Santa Fe Trail Historic Points

category : Pioneer History
While the Santa Fe Trail originated in Franklin, Missouri, and ended in Santa Fe, New Mexico, more than half of it ran through Kansas, and combining history with recreation, there is something for everyone along the trail in Kansas--even today. The Great Bend area has many historic points on the Santa Fe Trail, including Fort Zarah, the Walnut Creek Crossing, and Pawnee Rock.

Fort Zarah is commemorated today in a roadside park which is located near one of the two original locations of the fort. The park is east of Great Bend on Hwy. 96. The original fort site was established in 1864 to help protect mail service along the Santa Fe Trail. The second Fort Zarah was built in 1867 and was a more permanent post, comprised of a large stone building with quarters for officers and troops, kitchens and mess halls, storerooms, and other functions. This post was abandoned in 1869 when it was felt that the Indian threat was not sufficient to warrant a second post so close to Fort Larned.

The Walnut Creek Crossing included a trading ranch, toll bridge, and military post. When the creek flooded, wagon trains camped on its banks for several days waiting to cross. It was one of the first streams in the region to have a toll bridge.

Pawnee Rock was one of the best known natural landmarks along the Santa Fe Trail. It was sometimes referred to as the "Citadel of the Prairie." Although some of the rock was removed by settlers and the railroads for construction materials, one can still enjoy a panoramic view across the prairie from this relatively high landmark.

Phone: 877-427-9299
Our Email:

Come visit us in Great Bend, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Refuge

There are 650 bird species in the United States, 417 in Kansas, and 320 in Cheyenne Bottoms! Besides birds, there are 23 species of mammals 19 species of reptiles and nine species of amphibians.

Great Bend, KS Wildlife Refuges

Brit Spaugh Park And Zoo

Tucked in Brit Spaugh Park on North Main, the Zoo is great Bend's little jewel. Dedicated to the conservation, preservation and rescue of animals and the education and entertainment of both children and adults, the Zoo is a natural resource for Great Bend and its visitors.

Great Bend, KS Zoos

Great Bend Mural Project

Great Bend is home to an expanding collection of outdoor murals created by local artists and groups. Several of the brightly colored murals are located in the Main Street business area. Following are murals visitors can enjoy now:

Migration is located at the corner of Main & 16

Great Bend, KS Arts

Shafer Art Gallery

The L. E. "Gus" and Eva Shafer Memorial Art Gallery has been referred to as the "Gem of the Campus"

Great Bend, KS Arts

Barton County Historical Museum & Village

The Barton County Historical Society Museum & Village lets you take a fascinating walk into the past. The Village is located on a five-acre tract of land that is south of Great Bend.

Nine buildings are part of the Village including an 1871 Pioneer Rock Home, an 1898 Church, a 1910 Depot, a 19

Great Bend, KS Museums

Things to do Pioneer History near Great Bend, KS

Santa Fe Trail Historic Points

While the Santa Fe Trail originated in Franklin, Missouri, and ended in Santa Fe, New Mexico, more than half of it ran throug...