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The Spanish Trail

Kane Springs, San Juan County, was
a major water stop along the historic
Spanish Trail, in use from 1829 to 1848.
Large trade caravans halted here and drank
from the abundant spring waters.
In autumn months, pack trains carried
woolen textiles and raw wool over the trail
from the settlements on the upper Rio
Grande to the coastal towns of California.
On reaching California, wool merchants
exchanged their goods for horses and mules, which were driven back to New Mexico
the following spring. It took trail riders over two months to complete the journey.

The 1,120-mile route, from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, followed
a northward looping course that passed through the rugged southern and central
landscapes of Utah. This trail avoided the deep canyons of the Colorado River and
the hostile Indians of Arizona.

In 1848, at the end of the Mexican war, the territory
encompassing the Spanish Trail became part of the United States.
Thereafter, caravan traffic followed direct east-west lines. In the
post-trail period, the waters of Kane Springs refreshed weary
travelers, cattle drovers, pioneer settlers, and outlaws.

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of San Juan County in 10134 images.