Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

Rock Creek USD 323

Rock Creek USD 323

St. George Elementary


Ajax Loading Image


Santa Fe Trail Trip 2009

Wagon's Ho

Santa Fe Trail Map

Santa Fe Trail Trip 2009

What is it?
The Santa Fe Trail trip is a 12-day camping trip down the historic Santa Fe Trail. We travel in commercial buses and stop at as many sites as we can from Council Grove, KS to Santa Fe, NM.  

Purpose of Activity: 
To develop an appreciation of the historical events
that occurred during the time of the Santa Fe Trail -- 1821-1879.

******SFT Trail News Update******

Santa Fe Trail Picture Room

All of the pictures posted to the web page, as well as those taken by sponsors, will be available for you to view and print through Wal-Mart. The above link will direct you to the group room I have set up. The password for the room is santafe. All letters are lower case and there is no space. You will have to register with the site to order prints. After you register then you can select the photos you would like to order and pick them up in the store. I If you have any questions about pictures please e-mail me at williw@rockcreekschools.org.

To view pictures of our travels, click on the slideshow link under each heading.

WAGONS HO!! Santa Fe Trail travelers gather for a group picture before boarding the buses and heading off on the trail.

 Snapshots of Campers

 Snapshots of Campers II

 Snapshots of Campers III

 Snapshots of Campers IV

Day 1 Highlights....

 SFT Day 1

Travelers arrived at Wamego Middle School around 6:00 am. After boarding the buses, we headed south to Council Grove. There we walked the Neosho Riverwalk and took a bus tour of historic sites along the Santa Fe Trail. We then headed towards Lost Springs and took a tour of the trail ruts that run through to Cottonwood Crossing. Our next stop was the Coronado Quivira Museum in Lyons. We ended the day of by visiting Ralph's Ruts. Travelers were able to walk across seven Santa Fe Trail swales. 

Day 2 Highlights....

Santa Fe Trail sign at Ralph's Ruts.

 SFT Day 2

Day two started out bright and early with Mrs. Armstead playing her bugle at 6:00 am. Travelers were very slow moving, but despite that we were cleaned up, fed, and listening to stories by 8:00. We then headed to Pawnee Rock which was a look out point on the Santa Fe Trail. After that, we headed over to Fort Larned which is a living history museum. Then we went to Wagon Bed Springs. When the original Santa Fe Trail travelers finally arrived at Wagon Bed Springs came upon their first water supply in 90 miles. Wagon Bed Springs marked the end of a very treacherous stretch of the trail. Dinner of grilled burgers and brawts was provided by the Ulysses Chamber of Commerce and Wagon Bed Springs Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association. The travelers were very grateful for this wonderful meal after a long day on the trail. After dinner, we were visited by Jeff Trotman who reenacted Jedidiah Smith. Unfortunately, we were not able to sleep in tents. A storm rolled in and there was a lot of lightning. Thanks to Ulysses High School for providing our emergency housing.

Day 3 Highlights....

 SFT Day 3

The first thing we visited on day 3 was Point of Rocks/Middle Springs. As a group we yelled, “We remember you John Goose!” John Goose is the name of a soldier that was bit by a scorpion and died in this area traveling the trail. We then went to Autograph Rock. Original travelers carved their name into the soft sandstone as they traveled the trail. Many names show up on the stone more than once which tells us that they traveled the trail many times. Then we went to McNee’s Crossing. This crossing was named for a trader who was killed at this site by Indians in 1828. The crossing was also used as a campsite and in 1831 a group of travelers celebrated the Fourth of July there. We ended our travels at Clayton Lake. There we saw real dinosaur tracks. Clayton Lake is home to over 500 dinosaur tracks and travelers were very excited to see them. Unfortunately, we were unable to camp again on day 3 because there was a chance for severe weather. Thank you to the National Guard for allowing us to camp at the armory in Clayton.

Day 4 Highlights....

 SFT Day 4

After a good nights rest, day four started out with us visiting the New Mexican Point of Rocks. This was a popular campsite along the trail and had a nearby spring. It was also the site of a lot of violence. There are 11 known grave sites located there, only one of which has been identified. Our next stop was Daniel’s Ranch which is located on a Mesa outside the town of Wagon Mound. Travelers were able to walk through the swales that lead into the town. Then we headed to Fort Union. This fort was established at the intersection of the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the Santa Fe Trail. While visiting the Fort, a thunderstorm moved in and cut our touring short. Travelers were still able to see some of the Fort and watch a video on its history. After Fort Union, we drove through Las Vegas (New Mexico… not Nevada!) and Kearney’s Gap. This is the site in 1846 where Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearney claimed the New Mexico Territory for the United States. It has been said that wherever we travel, we bring rain. That was true on day four also. We were unable to camp at Villanueva because of severe weather that moved through the area. Thank you to Robinson High School in Las Vegas for providing our emergency house.

Day 5 Highlights....

 SFT Day 5

Finally the day we’ve all been waiting for… Santa Fe!! We started the day of by visiting Pecos. Here travelers got to see pueblos and learn how the ancient ones lived. They also got to go into a kiva which is an underground ceremonial hut. We were also surprised by a visitor along the trail! It was our first snake sighting. Not to worry though because it slept the entire time we passed by. After Pecos, we handed out wallets and headed to Santa Fe. The kids were very excited to shop and eat on the Plaza! Many of us tried authentic Mexican served from a vendor in the Plaza. However, there were those that opted for the good old favorite… pizza! After filling their bellies, they proceeded to shop their little hearts out! One of the local favorites is the candy store. Some travelers were too tired to walk after all of the walking and took the bike taxi around the plaza. There were amazed at all there was to see and the places to shop. Many of the store owners commented on how well behaved and respectful all of our kids were! Way to go travelers!! They also visited the Loretto Chapel. The chapel is home to the “Miraculous Staircase.” The staircase has two complete turns of 360 degrees and is built with no nails. After a long day of shopping and sightseeing, we headed to a school in Pojoaque where we will stay for the next three days. Students were able to enjoy the playground at the school which offered them a little taste of home. Enjoy the pictures!!!

Day 6 Highlights....

 SFT Day 6

Day six provided students another opportunity to see how ancient civilizations lived by visiting Bandelier National Monument. Located in Frijoles Canyon, it was the home to a group of Indians for hundreds of years. Travelers had the opportunity to walk through ruins and climb the ladders that lead to homes that were carved into the side of the mountains. They were also able to visit the Ceremonial Cave. To reach the cave travelers had to climb 140 vertical feet. Once they reached the top, they were able to look out over all of Bandelier and the surrounding area. We also visited Cerro Grande. Travelers walked a two mile hike (one way) that took them to the peak (elevation 10,199 feet) and allowed them to see the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Boundary Peak, and the Sandia Mountians. Needless to say, after a day of hiking, kids came back to camp exhausted.

The Santa Fe Trail lives on!!

Go to Page 2