Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

 

This website best viewed with Internet Explorer Browser

Use Compatibility View with Internet Explorer 10

Migration Home button3 150x75 copy

Top of Page

Routes in the 
Central Plains States

Pioneer Woman  (paleblue)

Migration Back button 150x75 copy

Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes

 

Introduction

List of Trails, Paths,

Roads & Routes

Directory of Historic

 Fords and Ferries

 

 

Image Gallery

Internet Resources

About This Webpage

 

 

 

Introduction

Introduction

 

Before the Civil War, the frontier of American settlement generally followed the western limits of the states bordering the Mississippi River, along with a slight western tilt that included the eastern halves of Kansas and Nebraska.  Beyond the edge of settlements such as St. Joseph, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska lay expansive prairies that eventually gave way to the massive Rocky Mountains.  Migrations via the Oregon and California trails into the trans-Mississippi West had bypassed this vast interior often referred to as the "Great American Desert" because of its comparative lack of water. California and Oregon had climates and environments more conducive to farming than the Great Plains and were rapidly populated, while the vast interior lay mostly vacant of American settlements.

     In the 1860s and 1870s, however, an increasing number of migrants turned their attention to those areas of the trans-Mississippi interior along the now well establish Oregon Trail and the new trans-continental railroad. Here they came into conflict with the Indian tribes of the Great Plains which included the Sioux, and Cheyenne.  Both tribes allowed travelers to cross their territory but would not accept permanent settlements.  When migrants began to push into Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Colorado in violation of native sovereignty, the Indians waged a determined resistance. Gradually, however, they were subdued and the Great Plains lay open to settlement.

 

 

arrow up lt blue 30x30

 

 

List of routes

List of Routes

 

Generally historic roads, trails and migration routes are defined as having their terminus in present day North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, as well as parts of Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado.

Central Plains Area map2

 

 

Searching for

 a Keyword

Dealing With

Broken Links

Links to More Info. and Resources

Links to the

 Routes Database

 

 

Seaerching for a Keyword

Looking For A Specific Place or Keyword ??

Use the “Find” function in the Edit pull down menu.  You can also access this function by holding down the Control key while pressing the F key (Ctrl+F) on your keyboard. 

 

 

Dealing with a Broken Link

Broken Link !!

If you encounter a broken information link Cut & Paste the entry to your browser’s search component.

 

 

Keys to more information and resources

KEYS to the Information and Resources 

Route: 5E1; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1);  Image Gallery: (1);  Road Trip: (1)

Image Gallery = Link to a gallery of images that pertain to0 the route.

Map = link to a map of this route.  These maps have been developed from accounts found in various research sources.  The route lines, on each map, have been linked to the current modern roads found to be the closest to the original route descriptions.  Locations marked along the route are usually places named within the aforementioned research sources.

Road Trip = link to a webpage about ad driving trip along this route.  Here you will find an in-depth introduction to the route, links to additional information, as well as a map of the entire route and a listing of the U.S. counties through which it passes. The driving tour is divided into individual segments of 1 to 2 hours driving time.  Each segment includes a map, directions, and features of historical interest.

Info. Link = link to a webpage containing additional facts about this route.

Route = each route has a specific Identifier code (ID Code).   Each ID Code includes a number that identifies the cultural / geographical  area of the United States in which we have developed information about the route, the letter of the alphabet under which it is filed and a dedicated number for the route.  Thus data about the route designated as 5C2 would be found on the webpage for “Routes of the Southeastern Gulf Plains”, filed under the letter C route number 2*.  *The specific route number will not conform to a descending order as new routes are added to the database.

 

 

Keys to the routes

KEYS to the Routes

Use the “letter keys” to quickly locate an historic route.  Each identified route is listed alphabetically along with links to additional information, places where the route terminates, as well a short descriptive paragraph about importation aspects of the route. 

 

 

Key A 21

Key B

Key C

Key D

Key E

Key F

Key G

Key H

Key I

Key J

Key K

Key L

Key M

 

 

Key N

Key O

Key P

Key Q

Key R

Key S

Key T

Key U

Key V

Key W

Key X

Key Y

Key Z

 

 

A

A

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Abilene and Ft. Dodge Trail

Route: 6A1; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Abilene, TX

Dodge City, KS

That part of the Great Western Cattle Trail which commenced at Abilene in West Texas and concluded at Dodge City, Kansas.

