La Junta is located in southeastern Colorado, about 60 miles east of Pueblo. The county seat of Otero County, La Junta has for more than a hundred years formed a junction for commercial, agricultural, and ranching ventures. Before that La Junta was the junction where the Santa Fe Trail branched south to New Mexico, while a lesser route continued west to Pueblo and beyond. The Santa Fe Trail was one of the nation's first great trade routes.
La Junta sits on the south bank of the Arkansas River in what is primarily shortgrass prairie country. The mountains for which Colorado is so famous can be seen to the west, but this is rolling prairie land. Farming dominates the landscape in a narrow corridor along the river, while a short excursion north or south of US Highway 50 brings travelers to miles upon miles of grasslands.
We are home to a regional medical center and specialty clinics, as well as a number of retirement communities. We have an excellent K-12 school system, and Otero Junior College. The college hosts a number of technical certificate programs, a well-regarded nursing program, and a law enforcement academy. The City hosts a number of light industries and an airport in an industrial park north of town, a railyard, and a downtown business district typical of small western towns.
La Junta Golf Club offers nine competitive holes featuring bent grass greens and blue grass fairways.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site features a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade. Today, living historians recreate the sights, sounds, and smells of the past with guided tours, demonstrations and special events - National Park Service. Click on the thumbnail for a gallery from the 4th of July celebration at the fort.
The Kiva, which is owned by Otero Junior College, is unusual in that it was built by the La Junta Boy Scout troop under the inspired leadership of James Francis "Buck" Burshears, and the original 1949 structure is a registered state historic site of the Colorado Historical Society, housing a collection of Native American art and artifacts considered to be among the finest in the world. Today the Koshare Indian Kiva not only houses an impressive museum, but a first class gift shop, and of course the Kiva itself which provides the center stage for the world-famous Koshare Indian Dancers.
Geologically scenic Vogel Canyon is a tributary of the Purgatorie River Drainage. Two permanent springs located at the bottom of the canyon, help support a variety of wildlife, which can best be seen early in the morning or just before sunset.
Four hiking trails take you to the canyon bottom and mesa top, while walking through shortgrass prairie and juniper trees. - US Forest Service