The Taos Mountain Trail
Part of the noted Taos or Trapper’s Trail leading from Bent’s Fort to Taos ascended the Huerfano River from the Arkansas River to the old community of Badito, branched southwest up Oak Creek, and crossed the east side of Sheep Mountain and the west side of Mount Mestas to Sangre de Cristo Creek. The old pass meets the present North Veta Pass and, roughly, is the same route as Highway 160 west of the summit and entering the San Luis Valley.
The Taos Mountain Trail was the historic pathway for trade and business exchanges between Taos in New Mexico and the Great Plains of Colorado from 1100 A.D. through the time of the European and American presence.
The Taos Mountain Trail, between northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, connected the high mountain traders and their trading partners north and south of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Though the trail was narrow, it shortened a trip from Taos to the plains from nearly two weeks to three days in good weather.
It was determined that sending men out to visit Native Americans to conduct trade was more effective them inviting them to trading posts, making the Taos trail even more important. To aid the trade, Bent’s Fort was built in 1833 and El Pueblo Trading Post followed in 1842.
During the railroad expansion era of 1848–1853, the Taos Mountain Trail, was considered for a railway route. Although the trail was not chosen for the railroad as it was too steep, the report did provide documentation of the Taos Mountain Trail.