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Trails - Paths worn or beaten by people or animals in going from place to place.  At one time the United States was marked with a network of trails and paths throughout the length and breadth of the country.  Many of these trails were made by deer, buffalo, and other animals in moving to and from feeding grounds, watering places, or salt licks.  Others were Indian trails, sometimes marked by bent trees, piles of stones, or other trail blazing devices.  Some Indian trails showed that early tribes were familiar with places hundreds of miles from them and that they always traveled over the same route going or coming.

Trails of the eastern section were very narrow, because these Indians marched single file.  Yet they were much used by hunters, traders, moving bands of Indians, and war parties.  The Iroquois of central new York were familiar with country as far west as the Black hills of South Dakota, from which they brought back prisoners.  They also were familiar with trails to South Carolina where they attacked the  Catawba and to Florida where they fought the Creek.

The great highway leading through the Cumberland Gap to the mouth of the Scioto River in Ohio was known as Warriors' Path.  Daniel Boone traveled this route into Kentucky.

The trails of the Plains were wide roads beaten down by large numbers of passing horses, dragging teepee poles and travois.  Some of these trails were well marked, being depressed in some instances as much as two feet below the surface.  Some Plains Indians had trails and routes down into mexico, where they raided from time to time.  The Comanche war parties traveled from the Texas Panhandle down across the border every year.  Western Indians, too, had routes to the South where they traveled to obtain blankets from the Pueblo tribes.

In the Southwest there were long trails by which the Hopi and other Pueblo tribes traveled to and from the sources of supply of salt, shells, turquoise, clay for pottery, and other things.

The trails of animals and Indians were followed later by the trapper and the trader, and still  later by the missionary, the white hunter, the soldier, and finally the white settler.  Some trails today are motor roads and highways and others are routes of the "Iron Horse."

Related Information within this Site
[ Boone ][ Catawba ][ Comanche ][ Creek ][ Fur Trade ]
[ Hopi ][ Iroquois ][ Portage ][ Trail Blazing ][ Trading Posts ]