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Old Spanish Trail

While the California-Sonora trail was becoming a road, the elusive direct route from new Mexico to California again was sought. Where Garces and the Escalante-Dominguez party had pioneered paths, Antonio Armijo's journey from New Mexico to California in 1829- 1830 on a trail that lay north of the Grand Canyon was the first significant step in the development of the route that later became known as the Old Spanish Trail. A larger portion of the credit for opening the trail must go to William Wolfskill, the American mountain man who led an expedition that included George C. Yount from New Mexico via the Great Basin to California in 1830-183.1 ; the Old Spanish Trail would follow Wolfskill's route more closely than that of Armijo.

The Old Spanish Trail was more of a "central route" than a southern one, but until the opening of shorter routes from New Mexico to California in the early stages of the war between Mexico and the United States in the mid-1840s, the trail, used more for trade than emigration, was the most heavily traveled route between the two provinces. Its principal virtue was that it lay north of hostile Indian territory. But travel over the trail was slow, and it would lose out after 1848 to the more southerly routes because gold-seekers were willing to brave both deserts and hostile Indians to speed their journeys to California.


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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
Copyright ©Walter Feller. 1995-2023 - All rights reserved.
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