Abilene Cattle Trail

Route: 6A2; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3);  Image Gallery: (1); 

near Wichita, KS

Abilene, KS

In 1867 Joseph G. McCoy, of Illinois, settled at Abilene to engage in the cattle trade, and he developed the Abilene Trail which connected with the already established north end of the Chisholm Trail. Also known as the Abilene Trail.

Adobe Walls Trail

Route: 6A3; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Dodge City, KS

Adobe Walls, TX

In 1874 Dodge City merchants and buffalo hunters established Adobe Walls as a trading center on the Canadian River in Hutchinson Co., Texas. The route was heavily used by hunters and hide freighters.  It was perhaps a sub-route of the Jones and Plummer Trail.  After the buffalo hunting ended, this route became primarily a cattle trail. AKA. Palo Doro Trail

Aubrey’s Cut-Off Trail

Route: 6A4; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Syracuse, KS

near Boise City, OK

This trail ran between the Mountain Route and the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail.  It actually began at Fort Aubrey near present day Syracuse, KS ran south westerly through Colorado and into Cimarron County, OK were it ended at the Cold Spring Campground near the Cimarron River. 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

B

B

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Black Dog Trail

Route: 6B1; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Baxter Springs, KS

Oxford, KS

A section of the Great Osage Trail in Kansas and Oklahoma was known as the Black Dog Trail. Opened in 1803 by Chief Black Dog (Manka-Chonka) and his band of Osage Indians.  

Boone’s Lick Road

Route: 6B2; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Image Gallery: (1); 

St. Charles, MO

Franklin, MO

Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of famous frontiersman Daniel Boone forged this road in 1804. The pathway enabled settlers to reach central Missouri.  Later, Franklin, MO became the starting point for the Santa Fe Trail.

Burlington–St. Francisville Stagecoach Route

Route: 6B3; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

Burlington, IA

St. Francisville, MO

The first regular stagecoach line in Iowa began operating in 1838 and ran twice weekly from Burlington through Fort Madison and Montrose to St. Francisville, Missouri—an 18 hour trip of 45 miles.

Butterfield Overland Dispatch (KS/CO)

Route: 6B4; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3) ;  Maps: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

Leavenworth, KS

Atchison, KS

Denver, CO

This stagecoach trail was established in 1865 by David A. Butterfield. It essentially followed the route of the Smoky Hill Trail across Kansas and eastern Colorado.  

Arrow (red up) 23X21

C

C

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Camp Supply-Fort Reno Road

Route: 6C1; Info. Link: (1),(2)  ;  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

Fort Supply, OK

Fort Reno, OK

This route was a secondary military road linking the two stations in Oklahoma.  It traveled in a northwesterly direction along the west side of the North Canadian River.

Camp Supply - Fort Sill Road

Route: 6C2; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

Fort Supply, OK

Fort Sill, OK

This military road generally followed along present day State Route 58 north from Fort Sill to the Canadian River. Then followed along the south bank of the river eventually crossing it near the mouth of Turkey Creek then in a northwesterly direction along Turkey Creek to Wolf Creek then along that stream to Camp Supply.

Camp Supply Road

 

see Fort Dodge-Camp Supply Road

Cannonball Stage Route

Route: 6C3; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1) 

Coldwater, KS

Wichita, KS

The Cannonball Stage Road connected the railroad to towns across southwestern Kansas. The Cannonball Highway later became U.S. Highway 54.

Castroville Cattle Trail

Route: 6C4; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

Castroville, TX

Kerrville, TX

A 60 mile long feeder trail of the Great Western Cattle Trail.  It started in Castroville, and ran northward through Bandera and Camp Verde, converged in Kerrville with the Great Western Cattle Trail.

Chisholm Trail

Route: 6C5; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Image Gallery: (1) 

Nueces River, TX

Abilene, KS

 Ellsworth, KS

Named for Jesse Chisholm this trail was used in the later 19th century to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads.

Council Bluffs - Old Ft. Kearny Road

Route: 6C6; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Fort Leavenworth, KS

Fort Calhoun, NE

U. S. War Department map of 1834 shows a road from Ft. Leavenworth up the west side of the Missouri River to Ft. Calhoun in the vicinity of future Omaha. The road also served the Council Bluffs Indian Agency at Bellevue, NE. Old Ft. Kearny was located at future Nebraska City in 1846.  AKA. Old Ft. Kearny Road

Crow Wing Trail

 

see Woods Trail

Arrow (red up) 23X21

D

D

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Dawson Trail

Route: 6D1; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

near Bryan, TX

Pueblo, CO

This route was created by John Dawson between 1859-61.  Dawson left for the Pike’s Peak area in the fall of 1859, striking north from the Brazos Valley in Texas to the Arkansas River, then heading west into Colorado Territory to Pueblo. This trail, known as the Dawson Trail would later be extended by others into South Texas and called the Western Trail to Dodge City.

