La Junta is located in southeastern Colorado, about 60 miles east of Pueblo. The county seat of Otero County, La Junta has for more than a hundred years formed a junction for commercial, agricultural, and ranching ventures. Before that La Junta was the junction where the Santa Fe Trail branched south to New Mexico, while a lesser route continued west to Pueblo and beyond. The Santa Fe Trail was one of the nation’s first great trade routes.
Our town sits on the south bank of the Arkansas River in what is primarily shortgrass prairie country. The mountains for which Colorado is so famous can be seen to the west, but this is rolling prairie land. Farming dominates the landscape in a narrow corridor along the river, while a short excursion north or south of US Highway 50 brings travelers to miles upon miles of grasslands.
We are home to a regional medical center and specialty clinics, as well as a number of retirement communities. We have an excellent K-12 school system, and Otero Junior College. The college hosts a number of technical certificate programs, a well-regarded nursing program, and a law enforcement academy. The City hosts a number of light industries and an airport in an industrial park north of town, a railyard, and a downtown business district typical of small western towns.
Our city parks serve as centers for community activity. The fountain in City Park serves as a backdrop to kids fishing and playing; our ball fields are filled with tournaments of all kinds, all summer long. We have roadside farm markets, and ties to our railroading past and our history that go back before the fur trade. While our schools excel academically, support for high school sports rises to the level of fanaticism.