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Bent's Old Fort and Oxbow State Wildlife Area - Otero County
Aliases: Oxbow State Wildlife Area
Ownership: None Listed
Description: The reconstructed Bent's Old Fort along the old Santa Fe Trail is the focus of a National Park. The park preserves a nice area of riverbottom cottonwood forest along the Arkansas as well as some open grassland and the terrific marsh where Black Rail was first found in the state. The rails can be heard from the county road, outside the entrance to the fort. If you want to bird the area in more detail, however, including if you want to access the riparian corridor, you will have to pay the National Park entrance fee.

Adjacent to the fort property to the east, both north and south of the river, is the Oxbow SWA, which contains more acreage of riverbottom habitats. Access to the SWA is from the south side of the river.
Habitat: Marsh, Grassland/Prairie, Lowland Riparian
Directions: From US 50 on the east side of La Junta, head north on CO 109 across the river and turn right to follow CO 194. Bent's Old Fort is on the south side of the road, about six miles from the turnoff. To get to Oxbow State Wildlife Area, take US 50 east from La Junta about seven miles to the turnoff for the SWA on the left (north), just short of the Bent County line.

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eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Bent's Old Fort and Oxbow State Wildlife Area Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Bent's Old Fort and Oxbow State Wildlife Area

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Black Rail17-91-265/7/1991 - 5/27/1991
Black Rail17-94-215/7/1994
Black Rail17-95-255/12/1995 - 7/16/1995
Black Rail1999-335/10/1997
Black Rail1998-395/9/1998