Dodge City Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Douglas Highway

 

see Point Douglas to Superior Military Road (6P4)

Dubuque – Iowa City Military Road

Route: 6D2; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3); Map: (1),(2); 

Dubuque, IA

Keosauqua, IA

This road was built, at the end of the Black Hawk War in 1832 to protect Iowa City, the original capital of Iowa, from Native-Americans to the west. The highway known locally as the Old Military Road quickly became a major transportation artery for settlers of Iowa.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

E

E

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

East Shawnee Trail 

Route: 6E1;

Baxter Springs, KS

St. Louis, MO

The East Shawnee Trail is the name of the eastern branch of the Shawnee Trail (6S5).  Although there were several branches and places of places of termination the primary route terminated at St. Louis.

East Plains Trail

Route: 6E2; Info. Link: (1); 

Pembina, ND

St. Cloud, MN

This easternmost of the Red River Trails came into common use in the 1840s. Shorter than the competing West Plains Trail, it became the route of the large cart trains originating from Pembina.

El Camino Real (MO)

Route: 6E3; Info. Link: (1) ; 

New Madrid, MO

St. Louis, MO

The “King’s Highway” of the Spanish era, in Missouri, followed an ancient Native-American footpath.  It was laid out in 1789 and extended from New Madrid, through Ste. Genevieve, to St. Louis. Today many towns along the Mississippi River, including Cape Girardeau, carry the name “Kings Highway” on streets and roads.

Ellsworth Cattle Trail

Route: 6E4; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

near Johnstown, KS

Ellsworth, KS

In 1872 Texas cattleman were no longer welcome in Abilene, primarily due to tick fever, the unruly conduct of the many cowboys, and the destruction that the big herds did to local land.  As a result the cattlemen began to bring their herds to Ellsworth, about 60 miles southwest of Abilene.  Ellsworth began to thrive and that year, some 220,000 Texas Longhorns came up the Chisholm Trail (6C4) to the new shipping point.

Elwood-Marysville Road

Route: 6E5;

Elwood, KS

Marysville, KS

An early east-west road in the Kansas Territory. It ran from Elwood on the Missouri River to Marysville, in Marshall County, a distance of about 120 miles.  Its path is approximated by U.S. Route 36.  In 1860 the first railroad in Kansas ran along this route.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

F

F

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Fayetteville Emigrant Trail

Route: 6F1; Info. Link: (1); 

near Pendleton, AR

near McPherson, KS

This Native-American trail ran northwest from the Arkansas Post, the first semi-permanent European settlement in the Lower Mississippi Valley.  As people began to move westward, it began to be utilized to transfer pioneers to the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas.  AKA. Fayetteville Trail.

Fort Bascom - Fort Dodge Road

Route: 6F2; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

site of Fort Bascom, NM

Fort Dodge, KS

This old military road from Fort Bascom in New Mexico most likely followed the Canadian River east into Texas and then the Palo Duro Creek as it crossed the Oklahoma panhandle through the southeast corner of present-day Texas County and then northeastward through Beaver County into Kansas.

Fort Dodge - Camp Supply Road

Route: 6F3; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1);

Fort Dodge, KS

Fort Supply, OK

In the winter of 1868-69 a 790 mile long trail was made from Fort Dodge to Camp Supply in the Indian Territory, over which government supplies were taken to the latter post. It passed near the elevation known as Mount Jesus.  As such it was also called the Mount Jesus Trail.

Fort Gibson - Fort Smith Road 

Route: 6F4;  Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1);

Fort Gibson, OK

Fort Smith, AR

In 1826 Captain Pierce M. Butler and Lieutenant James L. Dawson surveyed a military road from Fort Gibson to Fort Smith. This route became the first planned road construction within the limits of the present Oklahoma.

Fort Griffin Trail

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Fort Griffin – Fort Dodge Trail

Route: 6F8; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Ft. Griffin, TX, SHS  

Fort Dodge, KS

That part of the Great Western Cattle Trail which commenced at Fort Griffin in West Texas and concluded at Dodge City, Kansas.

Fort Harker - Fort Gibson Road

Route: 6F9; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

Fort Harker, KS

Fort Gibson, OK

This historic road followed along parts of the Fayetteville Emigrant Trail.  The road was about 275 miles in length and crossed into Kansas near the town of Elgin. 

