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Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes

Introduction

List of Routes

Image Gallery

Internet Resources

 

 

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. As such most migrants settled along the Pacific Coast in those areas that would become the states of California, Oregon and Washington, or in the case of the Mormons, in the mountain basin of present Utah.

     Migration to the American West began with the mining frontier which opened with the great rush of migrants to the mountainous regions following the discovery of gold in California. From 1848 to 1853, more than 250,000 prospectors flooded California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Although this rush for gold and silver weakened considerably after the many mineral deposits were exhausted and most mining towns disappeared the mining frontier helped lay the foundation for such major communities as Denver and San Francisco, cities that would become important political and social centers for continued migrations into the west.

     Even after the conclusion of the famous gold rush era, when hundreds of thousands of fortune seekers came west, most American migrants still followed the overland trails to their terminus along the Pacific Coast. 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, 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.

Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/westward-migration

 

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List of routes

List of Routes

 

Generally these routes are defined as having their terminus in present day Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho; northern Nevada and western Colorado.

Western Mountain Migration Map (blue)

 

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

LINKS = in the following list will take you to more information about that historic trail, road or migration route.

Road Trip= link to the “Road Trip” page of this route.

Image Gallery= link to the “Image Gallery” for this route.

Topo Map = link to a topographic map of this route.

 

NAME (A)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Armijo’s Route

Piedra Lumbre, NM to

Paiute Indian

Resevation, UT

Alternate route of the Old Spanish Trail that leaves the main route at the junction of US 84 and NM Route 96 near the Abiguiu Reservoir and travels west for almost 500 miles until it rejoins the main route at at Shivwits on the Paiute Indian Reservation in southern Utah.

 

 

 

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NAME (B)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Bozeman Trail

Laramie, WY to

 Virginia City, MT

An overland route connecting the Oregon Trail to the gold rush territory of Montana.

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NAME (C)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Carroll Trail

Topo Map

Carroll Landing*

to

Helena, Montana

A wagon road in Montana established c. 1874 used to ship freight from Carroll Landing* on the Missouri River to the Montana gold fields. AKA. Helena-Carroll Wagon Road, Helena Road.

 *Carroll Landing was located approximately 15 miles downstream from the current junctio0n of the Missouri and US Route 191.

Central Overland Route

Oregon Trail to

 Mormon 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

Image Gallery

Tahlequah, OK

to Granger, WY

Followed the Arkansas River from Oklahoma through Kansas, Colorado, and into Wyoming, where it met the California Trail at Ft. Jim Bridger.  Used in the Gold Rush Days..  aka. Overland-Cherokee Trail

Child's Cutoff

Image Gallery, Topo Map

Ft. Laramie, WY

to/ Casper, WY

Originally travelers on the Emigrant Trail crossed the North Platte to the south side at Fort Laramie. After 1852 they used Child's Cutoff to stay on the north side to about the present day town of Casper, Wyoming where they crossed over to the south side.

 

 

 

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NAME (D)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (E)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (F)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (G)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Goodale's Cutoff

Image Gallery, Topo Map

 

Fort Hall, ID to

Ditto Creek, ID

(near Regina)

Established in 1862 on the north side of the Snake River, this trail formed a spur of the Oregon Trail. Emigrant wagons traversed parts of the eastern section as early as 1852. The 230 mile journey typically took 2 to 3 weeks to complete.

Goodnight-Loving Trail

Image Gallery

Young County, TX

to Cheyenne, WY

Spanning more than 2,000 miles from Texas to Wyoming, this livestock trail was first blazed by Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving in 1866.

 

 

 

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NAME (H)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Helena Road

 

see Carroll Trail

Helena-Carroll Wagon Road

 

see Carroll Trail

Hudspeth's Cutoff

Image Gallery

Sheep Rock, ID to

 Cassia Creek, ID

Established in 1849 as route to the California gold fields.  This 110-mile trail headed almost due west and by-passed Fort Hall, Idaho.  It rejoined the California Trail at Cassia Creek near the City of Rocks.

Hundred (100) Mile Route

 

see Meeteetsee Trail

 

 

 

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NAME (I)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (J)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (K)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Kelton Road

Image Gallery

Kelton, UT to

Boise, ID

developed in 1860  from roughly the _City of Rocks_ via the main Oregon Trail to Boise crossing to the North side of the Snake River at Three Island Crossing or _Glenn's Ferry_.  In 1869 the Road was extended from City of Rocks to Kelton, Utah to connect with the new Transcontinental Railroad.

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NAME (L)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Lander Road

Image Gallery

Burnt Ranch, WY

to Smoot, WY

Formally known as the Fort Kearney, South Pass, and Honey Lake Wagon Road, was established and built by government contractors in 1858. It departed the main Oregon Trail at Burnt Ranch, crossed the Continental Divide descending into Star Valley. 

Leavenworth- Pike’s Peak Express Route;  Image Gallery

Leavenworth, KS

to  Denver, CO

Stage line began operating in April 1859 between Leavenworth and the gold fields near Denver

 

 

 

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NAME (M)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Meeteetsee Trail

Red Lodge, MT

to

Meeteetsee, WY

This old stage and freight road, founded in 1881 by the army, headed out of Red Lodge, Montana south to Meeteetsee, Wyoming. It is about 100 miles long.

Mormon Trail

Road Trip;  Image Gallery

Nauvoo, IL  to

Salt Lake City, UT

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

 

 

 

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NAME (N)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

North Side Alternate (Oregon Trail)  Image Gallery;  Topo Map

American Falls, ID

to Hammett, ID

This route, established about 1852, left the Oregon Trail and crossed the Snake River near present day American Falls, Idaho.  Today’s Idaho Route 24 generally follows much of the old track that ran north of the river for about 150 miles until it  linked backed to the Oregon Trail near present day Hammett, Idaho. 

