The Museum Campus on Camino Lejo is situated at the southeast side of town along the Santa Fe Trail route that traversed 900 miles overland from Saint Louis, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. This trail, along with others including El Camino Real (The Royal Road) from Mexico City and the Old Spanish Trail from Los Angeles, made Santa Fe the hub of international trade which many have dubbed an “inland port.”
Archaeological remains of the Santa Fe Trail are well documented in this part of town with swales of wagon ruts and cultural artifacts cast off or lost by wayward travelers. The Society’s property contains three archaeological easements. Two of the easements, known as ascents and descents, show paths that brought draft animals and wagons from the Arroyo de los Chamisos drainage behind the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art to the crest of the hill before descending again into the center of town.
The third easement is located within the driveway oval at the front of the Museum. Here, a Class I trail fragment is well-preserved and visible to the untrained eye. The National Park Service assisted the Society to install educational display signage beside the driveway to illustrate and describe the importance of this trail section.
Along with the historic trail, several paths connect the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art with Milner Plaza contained within the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Laboratory of Anthropology, and the Museum Hill Café. Further down the paths are the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. The dirt and paved paths have benches and sculpture displays for rest and enjoyment along the way.