Fort Hays - Fort Dodge Trail

Route: 6F7; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Fort Hays, KS

Fort Dodge, KS

Established in 1867, this trail was utilized to transfer supplies from the railhead at Fort Hays to Fort Dodge, some 75 miles distant, as well as being an access point for emigrants and traders to the Santa Fe Trail.

Fort Leavenworth - Fort Kearney Road

Route: 6F5; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1);

Fort Leavenworth, KS

Fort Kearney, NE

This route connected these two major 19th century military outposts.  It ran northwest for about 240 miles through Maysville, Kansas and crossed into Nebraska near present day Steele City. 

Fort Leavenworth – Fort Scott –

Fort Coffey  Military Road

Route: 6F6; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Leavenworth, KS

Fort Smith, AR

In 1837 Colonel Zachary Taylor created a commission to locate a military road from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Coffey (Coffee), now known as Fort Smith in western Arkansas. This road as laid out was 286 miles long.  Fort Scott was located on this highway at a point about midway between Forts Leavenworth and Coffey. Today U.S. Route 69 follows this old trail.

Fort Riley - Fort Kearney Road

Route: 6F10; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Riley, KS

Fort Kearney, NE

This route travelled about 165 miles in a northwesterly direction from Fort Riley to Fort Kearney located along the Oregon Trail in Nebraska.

Fort Scott and Ottawa State Road

Route: 6F16; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

Fort Scott, KS

Ottawa, KS

State records show that this road was being constructed and modified in 1879.  Although the exact route is not known it is probable that the road approximated current US Route 54 between Fort Scott and Moran, and US Route 59 between Moran and Ottawa.

Fort Sill - Fort Smith Military Road

Route: 6F12; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Sill, OK

Fort Smith, AR

This 19th century military road ran between Fort Sill and Fort Coffee (now Fort Smith) by way of Camp Arbuckle.

Fort Sill - Fort Towson Road 

Route: 6F13; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Sill, OK

Fort Towson, OK

An old military road in southeastern Oklahoma that linked Fort Sill, Fort Arbuckle, Fort McCulloch, and Fort Towson. From Fort Towson to route extended as far east as Little Rock, AR.  Much of this route approximates present U.S. Route 70. 

Fort Smith - Fort Towson Military Road

Route: 6F14; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Smith, AR

Fort Towson, OK

A 150 miles military road from Fort Smith through the Choctaw Nation to Fort Towson near the Texas border. The road was constructed in 1831 by Capt. John Stuart of the 7th U.S. Infantry Regiment as a route to relocate the Choctaw during the infamous Trails of Tears incident.

Fort Snelling - Lake Superior Road

Route: 6F11; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Snelling State Park

Superior, WI

Construction of the first government road from Fort Snelling to Lake Superior began in 1852. It carried new settlers into the territory and later saw scheduled stagecoach and mail service. Portions of the route, also known as the Point Douglas Superior Military Road, are now designated as a Minnesota Scenic Byway.

Fort Zarah - Harker Mill Road

Route: 6F15; Info. Link: (1); 

near Great Bend, KS

Kanopolis, KS

This road ran in a northeast direction for about 45 miles along KS State Route 156 between Fort Zarah on the Walnut Creek in Barton County, Kansas, to Harker Mill located at Fort Harker, now Kanopolis, Kansas.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

G

G

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Great Osage Trail

Route: 6G1; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1);  Road Trip: (1)

The Osage Indians traveled among a variety of routes later named "Osage Trails" by white settlers. The famous Route 66 follows the route of one such "Osage Trail" and U.S. Route 24 follows the route (from Franklin, Missouri westward). In 1825 the "Great Osage Trail", became known as the first phase of the Santa Fe Trail.

Great Western Cattle Trail

Route: 6G2; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3),(4);  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1);  Road Trip: (1)

Dodge City, KS

Kerrville, TX

Ogallala, NE

Route used in the 19th century for movement of cattle to markets in the East. It ran west of and roughly parallel to the Chisholm Trail.  The original route was blazed in 1874 by cattle-drover John T. Lytle, who herded 3,500 longhorn cattle along the leading edge of the frontier from South Texas to the Red Cloud Indian Agency at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. By 1879 the Trail was the principal thoroughfare for Texas cattle bound for northern markets. AKA. Dodge City Trail; Fort Griffin Trail; Western Cattle Trail;  Old Texas Trail; Texas Cattle Trail ; Western Trail; Old Doan’s Trail

