Santa Fe Trail Ruts Site
The Santa Fe Trail
Opened in 1821, the Trail served as a two-way commercial road that connected the Mexican settlement of Santa Fe, New Mexico with the growing American settlements in Missouri. Traders from both countries made huge profits hauling goods both ways. The road was a major link to the southwest until the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad reached Santa Fe in 1880.
This Santa Fe Trail rut site also contains the remains of the Eureka Irrigation Canal or “Soule Canal.” Built in the 1880’s, the canal was intended to irrigate farm lands north of Dodge City. The canal failed when similar projects upstream and a prolonged drought lowered the Arkansas River’s level.