizing earth-packed tires, bottles, and other upcycled materials.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
This steel deck arch bridge was completed in 1965 and crosses over the Rio Grande just north of Taos, NM. It is nearly 600 feet up.
On the Colorado-New Mexico border
Random stops between the drive from Alamosa, CO to Taos, NM.