A Backpacking Getaway on the Western Trail
The Western Trail is a historic trail that follows the crest of the Rockies from the southern terminus in Montana to the Pacific Ocean in California. It is one of the seven National Parks of United States. The trail, which is also referred to as the Greenway, was used extensively for long-distance, bicycle-powered travel in the late nineteenth century for Movement of livestock and horses to market in northern and eastern states. Today the most accessible portions of the Greenway are in Montana and Texas. It has become a popular tourist attraction with over twelve million people passing through it each year. Tourists can find the trail in its entirety in Grand Junction, Colorado or in its most popular segment, the west rim of the Grand Canyon.
The most popular segment of the Greenway is the one that traverses the Continental Divide separating the western and Pacific sections of the trail. It starts just west of Dodge City, CO at mile post #40. Just off the trail, a signed intersection called Star Anse Drives (which used to be a highway) crosses the continental divide where you can stay right on the road and go left to proceed further on the trail. Signs at this location indicate that the Greenway continues straight ahead just east of Star Anse Drive. The second most popular segment of the Western Trail is the Cedar Mountain Loop, following the ridge line east of Dodge City. Signs indicate that the loop extends to the Pacific Ocean.
A third popular section of the western trail, the San Antonio Northward Loop, starts from the La Jolla Cove State Park. The trail then makes an easy turn southward to the Trail of the Guadalupe river. The third segment of the San Antonio Northward Loop traverses the Sabine descriptively described as an ‘impregnable plateau’. The route continues to the lower portion of the Guadalupe river valley and then begins to make an easy turn down to the Bitterroots National Wildlife Refuge.
The western trail also extends into the Southern portions of Texas. Four future segments of the trail are beginning to be developed in Laredo, Tex., according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWDS). Theses new additions will connect the existing segment of the trail between the La Jolla Cove State Park and Laredo, Texas. Also in Laredo, Texas, is the first official designated route for the San Antonio Northward Loop, which begins at Laredo and follows the ridge line east of Laredo. In Plano, Tex., a section of the trail has been installed that will connect the southwest corner of Plano and the Six Flags Magic Mountain.
There are numerous wildlife watching opportunities in addition to enjoying the scenery of the west. The trail includes the largest concentration of wild cattle in Texas, in the Grand Canyon National Park. The guided tours provide information about how the animals migration, the history of the west and their natural habitats in the Grand Canyon.
The WPT has designated fourteen units of the trail. Each route is approximately one hundred miles long, providing an experience of the most scenic western trail travel. Traveling on the WPT allows you to discover the beauty of the American west in the unique circumstances of the desert-dwelling cattle trail. The sections of the trail between Laredo and Texarkana, and between Texarkana and San Antonio provide spectacular wildlife encounters and experiences. Each route of the trail has established campgrounds and restroom facilities for visitors to make a comfortable, pleasant stay while exploring the rich wilderbeaches of Texas.