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NAME (O)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Old Arizona Road

Topo Map

Pipe Spring, AZ  to

Salt Lake City, UT

Northern segment from St. George, UT linked the Little Colorado settlements in Arizona to northern Utah,  Southern  portion called the “Honeymoon Trail”

Overland Trail

Image Gallery

Atchison, KS to

Fort Bridger, WY

Due to Indian uprisings in the 1860’s the Oregon Trail through central Wyoming was relocated to the south, to a route which had been known, in part, as the Cherokee Trail.  It became the only emigrant route on which the US Government would allow travel, and consequently was the principal corridor to the west from 1862 to 1868. 

Overland-Cherokee Trail

 

See Cherokee Trail

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NAME (P)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (Q)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (R)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (S)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Salt Lake Cutoff

Salt Lake City, UT

to City of Rocks, ID

one of the many shortcuts that branched from the California Trail and Oregon Trail

Smokey Hill Trail

Leavenworth, KS

to Pike’s Peak, CO

Named for the Smoky Hill River that it followed across western Kansas. First used in June 1865.

Snake River Cutoff 

 

see South Alternate (Oregon Trail) 

South Alternate (Oregon Trail)

Image Gallery

Three Mile Crossing, ID

to Fort Boise, ID

Started being used around 1848 this spur off the main Oregon Trail by-passed the Three Island Crossing and continued traveling down the south side of the Snake River, till it rejoined the trail near Fort Boise in Idaho.  Aka. Snake River Cutoff 

South Pass Road 

 

See Lander Road 

Sublette-Greenwood Cutoff

Image Gallery

Little Sandy River, WY

to Bear River Valley, WY

A part of the Emigrant Trail in Wyoming that was opened in 1844 by Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party lead by mountaineers Caleb Greenwood and Isaac Hitchcock. This route completely bypassed Fort Bridger crossing the Bear River Ridge thus saving about 85 miles and 7 days off the main route.

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NAME (T)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Trapper’s Trail

Image Gallery

Taos, NM to

 Ft. Laramie, WY

As the nearest customs officials were in Santa Fe, Taos became a commercial center for outfitting the trappers and for trading in their pelts. The route over Sangre de Cristo Pass became known as the Trappers Trail and fingers of it extended northward into Wyoming. The Trapper’s Trail intersects with the Cherokee Trail between Pueblo and Denver Colorado.

 

 

 

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NAME (U)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (V)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

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NAME (W)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

Whitman Trail

Image Gallery

Council Bluffs, IA

to Ft. Laramie, WY

Parallels the Oregon Trail until it joins with it at Fort Laramie.

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NAME (X)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (Y)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

Arrow (red up) 23X21

NAME (Z)

FROM / TO

DESCRIPTIVE  INFORMATION

 

 

 

 

Arrow (red up)

 

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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.

Oregon Trail Alt

Click on image to enlarge

Use this LINK to see the “Image

Road & Routes (button) copy

Gallerythat pertain to this topic.

If you have any photographs or maps or other images relating to historic American 
roads, trails and migration routes we would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

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Free Image Search
help from Google

searching the web (Purple)

Use the power of Google™ to find more interesting images about this topic. This button will link you to the Google Images  Search  page.    Enter  the  topic

Google Image Search Search

you are searching in the box and click “Search Images”. At the “Images” display page you will see the image, as well as the website of which it is associated.

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WWW (tan left)

Inyernet resources

Internet 
Resources

WWW (tan right)

The  Google  search  engine   button

and following web sites may provide 

Google Search (yellow)

you  with  additional  information  to

assist your research about this topic. 

General Resources

·      American Migration Patterns

·      Migration Routes, Roads & Trails

·      Brethren Life: Migrations

·      Trails West - TNGenWeb

·      Historical U.S. roads and trails - Wikipedia

·      U.S. Historical Maps - Perry-Castańeda Collection

·      Early American Roads and Trails

·      Frontier Trails: A Brief History

·      MIGRATIONS.org

·      ROOTS / MIGRATIONS

·      American Migration Trails: Eastern United States

·      American Migration Fact Sheets

·      Map guide to American migration routes,1735-1815

·      Migration Book Store

·      Early Migration Routes

·      The Overland Trail Links--Ancient Indian Trails

·      Westward Expansion: Trails West

·      Migration Message Boards – Ancestry.com

·      The African-American Migration Experience 

·      Migration Trailsmap of many U.S. trails

·      Migration Information & Maps By Ethnic Group

·      United States Research Wiki – Family Search

Topic Specific Resources

·        Colorado Emigration and Immigration

·        Idaho Emigration & Immigration

·        Montana Emigration & Immigration

·        Nevada Emigration and Immigration

·        Utah Emigration and Immigration

·        Wyoming Emigration and Immigration

·      National Historic Trails Interpretive Ctr. - Wyoming

·      Trails to Utah & Pacific: Diaries & Letters, 1846-69 

·      Historic Trails of Idaho

·      Utah Historic Trails

·      Historical Maps: Nevada

·      Historic Trails in Wyoming

Download a free 2-page Fact Sheet

Link 1 (script)

about American migration routes.

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Family Historian's
Reference Library

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The following Link will take you to our library of genealogy reference books.   Here you will find books about historic American roads, trails, and paths.  In addition, there are texts that pertain to ethnic and religion groups, history, geography as well as other books that will assist you with your research.

This Link will take you to our

Research Library - button 1 copy

collections of reference books.  

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-- This webpage was last updated on --

01 April 2012

Diggin for Roots (2 shovels)

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Diggin for Roots (2 shovels)