Protecting the Mail at Bent’s Old Fort

In 1863, the Civil War was in full swing, and the Sand Creek Massacre was over a year and a half in the future. Relations with the tribes in the area were peaceful, there was more fear of Confederates coming up to raid along the trail than of conflict with Native Americans. Come experience the fort at this time of incredible transitions, and talk to Stage Company employees and passengers, and soldiers of the 2nd Colorado Infantry. See how they lived and why they were here. Learn firsthand why protecting the mail was so important for business and morale!

The event will take place from 9am-4pm on Saturday, February 18.

  • 9am: Fort Opens
  • 9:30am: Mail Arrives from Fort Lyon
  • 9:45am: Mail Call for Military
  • 10-12pm: Visitors can observe the military, interact in the Mailroom and Stage Office, and see how a Stagecoach Station would have been set up.
  • 1pm: Protecting the Mail – Bent’s Old Fort in the early 1860s (Ranger Program in Fort Dining Room)
  • 2pm: Frontier Medicine in 1860s Colorado (Park Volunteer Program in Dining Room)
  • 3pm: Infantry and Cavalry, the 2nd Colorado (Ranger Program in Fort Dining Room)

The park’s fee of $10 per adult (age 16 and older) will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.

La Junta, CO – The annual Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site Evening Candlelight Tours will be presented on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 this year. The 90-minute Evening Candlelight Tours provide guests the opportunity to see the fort at night with plenty of living history staff dressed in period clothing. The event includes bonfires, music, cider, and tours of the fort that provide a view into the lives of the people who once lived and worked at the trading fort on the Santa Fe Trail during the Fur Trade and the Mexican American War in the 1840s.

This popular event requires reservations, and this year’s reservations will only be taken in advance through or by calling (877) 444-6777. A $10 per person fee will be charged for all participants, regardless of age. The first opportunity to purchase tickets will be on November 2, 2022, at 8:00 am. We expect to sell out of spaces quickly.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, the public is invited to come out to Bent’s Old Fort and learn about some of the military units that operated in the locality of the fort during its years as a Fur Trade Post and later as a Stagecoach Station. Volunteers and staff will present a military timeline showing the evolution of uniforms and equipment from 1833-1875.

The timeline will take place from 1-4 on Friday, November 11, and from 9-4 on Saturday, November 12.

In honor of Veterans Day, no entrance fees will be charged on Friday, November 11. The park’s fee of $10 per adult (age 16 and older) will apply on Saturday, November 12. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.

Striking up a tune (NPS)

The public is invited to join the inhabitants of Bent’s Old Fort on Friday, September 2 from 1:00 to 5:30 pm and September 3 from 8 am to 5:30 pm to experience the sights and sounds of Bent, St. Vrain, & Company in 1847.

You can explore inside the recreated adobe fort, smell period foods such as buffalo tongue and ribs being prepared, hear the pounding of the blacksmith’s hammer, watch a wagon be repaired, haggle with the fort traders, ring the bell in the watchtower and meet some of the fort livestock! Here you will truly be immersed in history, in the place it really happened 175 years ago. In addition, we will be offering a historic weapons demonstration at 10am and a guided Ranger program at 2pm.

Join us to learn about this pivotal time in history through the lens of over 40 living historians!