Visit Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail. Take a stroll into our past.
At Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail ( a replica of the original Fort ) everything is authentic from the dirt floors to the piles of furs and animals hides displayed here. You feel like you stepped back in time standing in the same space where tribes and trappers exchanged furs for guns, knives, beads and other prizes of the sprawling frontier. Your history lesson begins when you get out of your car.
Antione Robidoux established the trading outpost in the late 1820’s in an area known as Robidoux Bottoms near the junction of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers just west of Delta, Colorado. This area was a hub for trails coming north out of the San Juan River Basin in South Western Colorado and north western New Mexico, meeting the North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail (a pack route traveling east and west from Santa Fe to Los Angeles). The Fort remained in operation until the mid 1840’s before being attacked by a band of Ute Indians. It has been speculated that the attack on Fort Uncompahgre was the result of built up Ute hostility stemming from the introduction of “Taos lightning” in the 1840’s. With the decline of the beaver population in the inter-mountain west, compounded by changes in clothing styles, the days of the mountain men were numbered. In 1846, Antione Robidoux joined General Steven Watts Kearny as in interpreter in Kearny’s campaign to the West in the War with Mexico. 1 Later expeditions through the area would note Fort in passing with time taking it’s toll on the structure.
Step back in time and visit the replica of an 1820’s era historic fur trading center and learn about the history of the earliest days of commerce on Colorado’s Western Slope.
[1. Hafen, French Fur Traders and Voyageurs in the American West, Spokane: The Arthur Clark Co, 1965: 281.]
Enter Fort Uncompahgre through the Visitor Center, bookstore, and information center. Here you will find answers to questions about what to see and do in the area, local events and history. Our gift shop sells items similar to the historic trade goods found in The Fort and books on the history of Fort Uncompahgre, The Old Spanish Trail, and the Western Slope of Colorado.
After leaving the Visitor Center, stroll down the tree lined pathway to The Fort. On the left is the pathway to the reconstruction of a Trapper's Cabin. Fur trappers engaged in a seasonal occupation. When winter cold froze the streams and snow blocked access to streams and trails, trappers would hole up for the winter. The Trapper's Cabin is an example of a simple living structure that provided shelter during the coldest months. On the outside of the fort stockade, tepees are erected on a seasonal basis. The gates to The Fort are ahead.
MEET ME AT THE FORT
Events are scheduled throughout the season. Deltarado Days, Living History Day at the Fort. Mexican Heritage Celebration and Christmas at The Fort. Re-enactors living the day in the life of a trading post. Live demonstrations, spinners, flintknapping, baking bread in the horno, music. FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY…call for schedule 874-8349
Antoine Robidoux and Fort Uncompahgre, by Ken Reyher, 1998, Western Reflections Publishing Company, Montrose, Colorado.
Fort Uncompahgre was constructed in 1828 by Antoine Robidoux, a trader based out of Mexican Santa Fe. The post was situated about two miles down from the confluence of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers near the present day community of Delta in Western Colorado. This location afforded abundant timber for construction purposes and for firewood, and pasture for pack animals. It was also a gathering spot favored by the Ute Indians, and a nearby natural ford provided easy access across the river.
Fort Uncompahgre hosts special events during the year, See the Calendar of Events for specific dates & time.
"Christmas at the Fort"
Follows the Delta Annual Parade of Lights
Fort is open to the Public Monday-Saturday 9-5 pm 874-8349