Fort Union: The Forgotten Fort
It’s hard to imagine what the reddish adobe rubble once was – the largest military installation in the Southwest. Located north of Watrous, New Mexico, Fort Union became a national monument in 1954 and three military forts are preserved on seven hundred and twenty acres.
After the war, a third fort was constructed, and those are the ruins that can be viewed today. Fort Union resumed its supply role, until the railroad replaced the Santa Fe Trail as a means of communication and commerce. By 1891, the fort was abandoned.
A highlight are the ruts carved by the long wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. Look for the marker along the walking path.
Santa Fe Trail Ruts
- Fort Union is located on NM 161, off the I-25, north of Las Vegas.
- It is open 8-6PM or 8-4PM seasonally.
- Admission is free. There are restrooms and a visitor’s center. No camping.
- Leashed dogs are permitted on the paths and in the picnic areas.
Know of a good fort that we can check out?
Two paws — three paws if you like history. I was allowed but the usual rules apply.
Lane & Juliet
The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.