(Trinidad, Colorado)—Raton—Las Vegas—Santa Fe—Albuquerque—
Los Lunas—Socorro—Las Cruces—Anthony—(El Paso) ; US 85 and
Colorado Line to Texas Line, 523.1 m.
Two-lane, bituminous-paved roadbed. Blizzards sometimes block Raton Pass.
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway roughly parallels entire route.
Accommodations in principal towns.
North and east of Santa Fe US 85 follows the old Santa Fe Trail
and south of Santa Fe approximates El Camino Real (the royal
road). Both have played important parts in the history of the State.
Over the Santa Fe Trail came the first white men to enter New Mexico
from the East (French fur traders and trappers) followed by pack
trains and wagon trains. General Kearny marched his Army of the
West in 1846 through the valleys and passes between Las Vegas and
Santa Fe where later the Union armies defeated the Confederates and
thwarted their plan to block the flow of gold from California to the
South of Santa Fe is the country traversed by explorers, colonizers,
and those engaged in trade between Santa Fe and Chihuahua, Mexico;
in the lower Rio Grande Valley the famished Spaniards first came
upon the Indian fields of corn, beans, and pumpkin. El Camino Real
was the name given the route taken from Chihuahua by Augustin
Rodriguez in 1581.
Section a. COLORADO LINE TO SANTA FE, 194.7 m.
The northern part of US 85 goes through Raton Pass and crosses
alternating mountains and plains, connecting occasional villages of adobe
houses. The magnificent views with their vast expanses of sky and
level, grassy lands that sweep clear to the mountains are characteristic
of the entire route.
US 85 crosses the NEW MEXICO LINE, 0 m., which is 15
miles south of Trinidad, Colorado, over Raton Pass, so named for the
many pack rats on the mountainside.
The Wootton Ranch House, immediately north of the New
Mexico-Colorado Line, was rebuilt by Colonel Owensy on the exact
spot where Uncle Dick Wootton obstructed the highway with heavy
chains to insure payment of toll for the twenty-seven miles of road he
had constructed in 1866 over Raton Pass, until that time the most diffi-
cult section of the Santa Fe Trail.
The usual charge for wagons was $1.50 and old-timers relate how
Uncle Dick would hitch his mules outside the combination general store