Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 6. Routes from Santa Fé to Los Angeles

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XIV. Travellers and Explorers, 1846–1900

§ 6. Routes from Santa Fé to Los Angeles

The Santa Fè Trail coupled the Rio Grande and the mighty Missouri, as has been mentioned, by a well-beaten and more or less easy and comfortable way which halted at the city of Santa Fè. Thence on to Los Angeles there were two or three routes open to the traveller, taking any one of which was sure to make him wish he had chosen another. One led down the Rio Grande into Mexico, thence westward and up to the Gila through Tucson, following the Gila on west to the Colorado, the Mohave desert, and to Cajon Pass; the other turned north from Santa Fè and straggled over the mountains, to cross the Grand River and the Green at the first opportunity the canyons permitted (that on the Green being at what was afterwards known as Gunnison Crossing), thence through the Wasatch, down to the Virgin, and by that stream to the Mohave desert, and across that stretch of Hades by the grace of God. This trail was laid out in 1830 by William Wolfskill, an American, but as it was travelled mostly by Spaniards it was called the Spanish Trail. Between this and the extreme southern route was a possible way down the Gila, and another between that and the majestic Grand Canyon, followed in 1776 eastward as far as the Hopi (Moqui) villages by Garces the Spanish missionary; but to take either intermediate route at that time was almost like signing one’s death warrant. They were not often taken before 1846. Much about the early trails and trappers and missionaries is told in Breaking the Wilderness (1905) by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh.