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."
within this Site
][ Catawba ][ Comanche
][ Creek ][ Fur
][ Iroquois ][ Portage
][ Trail Blazing ][ Trading