This cache is part of the larger Santa Fe Trail GeoTour. Be sure to visit www.santafetrail.org/geocaching to learn about the PASSPORT ACTIVITY to accompany this Geo Tour. The Raton Pass sits astride the Colorado-New Mexico border. From the 7,834' high summit of Raton Pass, the canyons drop away to the north for a spectacular view of Trinidad and SE Colorado. And to the south for a view of Raton and the west end of the volcanic Raton Mesa Group. This pass was difficult to cross until the Army made improvements during the Mexican War, but it was not widely used until "Uncle Dick" Wootton started improving it in
1864 as part of his toll road. The improvements prompted many travelers, including the stagecoach line, to switch to the Mountain route instead of
following the Cimarron route. The Santa Fe Trail caravans descended what is today Railroad Canyon (W of I-25) to Willow Springs (which pre-dated Raton). “Uncle Dick” Wooton blasted out 27 miles of wagon road and put in a toll road up the north side of the pass in 1866. Raton Pass and the Mountain Route bore heavy traffic at critical moments in the history of the Trail. The Army of the West led by Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny used this route in 1846 on its way to the conquest of New Mexico. The Trail through the pass was the strongest link between the Southwest and the Union throughout the Civil War. The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks over the pass in 1879, bringing about an end to the SFT. The pass today is the route of the railroad and 1-25 and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Most containers on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail Geo Tour are military ammunition canisters with an identifying Santa Fe Trail Association yellow sticker on the top of the box, under the handle and the dark green geocaching.com ID is on the side of the boxes with the information that provides coordinates, who set the cache and who to contact for information. Each cache contains a logbook to sign, a variety of items that provide information about the Santa Fe Trail as well as swag items. If you are participating in the Passport activity, the code word is located on the inside of the box, on the top of the lid and is clearly identified as Code Word. Permission to set caches has been obtained. We ask that all cachers please respect all property at the sites where our caches are set.
Also in this area: While in this area, be sure to take time and visit the NRA Whittington Center.
Founded in 1973, the NRA Whittington Center hosts many competitive, educational and recreational activities in all shooting disciplines and has some really nice Santa Fe Trail ruts running through their property. This facility is open to the public and has a nice museum and research library. The Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest focuses on the history of the Southwest, World Wars I and II with some amazing and rare pieces on display. Recently, the Corazon Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association worked with the NPS and the NRA Whittington Center to place two interpretive panels at the site of the bronze statue, “The Scout”.