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Old Spanish National Historic Trail

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  • Old Spanish Trail Map

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    Stretching from New Mexico to California, the Old Spanish Trail consisted of three distinct trade routes in the American West from 1829–48. All three of the routes, the main Spanish Trail, the North Branch, and the Armijo Route passed through different areas in Colorado. The trail was designated a national historic trail in 2002.
    Old Spanish Trail Map



Edward G. Beckwith, Report of Explorations for a Route for the Pacific Railroad, by Capt. J. W. Gunnison, Topographical Engineers, Near the 38th and 39th Parallels of North Latitude, from the Mouth of the Kansas River, Mo., to the Sevier Lake, in the Great Basin (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1854).

LeRoy R. Hafen, “Colonel Loring’s Expedition across Colorado in 1858,” Colorado Magazine 23 (March 1946).

LeRoy R. Hafen, “Armijo’s Journal of 1829–30: The Beginning of Trade between New Mexico and California,” Colorado Magazine 27 (January 1950).

Gwinn Harris Heap, Central Route to the Pacific, from the Valley of the Mississippi to California: Journal of the Expedition of E. F. Beale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in California, and Gwinn Harris Heap, from Missouri to California, in 1853 (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Brambo, and Col, 1854).

Steven K. Madsen, Exploring Desert Stone: John N. Macomb’s 1859 Expedition to the Canyonlands of the Colorado (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2010).

National Park Service, National Historic Trail Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment: Old Spanish Trail, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 2001).