Spring 2023

The Old Spanish Trail | The Paiute Trail
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The Old Spanish Trail

The Old Spanish Trail

The Old Spanish Trail

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“The longest, most crooked, most arduous mule route in the history of America” seems an appropriate statement to describe the 2,500-mile trail system that connected Santa Fe with Los Angeles.

Animals originally blazed the Old Spanish Trail, then Native Americans and Spanish traders. It has multiple routes—Northern Route, Armijo Route, North Branch, and the Mojave Road.

The Northern Route passes hundreds of miles through the center of Utah, from the extreme southeastern corner of the state through Moab and Green River and above the San Rafael Swell, looping south and west through this area.


The Old Spanish Trail MAP PENDING


The main leg of the trail comes over the Wasatch Plateau, entering the Sevier Valley via Salina Canyon. There was a cut-off leg of the trail that came through the Fish Lake basin and reentered the Sevier River via Kingston Canyon. There are interpretive displays at UM Creek, Fish Lake, and Kingston Canyon that describe the trail, its users, and its contribution to the early settlement of the west.

Famous mountain men and explorers, including Jedediah Smith (1826), Kit Carson (1848), Fremont, Beale, and Gunnison (1853) traveled the legs of the Old Spanish Trail. Indian chiefs such as Walkara conducted an active horse and slave trade along this route.