Great Western Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

H

H

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Route: 5E1; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1);  Road Trip: (1)

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

I

I

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Ioway Road

Route: 6I1; Info. Link: (1); 

Vandalia, Illinois

Fort Madison, Iowa

This route ran from the end of the National Road (U.S. Route 40) at VandaIia, Illinois.  Across Illinois it followed a series of small local roads to the Mississippi River.  It crossed the river to Fort Madison, Iowa.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

J

J

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Jones and Plummer Trail

Route: 6J1; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3),(4); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

Dodge City, KS

near Perryton, TX

 

This trail ran in southwesterly direction from Dodge City to the Jones and Plummer Ranch, located in the Texas Panhandle, on Wolf Creek just east of present-day US 83 highway. The trail served as a thoroughfare for pioneers and cattle drives but it was created by the freighters who hauled buffalo hides to Dodge City and goods back down the trail to serve the buffalo hunters and later the ranchers and settlers in the region.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

K

K

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Kaw Trail

Route: 6K1; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3); 

near Council Grove, KS

McPherson Co. KS

A section of the Great Osage Trail that was used by the Kanza Indians.  When it began to be utilized by American pioneers, the trail began at Big John, on the Kaw Reservation, near Council Grove and passed through present-day Florence, KS.  From there, it went to what was known as Big Timbers on Turkey Creek, where it intersected with the Santa Fe Trail.

Kiowa Trail

Route: 6K2; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Wichita, KS

Kiowa, KS

Ran in a southwest from Camp Beecher (Wichita), for about 80 miles, through southern Kansas to Old Kiowa, now Kiowa, Kansas.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

L

L

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Lampasas Cattle Trail

Route: 6L1

Lampasas, TX

Cow Gap, TX

An 85 mile long feeder trail to the Great Western Cattle Trail. 

Lane’s Trail 

Route: 6L2; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

Iowa City, IA

Topeka, KS

Named for abolitionist James H. Lane, the trail was established in 1856 to bypass pro-slavery strongholds in Missouri and provide free-state settlers a safe route into Kansas. The trail also served as part of the underground railroad, used by John Brown and others to transport slaves north to freedom.  Today the route is approximated by US Route 75.

Lost Creek Toll Road

Route: 6L3; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

near Westmoreland, KS

near Belvue, KS

Leaves the Oregon Trail about 4 miles east of Red Vermillion crossing of Oregon Trail near 23199 Oregon Trail Rd., Saint Marys, Pottawatomie County, Kansas 66536. Site is in the vicinity of N39.238674° W96.175022°.  Documented in1855 as a corduroy road built in 1844 by James Clyman and Nathaniel Ford who pioneered a new trail up Lost Creek to cross the Red Vermillion near present Laclede, and rejoin the original trail at Rock Creek.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

M

M

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Magdalena Trail

Route: 6M1; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Map: (1); 

Magdelena, NM

Winston, NM

Reserve, NM

Springerville, AZ

The country's last regularly-used cattle trail, formally known as the Magdalena Livestock Driveway.  Herds from eastern Arizona and western New Mexico were driven along this trail to Magdalena, where they could be shipped to market. 

Magraw Cutoff

Route: 6M5; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

N39.573269° W96.556959°

Marysville, KS

The Magraw Cut-off is an alternate route of the Oregon Trail that departs the
“Independence Branch” south of the Black Vermillion River at (N39.573269° W96.556959°) in Marshall County, Kansas.  It follows the divide around the headwaters of Corndodger and Elm (Mosquito) Creeks to it terminus at the “St. Joseph’s Branch” of the Oregon Trail at Marysville, Kansas.

Mason Cattle Trail

Route: 6M2; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1); 

Mason, TX

Cow Gap, TX

A feeder trail to the Great Western Cattle Trail.  The 40 mile route started at Mason, Texas and ran north near Brady to Cow Gap.

Matamoros Trail

Route: 6M3; Info. Link: (1);  Map: (1),(2),(3); 

Brownsville, TX

Kerrville, TX

This historic, 345 mile long, cattle trail was essentially a feeder route of the Great Western Cattle Trail from Brownsville, which ran northward through Santa Rosa, George West, Three Rivers, San Antonio, Beckman, Leon Springs, Boerne, and Comfort to Kerrville, Texas where it joined with the main trunk of the Great Western Cattle Trail. 

