National and State Register

Raton Pass

Las Animas County

Raton Pass provided the shortest and most practical route from the upper Arkansas Valley to New Mexico.  Both a barrier and a gateway, the Raton Mountains symbolized the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail.  Although not highly significant in the routine progress of trail development, the Mountain Branch and its most important feature, Raton Pass, played a significant role in military history. 

A black and white photo of the pass with rolling hills and trees.

Raton Pass

Kearney’s Army of the West used this route in 1846 on its way to the conquest of New Mexico.  In 1862, Colorado Volunteers poured through Raton Pass on their way to Glorieta Pass, where they defeated troops of the Confederate Army.  The property is associated with the Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail, 1821-1880 Multiple Property Submission.