3
Days

A Journey of Stones

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Visit 20 Historic Cemeteries

  • Fowler Cemetery
  • Valley View in Rocky Ford
  • Fairview Cemetery in La Junta
  • Bent’s Old Fort Cemetery
  • Calvary Catholic Cemetery
  • Las Animas Cemetery
  • Boggsville Cemetery
  • Fort Lyon National Cemetery
  • Union Valley Cemetery in Hasty
  • Fairmount or Riverside Cemeteries in Lamar
  • Amache Cemetery in Granada
  • Holly Cemetery
  • Towner Bus Tragedy Memorial
  • Sand Creek Massacre Repatriation Site
  • Chivington Cemetery (Abandoned)
  • Pioneer Cemetery in Eads
  • Walter Scott Cemetery in Eads (Abandoned)
  • Haswell Cemetery
  • Valley View Cemetery in Ordway
  • Olney Springs Cemetery

Stay in 3 Friendly Towns

  • La Junta, Colorado
  • Lamar, Colorado
  • Eads, Colorado

This tour will take you down the Santa Fe Trail through the heart of the Arkansas Valley in southeastern Colorado making a loop at the Kansas border and coming back through the High Plains area. From Pueblo, Colorado, travel to the east down Highway 50 following the Arkansas River and then back up Highway 96 as you explore 20 historical cemeteries in 3 days. Along the way, enjoy down home hospitality in three southeastern Colorado towns. This trip is for people who love to explore and connect the dots and clues about our shared histories found in southeastern Colorado. The cemeteries represent many cultures of people who came to follow the buffalo, set down roots as pioneers homesteaders, protect the Union as soldiers, create great wealth as businessmen, and looking for work and a better life as immigrants.

Tip

You can extend your trip by visiting other cemetery/grave sites along the way by checking out these links where you will find cemetery listings by county:

Tip

If you are traveling in the summer be prepared for hot days with direct sun and pleasant cool evenings. The wind may also be a factor in the spring season. It is possible an occasional rattlesnake may be seen so walk carefully. The autumn season in southeastern Colorado is a warm, beautiful time to visit as the weather is near perfection, the crops and farmer’s markets are bountiful, and unique wildlife and birds may be observed during your excursions.

Day 1

Activity

Visit Fowler Cemetery

Leaving Pueblo on Hwy. 50 travel east 45 minutes into Fowler. The Fowler Cemetery is located at 317 Main Street. This cemetery features a large number of World War II veterans as well as a large section of early pioneer settlers. Look for the cluster of graves associated with the family of Daniel Boone.

Tip

If you have time, make a quick stop at the Manzanola Cemetery located between Fowler and Rocky Ford on Hwy 50 at 31463 Rd 11 in Manzanola.

Activity

Visit Valley View Cemetery

From Fowler continue east on Hwy 50 for 23 minutes to Rocky Ford. The Valley View Cemetery is located at 27980 Co Rd 20. The Valley View Cemetery is well-known for the many Japanese Americans buried there. Other graves of notability include multiple graves of veterans and pioneers. After your morning explorations it’s time for lunch in La Junta. Get back on Hwy 50 and head east for 17 minutes toward La Junta.

Lunch

The Barista

Serving a variety of specialty coffees, teas and beverages. Made to order salads and sandwiches to eat in or carry out. Hand packed ice cream available year-round. Catering available. Located in the La Junta Business District Downtown.

204 Santa Fe Avenue | La Junta, CO
(719) 384-2133

Activity

Visit Fairview Cemetery in La Junta

Drive to the Fairview Cemetery located at 402 West Potter Dr in La Junta. This is a much larger cemetery that contains a number of Medal of Honor recipients, military veterans as far back as the Spanish-American War, and family members of Kit Carson, a famous frontiersman.

Activity

Visit Calvary Catholic Cemetery

This cemetery is located in the oldest part of the Fairview Cemetery and is designated for the Catholic faith. It contains a large number of Hispanic graves.

Tip

For the adventurous visitor take a little road trip to the now abandoned Martinez Cemetery located south of La Junta on Hwy 109. Martinez Cemetery is in the Nine Mile Valley near Higbee on private property and is also known as Old Higbee Cemetery. This quaint graveyard has some very nicely carved sandstone headstones, but many of them have been badly damaged over the years. There are at least 30 burials in this cemetery, but only 10 of them are readable.

Activity

Visit Bent's Old Fort Cemetery

This small cemetery includes 16 graves and a historic monument. The site offers interesting history about the people who lived at the fort in the mid-19th Century. It is located outside of La Junta at 35110 CO-194.