McCoy’s Cattle Trail

Route: 6M4; Info. Link: (1);  Image Gallery: (1); 

Wichita, KS

Abilene, KS

Joseph G. McCoy, a cattle buyer from Illinois, was instrumental in extending the Chisholm Trail from present day Wichita to Abilene, Kansas. In 1867, McCoy built stockyards that he advertised throughout Texas. As a result Abilene became a prosperous and famous cattle town from 1867 to 1870.

Midland Trail

Vincennes, IN

St. Louis, MO

see St. Louis-Vincennes Trace (6S1)

Military Road (6)

Route: 6M6; Info. Link: (1); 

Omaha, NE

Benson, NE

This route was laid out from Downtown Omaha in 1857 by Captain Edward Beckwith for the U.S. Army.  Originally a shipment road for military supplies to Fort Kearny, thousands of travelers moving to the Pacific Northwest used the road for the next 50 years as a part of the Overland Trail.

Mount Jesus Trail

Fort Dodge, KS

Fort Supply, OK

Another name for the Fort Dodge to Camp Supply Trail.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

N

N

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

O

O

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Oketo Cutoff

Route: 6O1; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

near Beattie, KS

near Endicott, NE

From the middle of Oct. 1862, until Mar. 4, 1863, Ben Holladay's Overland Stage followed this cutoff. which left the Military Road about 1 mile west of Guittard's Station, crossing the Big Blue River at Oketo, about 10 miles north of Marysville, on the edge of the Otoe Indian Reservation. It rejoined the original trail 3 miles west of Pawnee or Rock House Station. This station was about 3 miles northeast of present Steele City, Nebraska.

Old Doan Trail 

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Old Military Road (6)

 

Another name for the Dubuque – Iowa City Military Road (6D2).

Old Texas Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Osage Trace in Missouri

Route: 6O2; Info. Link: (1); 

Franklin, MO

 Fort Osage, MO

A part of the Great Osage Trail that followed the route of the Santa Fe Trail across Missouri. Follows today’s Missouri Highway 87. 

Osage Trace in Oklahoma

Route: 6O3; Info. Link: (1); 

Baxter Springs, KS

Fort Smith AR

This Native-American route known as the Osage Trace followed the Grand River from Kansas to the vicinity of present Fort Gibson, where it turned east toward Fort Smith. The Osage used the pathway in their travels to and from the plains. One of their objectives in passing this way may have been to acquire salt from various salt springs in the Grand (Neosho) River valley. French and American traders from the east also used the trace to reach the Osage.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

P

P

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Palo Doro Trail

 

Another name for the Adobe Walls Trail (6A3)

Parallel Road

Route: 6P1; Info. Link: (1); 

Atchison, KS

near Ionia, KS

In 1859 when gold was discovered near Denver City, Kansas Territory, Atchison business men sought to take advantage of their geographical location and open a new road to the mines which would follow the 1st Standard Parallel as closely as possible. It was believed that about 60 miles could be saved by a road due west which would join the Pikes Peak Express route in present Jewell County.

Pawnee Trail

Route: 6P2; Info. Link: (1); 

Ness County, KS

Merrick County, NE

The southern terminus was located near the Pawnee River in Ness County, Kansas in the vicinity of N38.275552° W99.896470°.  The trail ran in a north-south direction from Kansas into Nebraska.  It crossed the Platte River between Chapman and Central City located in Merrick County. It is not known how far north this trail extended. 

Pembina Cart Trail

Route: 6P3; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3),(4),(5); 

St. Paul, MN

Pembina, ND

Eastern segment of the Red River Trail it ran east of the Red river to the south before crossing the Mississippi River and going to St. Paul. AKA. St. Paul-Pembina Road

Pembina Trail

 

see Woods Trail

Point Douglas to Superior Military Road

Route: 6P4; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3);  Road Trip: (1),(2)

Point Douglas,  MN

Superior, WI

In 1855 the federal government began building this road. Although intended as a highway for troop movement, this route from Hastings, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin was one of the first roads in Minnesota Territory.  AKA. Point Douglas to St. Louis River Military Road and as Douglas Highway.

Point Douglas to St. Louis River Military Road

 

See Point Douglas to Superior Military Road.

Ponca Trail

Route: 6P5; 

 

Arkansas City, KS

 near White Eagle, OK

 

This trail from Arkansas City to Ponca agency on the Salt Fork river, being about 35 miles long. Many trails branched from it leading to Indian agencies, cow camps and soldiers' camps. This trail also became a stage line until the building of the Santa Fe RR in 1886. It was over this trail that home-seekers traveled in April, 1889, to reach the first land opened for settlement in Oklahoma.

Potter-Bacon Cutoff

 

Another name for the Potter-Blocker Trail.

