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Wagon Roads

Updated December 05, 2004

Bozeman Trail  A relatively short-lived trail from Colorado to Montana.

Butterfield Trail  An historic overland mail route that passed from near St. Louis through Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California before the Civil War. In Oklahoma, it passed from Ft. Smith through Brazil Station, Holloway's, Riddle's, Pulsey's, Buffalo Station, Blackburn's, Waddell's, Geary's, Atoka, Boggy Depot, and Ft. Washita to Colbert's Ferry.  Historical account [broken link], with map & pictures.  Also known  as the Southern Overland Trail. 

California Road One of the many trails to California, this one from Ft. Smith through the old Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation into Texas. It loosely followed Gregg's Route.

California Trail Not really a single trail, but a network of trails that led west during the Gold Rush. Map, with a valuable overview of the system.

Catskill Road  An early [before 1810] overland route from leading westward from Boston into central New York.

Central Overland Trail  Link between the Oregon Trail [from the junction of the North & South Platte Rivers] to the Mormon Trail [east of Salt Lake City].

Cherokee Trail  Followed the Arkansas River from Tahlequah through Kansas, Colorado, and into Wyoming, where it met the California Trail at Ft. Jim Bridger.  Used in the Gold Rush Days.  A clickable map is the gateway to an extensive tour. 

Chihuahua Trail Possibly another name for El Camino Real, as it supposedly linked Chihuahua with northern New Mexico. 

Cimarron CutoffAlso known as the Cimarron Route or Cimarron Trail, this was the portion of the Santa Fe trail that cut through the Oklahoma Panhandle.  It was shorter than the Mountain Route route through Colorado by about 100 miles, but had.

El Camino Real  Sometimes called just Camino Real, this was the main trail from Mexico to Santa Fe, and followed the Rio Grande Valley. 

Gila Trail   An oft-used term for the early southern route to California, but actually a network of trails.  The story behind this particular legend is included on a site that covers the long history of the quest for a southern overland route.

Great Genesse Road  An early [before 1810] overland route west from central Massachusetts through Albany, to Buffalo, NY.

Great Valley Road  An early [before 1810] road from Hagerstown, MD, to west central Virginia.

Honeymoon Trail  From Pipe Spring AZ, to St. George, UT.  Mormon newlyweds from NM & AZ used this road to travel to the Temple to seal their marriages.

Janos Trail  A trade route established by the Spaniards, extending from the copper mines near Santa Rita, New Mexico into Chihuahua and Sonora in northern Mexico.  Tradition has it that this trail used part of the Ancient Way.  Stories of the area from Territorial Days, and some recent pictures. 

Jonesboro Road  Early [before 1810] road from the coast of North Carolina across the Appalachians to eastern Tennessee. 

Jornado del Muerto Translation: "Journey of Death".  Stories of how it got its name are contradictory, but all go back to the fate of many early travelers along El Camino Real.  Maps of southern New Mexico now show this as the name of the desert area between Las Cruces & Socorro, between the Rio Grande and the San Andres and Oscura mountain ranges.  It lies in southwestern New Mexico, its southern end between Dona Ana and Radium Springs, its northern one near  Socorro. Traversable during the rainy season by those who knew the way and were accustomed to dealing with the hazards of the land, but fatal to many.  Conflicting accounts of this route persist.  Some say the true El Camino Real did not stray very far from the Rio Grande Valley, even during the stretch between Las Cruces and Socorro where travelers encountered rugged country.  Others describe it as  90-mile short-cut across the desert -- closer to a straight line that the widely curving river valley.  Old-timers, however, tell of parties that turned east too soon  and found themselves in the land-locked basin instead of crossing the open desert -- attributing many of the deaths to that area rather than to the trail itself.  As I haven't yet found any map, online or otherwise, that shows a Trail by this name, I tend to believe that the name is legitimately applied to an area rather than a specific route. Photos of the Organ Mountains clearly show the relatively lush area that lured some travelers down the wrong path.

Mormon Trail  The route that the Mormons followed from IL to Utah.  It paralleled the Oregon Trail in parts, but traversed the Rockies by the South Pass.

Mountain Route  The portion of the Santa Fe Trail that followed mountain passes through Colorado.  This was more rugged than the Cimarron Cutoff, but offered reliable sources of water. 

Nashville Road  An early [before 1810] overland route through Tennessee that linked the Natchez Trace with the Richmond Road

Natchez Trace  Originally an Indian Trail linking what is now Natchez, MS with Nashville, TN.  In the early days, Americans used it to return north after floating goods down the Mississippi by flatboat.  By the War of 1812, it had become a military road and extended all the way to New Orleans.

National Road The extension of Braddock's Road from Cumberland Maryland to Wheeling [now West Virginia] with a surface of crushed stone has been described as the most ambitious road building project in the nation's history.  In 1825, it was extended to Vandalia, IL and eventually reached St. Louis.

Old Spanish Trail  From Santa Fe northwestward into Colorado to California, a route for pack mules because it was too rough to be traveled by wagons.

Old Traders Trail In northern New Mexico.

Oregon Trail  Originally a network of Indian Trails, this system carried much of the traffic of the Westward Expansion.  

Ox Trains  Interesting account of the use of oxen to haul freight, though not about a specific trail.

Pony Express Trail   Connected St Louis MO, with Sacramento CA through a series of relay stations.  Some portions paralleled the Oregon Trail and others the Central Overland Trail.

Pottawatomie Co. OK  Early trails, with map.

Richmond Road  An early [before 1810] overland route from Richmond, VA to the Cumberland Gap where it met became the Wilderness Road to the northwest and the Nashville Road to the southwest. 

Santa Fe Road.  There was a feeder route to the Santa Fe trail from near Fort Gibson in what is now eastern Oklahoma, which extended north of the Arkansas River to meet the Santa Fe Trail between Council Grove and Fort Larned.  Locally, it was apparently known as the "Santa Fe Road". 

Santa Fe Trail.  Usually described as running from Independence, MO through Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle to Santa Fe, NM, but some maps include the leg from Franklin to Independence, where the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails diverged.  From near Fort Union, NM to a point west of Fort Larned, KS, travelers could choose from the Mountain Route or the Cimarron Cutoff.  The Santa Fe Trail became very important after Mexico attained its independence in 1821 and trade restrictions were eased.   Detailed  history and timeline.  General map. Large, detailed map [takes a long time to load].  Detailed account, no map.

Shawnee Wagon Road A freight road, which appears to have shared at least a part of the path followed by the West Shawnee Trail used for cattle drives.  Map. 

Texas Road  The first major cattle trail from Texas to Kansas, later called the East Shawnee Trail.  It crossed the Red River at Colbert's Ferry and passed near Fort Wichita and Fort Gibson, and crossed into Kansas near the Missouri border.  

Trail of Tears  Not a single trail, but rather the term used for various routes of removal of Native Americans from their homelands to Indian (and, later, Oklahoma) Territory.  See the worksheet for an overview and individual ITGenWeb sites for more detailed information about specific Nations/Tribes.

Wilderness Road  Opened after 1775 by Daniel Boone, linking Fort Chiswell in the Shenandoah Valley through the Cumberland Gap to the Ohio Valley.  In 1792, it was widened into a wagon road.

Zane's Trace  An early [before 1810] overland route through the Ohio Valley.

 

Related Links:

Cattle Trails Explorers Forts Native Trails Wagon Roads

 

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Updated 6/1/2006

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