Dinner

Boss Hogg’s Saloon & Restaurant

This bar and grill features American cuisine including chicken fried stead, catfish, and a multitude of steak options. There’s a full bar, salad bar, full wait staff, and authentic heavy wood furniture. Kid friendly for the entire family. Serves local brew from the Durango Brewing Company (Dean Brewery).

808 E 3rd Street | La Junta, CO
(719) 384-7879

Activity

Dean & Company Brewery and Tap Room

Great place to stop in and have a beer. Highly recommend the IPA or the Colorado Wheat. Friendly wait staff, good food and yard games. Nice large TVs to watch games and space for the kids to run around. Bike, walk, run or drive in and have a beer. The first brewery established in southeastern Colorado.

201 Grant Avenue | La Junta, CO
(719) 363-1019
Opens 4 PM Dailey - Tours Available

Activity

Fox Theatre

The historic Rourke Opera House was originally built in 1912 as a playhouse, later renamed Rourke Theatre it had 768 seats. It was purchased in 1939 by the Fox Intermountain Theaters Inc. chain and converted to a movie theater renamed Fox Theater with 800 seats. The movie house remained open until the mid-1980’s, when it closed for renovations which included the sad, but inevitable, twinning of the theater with seating for 159 and 96.

It is now owned and operated by a private family and provides first-run movies daily.

11 E 3rd Street | La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-3699
foxlj.com

Lodging

Holiday Inn Express

La Junta (Spanish for “the junction”) rests at the intersection of the Santa Fe Trail with the Arkansas River. The town developed near Bent’s Fort, a fur trading post of the 19th century.

27994 US-50 | La Junta, CO
(719) 384-2900

Day 2

Breakfast

Copper Kitchen

You know you've walked into a local gem when everyone stares at you as you enter. This place is golden! It's your typical breakfast diner with a simple menu. Choose from booths, tables or even the classic breakfast bar to sit. Plenty of street parking outside. The week day morning is filled with locals enjoying their daily gossip and a cup of joe. Staff is friendly, warm, and quick to fill up your mug.

116 Colorado Avenue | La Junta, CO
(719) 384-7508

Activity

Time to get back on the road (Hwy 50) and travel just 22 minutes to Las Animas. Find the Las Animas Cemetery south of the town on County Road 10.75 by turning south off of Hwy 50 at the historic Bent County Courthouse.

Visit Las Animas Cemetery

The Las Animas Cemetery is one of the most interesting cemeteries on this tour. It contains a large number of well-known pioneers including the graves of cattle baron John Wesley Prowers, entrepreneur William Bent, and his well-known wife Amache Bent.

Activity

Visit Boggsville Cemetery

The Boggsville Cemetery and historical site is located just to the east of the Las Animas Cemetery. At the site there is a memorial to Kit Carson, famous pioneer, and some of his family.

Hwy 101 | Las Animas, CO 81054
(719) 456-1358

Lunch

Carmen’s Restaurant

Carmen’s Restaurant serves authentic Mexican food, daily buffet, and desserts include Fried Ice Cream, a popular item on the menu.

After enjoying your authentic Mexican food lunch, it is time to leave Las Animas and continue east down Hwy 50 to Fort Lyon National Cemetery. Travel 3.5 miles and turn right (south) at Co Rd 13. Drive 0.2 miles and turn left onto Co Rd HH/Trail Rd. Travel 2.8 miles to the entrance of Fort Lyon National Cemetery.

Located at 625 Carson Avenue | Las Animas, CO
(719) 456-0577

Activity

Visit Fort Lyon National Cemetery

Fort Lyon National Cemetery is significant for its association with the history of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Fort Lyon has a history that dates back to the Civil War, the Colorado gold rush, and conflicts between Euro-American settlers and Native Americans.

15700 County Road HH | Las Animas, CO
Website

Activity

Visit Hasty Cemetery

A quaint historical cemetery just off the road directly beside John Martin State Park. Contains the family plats of the Hasty family.

10260 County Road 24 | Hasty, Bent, CO

Tip

There are two other cemeteries off of Hwy 50 that requires just a short jaunt off of Hwy 50. They include the McClave Home Cemetery located in McClave, Colorado; and the Wiley Cemetery located just north of Junction 50/US Hwy 287 in Wiley, Colorado. The Wiley Cemetery has a decendant of Sand Creek who died in the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919.

Travel east 24 minutes on Hwy 50 to Lamar, Colorado where you will spend the night.

Dinner

BJ’s Burgers & Fries

This is very popular drive-in and restaurant with unique ordering systems and authentic burgers and fries, Mexican food, and ice cream sundaes, blizzards, and shakes. The basket-served food is a hopping spot in the summertime.

