Kit Carson Museum at Rayado

17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, NM 87714 - United States




Free Everyday

Rayado was founded by Lucien Maxwell in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War as the first plains settlement in New Mexico east of the mountain valleys of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Settlers often risked attacks by Native Americans including the Apache and Comanche, so Maxwell persuaded his friend Kit Carson to help provide security in 1849. A detachment of US Army Dragoons was based at Rayado the following year. After a few years at Rayado, Kit Carson returned to Taos. Founder Lucien Maxwell left Rayado to found Cimarron in 1857, and his brother-in-law Jesus Abreu and his family took over operations of Rayado Rancho. In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America built an adobe museum at Rayado to serve as an interpretive area to portray its history and recount the exploits of Maxwell and Carson. It was named in honor of Kit Carson.

The Kit Carson Museum is located seven miles south of Philmont Scout Ranch Camping Headquarters on NM Highway 21.


Staff at the Kit Carson Museum dress in period clothing and demonstrate frontier skills and crafts like blacksmithing, cooking, shooting, and farming. Each room in the museum is outfitted with reproduction furniture and objects typical of New Mexico in the 1850s. The Rayado Trading Company, located at the museum, sells books, maps, reproduction tools and equipment, moccasins, and blankets.

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