Fort Larned National Historic Site

Visited: July 2020

Location: Larned, Kansas

Accommodations: Holiday Inn, Great Bend, Kansas

Duration: 2-3 hours

Fort Larned National Historic Site was a stop on our way through Kansas while driving the Santa Fe Trail. Follow along on the trail at the following blogs.

Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail Eastern Terminus

Santa Fe Trail Central Route

Santa Fe Trail Mountain Route

Santa Fe Trail Western Terminus

We happen to visit this site during Covid so we were lucky they were open to the public. The visitor center was closed but we had checked before hand and knew what to do. We had them send us our Junior Ranger books and we knew to go to the blacksmith to get our cancellations. However he put them on separate pieces of paper so I just sent in extra pages when sending in our Junior Rangers to be checked and they sent us them back as well.

We started out walking into the entrance of the site, we were able to go in most buildings. This Junior Ranger required a lot of scavenger looking/hunting and finding things in each building. No problem for us. We only needed a couple of hints.

Fort Larned was established to help protect the U.S. mail and commercial traders attacked on the Santa Fe trail by the Indians, who resented the invasion of their homeland.

Fort Larned housed a mix of every culture: soldiers, plains indians, European Americans, Hispanic teamsters, hide hunters, scouts and railroad workers. The fort even housed African Americans known as Buffalo Soldiers. The fort is one of the best preserved western forts. The appearance of the fort today mirrors that of the later 1860’s. From 1865 to 1868 over 200 civilians worked to build ten sandstone buildings at the fort. Today nine of these building still stand.

We visited all buildings and enjoyed comparing the officer’s quarters to the barracks. For our Junior Ranger we had to be on high alert in all buildings to find objects, this helped to get the kids interested.

Blacksmith shop – kids LOVED Ranger Ben
People that stayed at the Fort engraved their names on the walls of the buildings
Courtyard at the fort

Well that pretty much sums up our stop at Fort Larned. We received Junior Ranger badges and cancellations in the mail. We are off to the next stops on the Santa Fe trail, it is so much fun. When you stop here make sure to stamp your cancellation in the Santa Fe Trail Junior Ranger as well and get your Junior Wagon Master Booklet signed, visiting this site gets you a completed task!!

Check back soon for more of National Park Trip Season 5, we veer off the Santa Fe Trail and explore the rest of the Colorado parks we haven’t visited yet.

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