1510 South Main St | Lamar, CO
(719) 336-5386

Activity

Visit Lamar Cemeteries: Fairmont or Riverside

Both cemeteries have historical markers including a number of veterans and pioneers. Stay until dark and enjoy the cool summer air in southeastern Colorado.

Fairmont Cemetery is located at 224 Sage Dr, Lamar, CO
Riverside Cemetery is located at 1009 E Maple St, Lamar, CO

Activity

Buzzard’s Roost Bar & Grill

This place doesn’t disappoint. Cheap drinks, an unexpectedly cool section of craft beers, and some of the best food around. Try the calzones, pizza, wings and the meatball sub. All great. John the bartender (hanging out on his night off) is one friendly dude. When you’re in Lamar this is the place to be for great food, live music, and a lot of fun.

101 North Main Street | Lamar, CO
(719) 336-7415

Lodging

The Lofts

Spacious Loft located in the center of Downtown Lamar. 4 bedrooms, large living area, office, 1.5 baths, huge walk-in shower, steeping tub with jets and many other amenities await you. Shopping, restaurants & bars are all right outside the door of this hidden gem. Great for large groups, entertaining or just relaxing.

101 North Main Street | Lamar, CO
(719) 336-7415
airbnb.com

Day 3

Breakfast

Brew Unto Others

At Brew Unto Others our customers have come to expect a friendly smile & an awesome cup of coffee! We're here to provide a place for our customers to come and just relax. Do some work or do nothing—we don't care, we just want you to feel at home. Ask a local what their favorite is and they'll most likely tell you to try one of our homemade cinnamon rolls! Also, on the menu are Fresh Salads, Panini Sandwiches on our Homemade Bread or a delicious Chicken Wrap for lunch! Come on in & sit for a while.

119 S Main Street | Lamar, CO
(719) 336-1331
brewuntootherscoffee.com

Activity

Visit Amache Cemetery

Main page: Camp Amache

After a hearty breakfast get on the road and take Highway 50 to the east just over an hour to the quaint little town of Granada. The Amache Preservation Society (APS) maintains the physical site of Amache and is instrumental in its preservation. The society was established by Mr. John Hopper, a social studies teacher and now Principal of Granada High School and consists of volunteer students from that school. With the help of many other organizations, the APS has renovated the cemetery, established an Amache Museum and research center, restored key Amache landmarks, including the water tower, a guard tower, and barrack.

amache.org

Tip

Go into town and check out the Granada Amache Museum maintained and operated by the Granada Preservation Society. The museum is located in downtown Granada at 105 East Goff Avenue. It is usually open five days a week in the summer. During the school year, it is open on demand Mon-Sat. Contact the Granada School at 719-734-5492 to schedule a visit.

Lunch

Shorty’s Café

Shorty’s Mexican Food Café has been a staple in Granada for more than 30 years. People come from the entire area to eat their authentic Mexican food.

After you take in Camp Amache and the local cuisine travel 20 minutes back to the west on Highway 50 to Lamar, Colorado.

After enjoying authentic Mexican food from Shorty’s get back on Hwy 50 and head east for 15 minutes to Holly, Colorado.

200 South Snowden Street | Granada, CO
(719) 734-5500

Activity

Visit Holly Cemetery

From Granada travel east on Hwy 50 for 10.7 miles and turn left (north) onto North 1st Avenue Drive 0.3 miles and turn right (east) on Co Rd FF/Cemetery Road going 0.6 miles more to the site.

The Holly Cemetery features some Civil War era graves including veterans from the Sand Creek Massacre. Make sure to take in the large memorial stones designating the 1931 school bus tragedy in which 5 children and their bus driver perished in a blizzard. All six are buried at the memorial area within the cemetery.

Activity

Visit Towner Bus Tragedy Memorial Site

Main page: Towner Bus Tragedy

From Holly travel north parallel to the Colorado/Kansas state line for 32 miles to the small town of Towner, Colorado on Co Rd 35/Co Rd 78. On your way, some 18 miles out, the site of the 1931 school bus tragedy is designated by a memorial stone. The memorial is on the side of the road in the vicinity of where the bus stalled.

Tip

Once you get to Towner, check out the kiosks at the junction of Co Rd 78 and Hwy 96, telling the complete story of the Pleasant Hill School Bus Tragedy.

Activity

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Repatriated Cemetery

Main page: Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Traveling to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is an easy drive north 30 miles on Highway 287. At the junction, follow the Sand Creek Massacre signs to the east down Highway 96 turn right (north) on Co Rd 58 that turns into Co Rd 57. Travel 3 miles and turn left on Co Rd W. The park entrance is 1.7 miles.

