This gallery features historic and contemporary scenes along the MO-KS-CO-(OK)-NM routes of wagon-based traders. The trail was opened in 1821. US soldiers used it to seize Santa Fe in 1846 during the Mexican War. A railroad reached Santa Fe in 1880, ending the trail era.
Images run east-to-west. The Mountain Route went through CO. The largely-dry Cimarron Route or Cutoff through the OK panhandle appears at the end.
The first part of the early Santa Fe Trail overlapped with the main Frontier Trails (Oregon and California) and some photographs are in both galleries.
Hundreds of ruts and swales remain but only the better ones have been photographed. Some important historical sites have vanished or were open country, and have only markers.
Images from Santa Fe NM are in a separate city gallery and are not duplicated.
These images are only offered here. The copyright watermark does not appear.