This article will give you an overview of the western trail. If you’ve never hiked the Western Trail before, you’re missing out on an incredible experience. This route was built for the purposes of moving cattle and horses from the western states to markets in the northern and eastern states. You won’t believe how long it took, so plan to spend at least a week – or even two! – on this scenic hike. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as well as stop and take in some of the historic sites along the way.
Historically, the Western Trail was a cattle drive that crossed hundreds of miles of open range in search of pasture. Cattle would travel as far north as Canada and Montana, and the journey often took months. A herd of cattle was led by a trail boss who was aided by ten drovers. A drover’s job was to round up strays and cut out interlopers. Some trail hands served as wranglers or helped with other tasks.
Trail courses are difficult, and the regulations differ by breed and show organization. Three obstacles must be mandatory, including a gate and four poles, either on the ground or elevated. Other obstacles may include backing through poles, opening a mailbox, and turning around in a square box. Depending on the level of competition, there are often simulated water courses, animal hides, and more. Despite these rules, western trail riders have come up with a variety of challenging and imaginative courses to test their horse’s athleticism.
The proposed trail may access the Madrean Sky Islands, which were coined by Weldon Heald in 1967. These mountain ranges are isolated from each other by valleys and prevent the movement of some species. The proposed trail crosses Butterfield Road in Tucson, a route that was used for stagecoaches and wagons as well as the Mormon Battalion. The western trail also traverses the vast area surrounding Lake Pleasant, which is the site of the largest concentration of Ponderosa pines in the world.
The Texas Trail experienced a decline in traffic in 1885. Several factors contributed to the trail’s demise. Beefier cattle breeds, barbed wire fences, and quarantines of Texas cattle slowed traffic. Texas Fever, a disease carried by longhorns, also killed cattle in the north. By 1893, the western cattle trail had transported approximately six to seven million cows and one million horses. The Great Western Trail has a storied history and will be remembered by many.
Historically, the Great Western Cattle Trail was used to move cattle to markets in the east. This historic route ran west of the Chisholm Trail and parallel to the Texas Trail. From Kerrville, it united cattle that were fed by feeder routes. The cattle were then pushed northward across the great Texas rivers, including the Colorado, Brazos, and Pease. This route is also known as the Great Western Cattle Trail, the Dodge City Trail, and the Old Texas Trail.