Dining and Lodging|
Estelene Bunkhouse and Historic SitesVisit the site of the former community center of Estelene, named after Estelene Collins who taught at the schoolhouse and ran the local post office on the Collins Ranch. Down the road view the foundations and cistern of the early 20th-century Estelene schoolhouse. Visitors can experience the history of the area by staying in the charming locally quarried limestone bunkhouse, which was once Estelene’s post office. An earlier post office building overlooks the site from the hill near the ranch house. Established in 1910 Estelene served as a community center and post office for the rural people of southwest Baca County until 1927.
County Rd M and Everett Ranch
Pritchett, CO 81064
Hours of Operation
The Estelene bunkhouse is open by appointment or reservation. A tour is available of nearby historic sites.
From Lamar take Hwy 287 south through Springfield. Travel twenty miles farther south and turn west on County Rd M as Hwy 287 curves east going into Campo, CO. Travel about 23 miles to County Rd 3.1. On County Road M after about 18 miles you will pass the Kirkwell stone building and Carrizo Flats townsites, a lone gravesite, and the Estelene school foundations on your way in (foundations on north side of road). Turn at the Everett Feedlot Signs. The historic post offices/bunkhouse are located just off of County Rd M on the Everett Ranch. From Trinidad take Hwy 160 past the Baca County line 3 miles. Go south on County Rd 3 for 9 miles. Go straight when the dirt road curves back east, cross a cattle guard and continue on south for another couple of miles through the canyons. Cross a second cattle guard and enter the Everett Feedlot. Take a left at the T and stop at the second house (rock). The post office/bunkhouse is out front. From La Junta take Hwy 109 south to Hwy 160. Turn east on Hwy 160 and 3 miles inside the Baca County line turn south on County Rd 3. Go south on County Rd 3 for 9 miles. Go straight when the dirt road curves back east, cross a cattle guard and continue on south for another couple of miles through the canyons. Cross a second cattle guard and enter the Everett Feedlot. Take a left at the T and stop at the second house (rock). The post office/bunkhouse is out front.
Fuel up before leaving town. Expect long distances and remote dirt roads. Kim is the closest fuel stop, 30 miles away. Springfield is 40-45 miles away. Lodging is available in the historic bunkhouse. The bunkhouse is located directly on a birding trail and just a few minutes away from some of Baca County’s best birding sites. Carrizo Creek runs nearby, and canyonlands surround the ranch. Carrizo and Cottonwood Canyons are a short drive away. The owners of the Estelene Bunkhouse and Heritage Journey Tours welcome visitors for area hikes and tours to see birds, canyonlands, and rock art and to experience the beauty of the local landscape.
$2/per person for appointment/tour. Can be combined with other tour or done separately. Bunkhouse rates are: Feb-May $125/night; June-Sep $100/night; Sep-Feb $75/night
Mesa de Maya Art GalleryVisit the fabulous two-story studio and gallery designed by painter Willard Louden in remote historic Branson. The studio loft looks out towards Mesa de Maya and the Louden Cattle Company Ranch, where long-time landscape painter Willard Louden grew up. Louden and his wife, Mary Ann, who creates dazzling tinwork, look forward to meeting with visitors to the gallery, which is a work of art itself. (You won’t want to miss the whimsical “outhouse!”) Educated as a geologist Louden has enjoyed a fascinating life that includes world travels and explorations that have given him amazing stories. Louden also helped to found the AR Mitchell Gallery in Trinidad.
121 Williams Street
Branson, CO 81027
Hours of Operation
Open most days, but there are no regular hours. Call in advance to confirm availability.
Branson is located off US Hwy 160 about 50 miles east of Trinidad and 45 miles east of Kim. From US Hwy 160 take Hwy 389 about 10 miles south to Branson. Turn east onto William Street, the third street you come to in town and drive 3 blocks to the end. There is a large Mesa de Maya sign and stone wall surrounding the artists’ yard and home/gallery.
For overnights, the Loudens also offer a single rustic guest cottage for two (double futon) for a nominal fee ($25). For ice cream, refreshments, and visitor info. check out Branson’s first schoolhouse on Saddlerock Drive just east of Hwy 389 coming into town. (Turn left onto the first street.) For more Branson history, check out the 1923 brick school at the east end of the Saddlerock Drive (playground available), Branson Community Church, and the old stone jail, also listed on this website. A flyer “7 Things to Do While You’re Here in Branson” is available at the old schoolhouse/church. Gas is distant (Kim or Trinidad) so fuel up before heading out onto the open prairies of Hwy 160 East. The Appaloosa Gallery just south of Branson on Hwy 160 sells candy and cold beverages.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Rocky Ford (Christine’s Restaurant)
The church building that now houses Christine’s Restaurant was built in 1910 by a group of men “with a vision.” St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church held its first services in the building in 1911. From the day the doors opened until 1959, all services were conducted in German. In 1972, the final church service was held due to declining attendance and membership. Over the years the former church was used as an antique shop, a funeral home, and even as a weekend “get-away” for one local owner. Mike and Christine Laurent purchased the building in 2004 and began renovations. Christine’s opened for business in January 2005.
209 North 2nd Street
Rocky Ford, CO 81067
Hours of Operation
Christine’s Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch and Friday nights 5:30-8:00 p.m. for evening dining.
For east bounders on US Hwy 50, 2nd Street is the last city street on the west end of town. Turn left onto 2nd Street. Drive 2 blocks. The restaurant is located on the right (west) side of 2nd Street. For west bounders on US Hwy 50, 2nd Street is the first city street upon entering Rocky Ford from the west. Turn left onto 2nd Street, and drive 2 blocks. The restaurant is located on the left (west).
Stage Stop HotelDuring the 1800s, Springfield was a main stop along the stage line between Texas and Canada. With the introduction of the automobile came the necessity of hotels. The Stage Stop Hotel is Springfield’s longest functioning and oldest surviving hotel. Opened in 1923 as the Commercial Hotel, it has operated continuously up to the present, known as the Hamilton Hotel from 1943 until 1987, when it finally received its current name. Interestingly, it was the in 1990s that the hotel was actually used as a ‘stage stop’ for a mail contractor with runs to Denver, living up to its name and history.
1033 Main St.
Springfield, CO 81073
The hotel is located on Main street in downtown Springfield.
Also visit the Old Trail Art Gallery in Las Animas at the only stoplight, the Kit Carson Museum in Las Animas, the 1902 Jail Building near the Bent County Courthouse, Boggsville south of Las Animas and Old Bent’s Fort west of Las Animas. (Each also listed separately on this website.)