PROMO History - Bent's Old Fort Building Adobe NPS - Pixabay - Mike Goad

Programs at Bent’s Old Fort explore “Stories from the Borderlands”

© Pixabay - Mike Goad

Beginning July 4, the public is invited to discover stories from the borderlands along the Arkansas River in the 1800s throughout 2024 at Bent’s Old Fort. “Stories from the Borderlands” is a regular series of programs which will explore the complex histories found at the fort.

Visitors young and old are invited July 4, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to celebrate American Independence with a series of activities and programs.

  • 1:00 p.m. — Tolling of the Bell to Ring In each State in the Union.
  • 1:30 p.m. — “Stories from the Borderlands” Program – Bicentennial Commemorations
  • 2:45 p.m. — Water Bucket Relay – A popular pastime of Independence Day celebrations in the past. This program is kid focused, please note children may get their clothes wet.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Flag Give-away – enter a drawing for a flag that has flown over the fort – register when you enter the fort.
  • 4:00 p.m. — Fort and Parking Lot closed
PICT 64J1 Bent's Old Fort 2019 July 4th Parade -

Bent's Old Fort 2019 July 4th Parade. Courtesy NPS

“Stories from the Borderlands” will be offered monthly throughout the remainder of 2024. Each program will last 45 minutes and explore a different facet of the Fort’s story:

  • Bicentennial Commemorations— Thursday, July 4, 2024, 1:30 p.m.
  • This program will explore how the 1976 Bicentennial became a catalyst for commemorating history in southeast Colorado, leading to the reconstruction of Bent's Old Fort and the beginning of the Amache Pilgrimage.
  • The Fall of Bent's Fort: 175 Years Later—Saturday, August 18, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
  • On August 21, 1849, William Bent abandoned his “old” fort. This action has become shrouded in mythology and this program will explore the events leading to the end of Bent’s first post along the Arkansas River.
  • The Smell of Death—Saturday, September 7, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
  • What a difference a generation makes! This program will explore the distinctly different procedures between Buffalo Hunting for the Robe Trade at Bent's Old Fort in the 1830s and 1840s, and the Great Slaughter of the 1870s
  • Significantly Others—Saturday, October 12, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
  • The success of the Bent, St. Vrain Company was due in no small part to the ways in which each business partner became embedded in local communities. This program will explore the Native American and New Mexican spouses and partners of the Bents and St. Vrains.
  • From Trade to Tragedy—Saturday, November 2, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
  • This program will explore what happens to William Bent's Family from the Abandonment of Bent's Old Fort to the Aftermath of the Sand Creek Massacre.
  • Pike's Peak or Bust—Saturday, December 7, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
  • Learn how the discovery of gold in 1859, and the settler boom that followed disrupted the equilibrium of the Southern Plains and led to the Colorado War of 1864.

Guided tours of the fort are offered daily at 10:00 a.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Take a tour to learn more about the people and activities at Bent's Old Fort in the 1840's.

The entrance fee for people aged 16 and up will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.

Visitors should be prepared for the weather. Water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, eight miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas. Located on the Arkansas River, Bent's Fort was an adobe trading post on the Santa Fe Trail, where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade.