Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Kit Carson

#52 of 120 in Historic Sites in Colorado
Must see · Historic Site · Tourist Spot
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in Kiowa County, Colorado, near Eads and Chivington in Kiowa County commemorating the Sand Creek Massacre that occurred here on November 29, 1864. The site is about 170 miles (270 km) southeast of Denver and about 125 miles (200 km) east of Pueblo. A few basic park facilities have been opened at this site.

In 1999, archaeological teams from the National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior BLM, Colorado Historical Society and accompanied by Native American observers, made a major archaeological discovery of remains of the massacre site. Large numbers of period bullets, camp equipment, and other items convinced the NPS that they had found the correct site. Subsequent transfers of ownership from the Dawson family, former owners of the property have left the title of the site to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes with management to be undertaken by NPS. The National Park Service offers scheduled Ranger-led programs without charge during hours of operation, from 9 am – 4 pm, April 1 – December 1, or by advance appointment in the winter season.

The Historical Site was authorized by Public Law 106-465 on November 7, 2000, in order to "recognize the national significance of the massacre in American history, and its ongoing significance to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people and the descendants of the massacre victims." The law authorized establishment of the site once the National Park Service acquired sufficient land from willing sellers to preserve, commemorate, and interpret the massacre. The site near the junction of County Road 54 and County Road "W" was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2001. On August 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave final approval for the site. On April 23, 2007 it was announced that site would become America's 391st official park unit with an effective date of April 27, 2007. The dedication ceremony was held on April 28, 2007.
Currently the Site encompasses 12,583 acres (5,092 ha) of which 2,385 acres (965 ha) are federally owned. By 2004 the federal government acquired 920 acres (3.7 km2) from private land owners. On September 9, 2006 the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma conveyed to the United States title to 1,465 acres (6 km2) to be held in trust for the National Historic Site. The site includes 640 acres acquired and preserved by the American Battlefield Trust and its partners.
The site contains a small visitor center, interpretive plaques and signage, monuments located on a hilltop overlooking the massacre site, and two walking trails. The massacre site itself is off-limits to visitors.

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Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site reviews

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79 reviews
  • It takes a little effort to get here (meaning 8 miles on a dirt road), but it is well worth the effort. It's hard to write a review for a place like this. The park itself is beautiful and peaceful...  more »
  • This Historic Site in far Eastern Colorado is outstanding and quite moving. The peaceful prairie site in 2020 is a stark contrast to the horror inflicted by the cowardly Colonel Chivington, for whom.....  more »
  • I arrived around 1 30am. The sky was endless, and the milky way looked like clouds going from horizon to horizon. I would encourage every one who visits such a sacred place, to offer some tobacco to mother earth, and to all those who perished upon that sand. The night was powerful, and filled with activity. I encourage everyone to experience this, and to remember.....leave an offering. Leave some tobacco upon the ground. Say a prayer. Honor those who were killed simply because they were free.
  • This National Historic Site was heart wrenching to visit. As you read the panels and information presented it is difficult to comprehend the cruelty that happened here. The park itself is small but features a beautiful memorial overlook and a nice trail. The visitor center is minimal but the park rangers are friendly and knowledgeable. It is worth visiting and learning about this tragic piece of history.

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