197 miles S. of Denver, 247 miles N. of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Western history and art are two good reasons to stop in Trinidad when traveling along I-25 through southern Colorado. Bat Masterson was sheriff in the 1880s, Wyatt Earp drove the stage, Kit Carson helped open the trade routes, and even Billy the Kid passed through. Many historic buildings -- handsome structures of brick and sandstone -- survive from this era. Plains tribes roamed the area for centuries before the 17th- and 18th-century forays by Spanish explorers and settlers. Later, traders and trappers made this an important stop on the northern branch of the Santa Fe Trail.

German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and Slavic immigrants were drawn to the area starting in the late 1800s for jobs at area coal mines and cattle ranches, and agriculture and railroading were also important economic factors. Ranching remains a cornerstone of the economy today, and the tourism industry is growing. Today the population is slightly above 9,000; elevation is 6,019 feet.