Potter-Blocker Trail

Route: 6P6; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3); 

 

Albany, TX

Cheyenne, WY

One of several collateral branches of the Great Western Cattle Trail.  The trail was blazed by Jack Potter who used it to move cattle to market, starting around 1883.

Preston Road

 

Another name for the Shawnee Trail.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

Q

Q

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

R

R

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Red River Trail (TX/KS)

 

See Chisholm Trail for more information.

Red River Trails (ND/MN)

Route: 6R1; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3),(4);  Map: (1); 

Winnipeg, Manitoba

eastern North Dakota,

western & central Minnesota

The Red River Trails were a network of three major ox cart known as the West Plains Trail, East Plains Trail and Woods Trails.  These routes connected the Red River Colony (the "Selkirk Settlement") and Fort Garry in British North America with the head of navigation on the Mississippi River in the United States.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

S

S

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Saint Louis Trace

 

Another name for the Saint Louis-Vincennes Trace.

Saint Louis-Vincennes Trace

Route: 6S1; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

 

Vincennes, IN

St. Louis, MO

An East-West trail that ran across southern Illinois. The later stagecoach road followed basically the route we know today as U.S. Route 50.  AKA. Vincennes-St. Louis Trace ; Midland Trail, Saint Louis Trace

Saint Paul-Pembina Road

 

see Woods Trail

Saint Paul Trail

 

see Woods Trail

San Angelo - Coleman Cattle Trail

Route: 6S4; Info. Link: (1); 

near San Angelo, TX

Coleman, TX

One of two feeder trails from Tom Green County, Texas to the main trunk of the Great Western Cattle Trail.  This 70 mile route ran to Coleman, Texas.  

San Angelo - Fort Griffin Cattle Trail

Route: 6S5; Info. Link: (1); 

near San Angelo, TX

Fort Griffin, TX

One of two feeder trails from Tom Green County, Texas to the main trunk of the Great Western Cattle Trail.  This 140 mile route ran through Buffalo Gap, and most likely Abilene to Fort Griffin.  

San Saba Cattle Trail

Route: 6S6;

San Saba, TX

Cow Gap, TX

A 45 mile long feeder route to the main trunk of the Great Western Cattle Trail.

Santa Fe Road

Route: 6S7; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Gibson, OK

Great Bend, KS

Name for the segment of the Fort Smith-Santa Fe Trail migration route from eastern Oklahoma, along the north side of the Arkansas River to near Great Bend, KS where it linked with the Santa Fe Trail.

Sedalia Trail

 

Another name for the Shawnee Trail

Shawnee Trail (6)

Route: 6S8; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Image Gallery: (1),(2) 

Nueces River, TX

Sedalia, MO

The earliest and easternmost of the principal routes by which Texas longhorn cattle were taken afoot, starting in the 1840’s, to railheads to the north. The trail split into terminal branches that ended at various points in Missouri and in other towns in eastern Kansas.  Although there were several branches north of Baxter Springs, KS the main or middle route ended at Sedalia, MO.  The East Branch terminated at St. Louis, MO and the West Branch at Kansas City, MO.  AKA. Sedalia Trail, Texas Road, Preston Road.

Shoo Fly Trail

Route: 6S9; Info. Link: (1); 

Arkansas City, KS

Caldwell, KS

This trail led to the southwest and was used as a freight route and stage line to Hunnewell and Caldwell, and like all other trails branched south and west.

Smoky Hill Trail

Route: 6S10; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3),(4);  Map Gallery: (1); 

Image Gallery: (1); 

 

Kansas City, MO

Leavenworth, KS

Denver, CO

The Smoky Hill Trail was a route originally used in 1859-61 by prospectors heading for the gold fields near Denver in what was then Kansas Territory, it extended west from the Missouri River across the central Great Plains spanning the length of what is today Kansas and the eastern portion of Colorado.  It was utilized as a stagecoach route from 1865 to 1870 by the Butterfield Overland Dispatch and Wells Fargo. 

Starvation Trail

Route: 6S11; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

Cedar Point, CO

Denver, CO

Name of the middle segment of the Smoky Hill Trail in Colorado.  It was a direct western cutoff from the northern segment of the Smoky Hill Trail at Cedar Point.  It then ran west through the Beuck Draw in Elbert County.  It generally followed near present day CO Route 86 to the Kiowa Creek crossing and then a northwest route to Denver, where present day Smoky Hill Road runs on the ridge of Sampson Gulch and coincides very closely with the Starvation Trail. The trail intersected with the southern segment of the Smoky Hill Trail near present Quincy Avenue in Denver. 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

T

T

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Tascosa-Dodge City Trail

Route: 6T1; Info. Link: (1),(2); 

Dodge City, KS

Tascosa, TX

This trail to the Texas Panhandle was about 240 in length and was divided into two distinct sections: the northern half through Kansas, which was, in fact, the Jones and Plummer Trail; and the southern leg ran from Beaver, Oklahoma, to Tascosa.

