Thursday, December 30, 2010

Santa Fe Trail

About 11 miles west of Dodge City along U.S. 400, there's one of the best remaining places to view the ruts of the old Santa Fe Trail. There's a parking area and a path across the prairie to an observation point where you can plainly see the ruts as they go ever westward. The trail, established in 1822, ran from Franklin in central Missouri to Santa Fe in what was then Mexico.  Near this spot is where the trail forked. The Mountain route, cutting across the edge of what is now Colorado, was the safer route. The Cimarron Cutoff, which took off to the southwest across the sand hills of the Oklahoma panhandle, was faster -- but risky, since there was precious little water.