The Sand Creek Massacre - 8 Hours that changed the Great Plains forever. The Sand Creek Massacre: profound, symbolic, spiritual, controversial, a site unlike any other in America. As 675 cavalrymen came around a prairie bend, the camps of Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Left Hand lay in the valley before them. Chaotic, horrific, tumultuous, and bloody, the events of November 29, 1864 changed the course of history.

Within the park there is a section that contains repatriated remains of a number of people who were killed at Sand Creek.

After your visit find your way back to Highway 96 at Chivington. Take the first dirt road to the south to find the abandoned Chivington Cemetery.

55411 County Road West | Eads, CO 81036
nps.gov

Activity

Visit Chivington Cemetery (Abandoned)

An abandoned cemetery located 1/2 mile south of Chivington on Co Rd 53. The cemetery is on the west side of the road and requires a little hike to get to it. Stones are located at the top of the hill. These stones are among some of the oldest in the high plains region of southeastern Colorado. One gravestone dates back to 1897. There is another stone of a small child with the date indicating one of the first to die in Kiowa County during the pioneering years.

Head to Eads by getting back on Hwy 96 and drive west for 12 minutes.

Dinner

JJ’s Restaurant

Serves a wide variety of American food. Popular items include the patty melt—crispy not greasy—homemade fries, and daily specials. The restaurant is old school but clean, features friendly waitresses. The food is filling and satisfying. Truck parking is even available. A short walk from the Cobblestone Inn & Suites.

505 East 15th Street | Eads, CO
(719) 438-2002

Activity

Visit the Eads Pioneer Cemetery

If there is still daylight after dinner, travel east from Eads on Highway 287 for 0.5 miles and turn right on County Road 41. Travel one mile. The cemetery is on your left.

The Eads Pioneer Cemetery features a number of large pioneer families and numerous generations of decedents. The cemetery interns a large number of military veterans’ graves marked with flag holders.

Activity

Visit the Walter Scott Cemetery (Abandoned)

This is an abandoned, pioneer cemetery south of Eads, Colorado on south Wansted Street. There are only three graves that have headstones with names and there are several graves marked with crosses.

Activity

Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center & Maine Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe

A historical theater in downtown Eads running current movies 3-4 times per week. Often times there are other events going on in the auditorium including Sand Creek presentations, talent shows, concerts, and music festivals. The Plains Theater will be the launching site for the Sand Creek National Historic Site tours in the near future. There is also a fun little ice cream shoppe called The Maine Scoop open Thursday – Sunday from 2 PM to 10 PM.

plainstheater.com
1304 Maine Street | Eads, CO

Lodging

Cobblestone Inn & Suites

In a rest area off Highway 287, this low-key hotel backed by open countryside is 2 miles from the Kiowa County Fairgrounds and 21 miles from the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. The understated rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus microwaves, minifridges and coffeemakers. A hot breakfast buffet is included. Other amenities consist of a bar, a gym, a 24-hour convenience store and guest laundry facilities. Pets are welcome for a fee.

501 East Lowell Street | Eads, CO
(719) 438-2021
staycobblestone.com

On Your Way Home

Activity

Visit Haswell Cemetery

Located on the west end of town at the junction of Hwy 96 and County Road 19.

This cemetery tells the story of early 1900 immigrants from the Baltic and Scandanavian areas of Europe. These immigrants were brought in to homestead the large tracs of land that became available during the Homestead years. The cemetery has a large number of Swedes buried within. Here, too,you can see the Spanish Peaks to the southwest, the Greenhorn Mountains to the west and Pike’s Peak to the northwest.

Continue west on Hwy 96 to Sugar City.

Breakfast

Lynette’s Sugar City Café

One of the best places around to catch a hearty breakfast. The space offers quaint decor and the food is hearty.

Continue west for 4 miles on Hwy 96 to Ordway. Turn right (north) at the Junction of Hwy 96 and Hwy 71 and travel 3 miles north on Hwy 71. The cemetery is on your left.

Another cemetery awaits you there.

190 Colorado Street | Sugar City, Colorado

Activity

Visit Valley View Cemetery in Ordway

The cemetery has some interesting residents including a couple of Confederate soldiers and a stone that indicates a KKK member.

In order to get back on Hwy 96 go back into the town of Ordway, go over the railroad tracks, and turn west at the first opportunity. The next and final stop is the Olney Springs Cemetery located 12 miles north on Hwy 96.

Activity

Visit Olney Springs Cemetery

At the end of Olney Springs turn south (left) on County Lane 8 and travel 1.6 miles to site.

This cemetery is a small unassuming place that contains an unusual number of veteran memorials with a focus on World War II veterans. There is also a veteran from the Sand Creek campaign, James Mock from the 3rd Regiment.