Monday, January 11, 2016

Fort Union National Monument

View from south walking from site
of the Second Fort
We've spent the last few months in Arizona chilling in our usual winter spots. We drove to Denver for the holidays and on our way back we stopped at Fort Union National Monument in North Central New Mexico about 8 miles off I-25. We've driven by this numerous times but always with the RV so we never stopped. This time, no RV, so it was the perfect time to venture down a narrow road to the site. We were glad we did.

First, I want to say when searching for information it is easy to confuse this name with Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site which is on the North Dakota/Montana border (we were there this summer so you can see my post on Aug 8, 2015 in this blog).
Officers row

Fort Union Depot
The first thing that impressed us was the number of partial structures still standing after 150 years even with minimal preservation. The interpretive signs are very informative and most have photos which really help you visualize what you are seeing and imagine what it was like when in use. The stone foundations of the Depot are impressive. The National Park Service has done an excellent job with this monument. Be sure to see the website also (especially under Learn about the Park/History & Culture) as it is far more extensive than most NPS sites with a lot of great old photos.

Santa Fe Trail Wagon Ruts
A bonus to this stop is a roadside pull-out where you see wagon ruts from the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Union was a major hub for shipping supplies so the trail was very heavily used leaving huge "channels" in the ground.

If you are traveling on I-25 through New Mexico and need a break just north of Las Vegas, put this site in your plans.

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