Fort St. Vrain

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

Built by Ceran St. Vrain and the Bent brothers in 1837 near present day Platteville, Colorado, St. Vrain's Fort was a major trading post on the Platte River until 1848. The fort was built in the likeness of Bent's Old Fort in southeastern Colorado and remained a destination and landmark for many years. Eventually, it became the site of the first post office and first courthouse for what would become Weld County, Colorado. Unfortunately, the fort was allowed to fall into ruins and by 1951 so little was left, the site was leveled for farming. The monument shown here and a one-acre plot are all that remain today.

Picture of Fort St. Vrain Monument
Picture Courtesy of Joe Pinner at

Unfortunately, St. Vrain's Fort is a fatality of time and nature and is no more. By 1903 it was reduced to ruin and in 1951 local farmers leveled what was left to make farming easier in the immediate area. In 1911 the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument on the site of the original fort. The monument is all that remains today.

To reach the monument, travel to just south of Gilcrest, Colorado (near Greeley), on U.S. Highway 85 and take Weld County road 40 west to its end. County Road 40 is a gravel road and the fort is about 3.75 miles from US 85. As you near the fort, county road 40 turns into a narrower lane. Just when you think you're going to end up in a horse pasture, you'll see the monument.

You will be traveling through private property and the monument is surrounded by private property. So, please be respectful and do not litter.

If you are traveling on Interstate 25 north of Denver, Colorado, you can reach Gilcrest by turning east on Colorado Highway 66 (just north of Longmont) to Platteville and highway 85. Turn north on 85 a few miles to road 40.

Be sure to stop in at the Fort Vasquez Museum, about a half-mile south of Platteville on highway 85. They can give you directions and a map to Fort St. Vrain. You will learn more about the area forts from the staff there than anywhere else.

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