Step Back into New Mexico History

FlyerFew sites in the nation encompass the breadth of history seen at the Fort Stanton Historic Site.   Early cultures lived along the Bonito River, leaving behind rich archeological evidence of human occupation. Spanish and Mexican settlers established communities in the nearby area, long before the United States sent the military west to protect settlers journeying to the region from the indigenous Apache Indians who claimed the lands as their own. Named for Captain Henry W. Stanton, the Fort was established in 1855 and operated as a military fortification through 1896.

The Fort Stanton Historic Site is a must-see attraction when visiting Lincoln County.  Nestled on Highway 220 that bisects the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway, New Mexico’s newest historic site features over 155 years of southwestern history ranging from its initial creation as a military garrison to its significance as the first tuberculosis hospital in the state, to an internment camp for German seaman during World War II.


If you are a lover of landscapes, a trip to Fort Stanton is an important leg on the journey through New Mexico.   The Fort was built along the Bonito River running through the picturesque Capitan Mountains with the Sacramento Mountains – and the beautiful peak of Sierra Blanca – in the easily visible distance.   There are few places in the nation that rival the sunsets in this historic and culturally significant area.

Fort Stanton is also partner with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which oversees thousands of acres surrounding Fort Stanton. Visitors are invited to enjoy the nearly 100 miles of trails, a camping area, and horseback riding operated by BLM.  The BLM operates an extensive caving program including studies of the For Stanton Cave and Snowy River, but the caves are not yet open to the public.

With 53 buildings along the Rio Bonito, Fort Stanton is an ongoing project of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, and we invite you and your family to come out and watch our progress.  It is a great place to bring your entire family for a picnic or a day of fun and exploration.

So, if you are looking for a special place to visit, a place to help you understand the history of New Mexico, and a place whose beauty and activity will leave an indelible impression on you and your family, please visit the Fort Stanton Historic Site and watch our history come to life.