Telegraph Road

Route: 6T2; Info. Link: (1); 

Wyandott County, KS

Omaha, NE

This road built up the west side of the Missouri river in 1858-60 was not so much vehicular travel as it was to serve as access for construction and maintenance of the first telegraph line in Kansas Territory. This line became a link in the first transcontinental telegraph established by Western Union in 1861.

Texas Cattle Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Texas Road

Route: 6T3; Info. Link: (1),(2);  Map: (1); 

Baxter Springs, KS  

Colbert, OK

A later name for a segment of the Shawnee Trail (6S5) that was coined by southbound settlers from the Midwest to Texas during the years of the Mexican War.  The Texas Road became a major trade and emigrant route across the Indian Territory. It remained an important route north-south route until Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

Topeka and Eskridge State Road

Route: 6T6; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

Topeka, KS

Eskridge, KS

 

This 34 mile long road was in existence prior to 1879. Today the road is a segment of current Kansas State Route 4  that runs through Waubansee County to Dover before merging onto eastbound Interstate 70 at Exit 353.  I-70 and K-4 (which are also concurrent with US-40 at this point) then enter the state capital, Topeka.

Topeka and Ottawa State Road

Route: 6T7; Info. Link: (1) ;  Map: (1); 

Topeka, KS

Ottawa, KS

The exact route of this historic road is not known.  Research shows that the route went over a stone bridge on the Wakarusa River at a location due south of the community of Berryton, Kansas. This would place the bridge on the South Berryton Road which runs north-south between Kansas State Route 268 and Topeka.  As such it is possible that the Ottawa State Road ran west from Ottawa for about 20 miles before turning north for about 28 miles to Topeka. 

Trail of the Sac and Fox

Route: 6T4; Info. Link: (1),(2),(3);  Map: (1); 

Fort Des Moines, IA

near Vassar, KS

Name given to the route taken by the Native-American Sac and Fox during their relocation from eastern Iowa to the Kansas Territory starting in 1842.  The trail eventually ended at the land provided for them in portions of the present counties of Lyon, Osage, and Franklin, Kansas.

Trickham Cattle Trail

Route: 6T5; Info. Link: (1); 

Trickham, TX

Coleman, TX

This feeder route to the Great Western Cattle Trail was about 25 miles long.  It started near Trickham along the Mukewater Creek.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

U

U

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

V

V

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

Vincennes-St. Louis Trace

 

see St. Louis-Vincennes Trace

Arrow (red up) 23X21

W

W

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

West Plains Trail

Route: 6W1; Info. Link: (1); 

Red River Colony, MB

Fort Snelling, MN

This westernmost of the Red River Trails had originated with Native Americans, and before the ox cart traffic it connected the fur-trading posts of the Columbia Fur Company.  The trail travelled south along the Red River and the Minnesota River. 

West Shawnee Trail 

Route: 6W2;

Baxter Springs, KS

Kansas City, MO

A branch of the Shawnee Trail (6S5) from Texas to Kansas, which followed the Texas Road from the Red River to Boggy Depot then struck northward through the central part of the state.  

Western Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Western Cattle Trail

 

Another name for the Great Western Cattle Trail (6G2).

Woods Trail

Route: 6W3; Info. Link: (1); 

Fort Garry, MB

St. Paul, MN

This trail was created when the East Plains Trail and the West Plains Trail could not be effectively utilized due to problems with the Native-American along those routes.  The traders therefore created this alternate trail between the headwaters of the Mississippi River and the settlements near the Canadian Border. AKA. Crow Wing Trail, Saint Paul Trail, Saint Paul Pembina Road, Pembina Cart Road, and Pembina Trail.

Arrow (red up) 23X21

X

X

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

Y

Y

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

z

Z

NAME
(Resource Links)

Places of
Termination

Descriptive Information

 

 

arrow up lt blue 30x30

 

Image Gallery

Image Gallery

During our research we have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a variety of historic American roads, trails and migration routes.  Some of them are presented on this website because we believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of this topic as well as our ancestors past lives.