Hiking the Western Trail of Texas

The Western Trail follows a ridge line beginning west of the Continental Divide of Colorado and extending east toward the Continental Divide of Oklahoma. It follows the old railroad tracks that connected Denver with the west. The old wagon trails used by pioneers in the west span over thousands of miles. Today, this famous trail is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Western Trail

The Western Trail follows a ridge line west of Dodge City, KS. It is approximately twenty-five miles long. The trail used to be an important cattle route but was changed due to the growing demand for horse and haying cattle in the early twentieth century. The old wagon trails crossed numerous smaller streams and rivers such as Big Red, Cedar Creek, White Pine and Clear Creek and used to provide water and a means for moving stock through the areas.

Because the Western Trail has been maintained and safe, it has become one of the most well known routes in southwest Texas. It is well preserved with a variety of locations for photo opportunities. It is also home to three wildlife refuges, including the San Miguel National Fish Hatchery, the La Jolla Cove Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Laredo Wetland Center.

The San Miguel National Fish Hatchery is located on the San Miguel National Trail about twenty-five miles south of San Antonio. Here ranchers from three countries take advantage of the fish harvests year round. The facilities include a hatchery, loading dock, and pen to house the animals. To get to the processing plant, ranchers must take the trail to El Campello (slideshow), which is another twenty-five miles South of San Antonio.

The Laredo Wetland Center is located just south of Laredo. This open nature preserve consists of nine acres of terrain with several different types of grasses and two different types of ponds. There are boat ramps, restrooms, picnic areas, and a concession station. About seven miles north of the Laredo Texas entrance is the first known location of the first horseback trail that made its way along the west rim of the Rio Grande.

The entire length of the Laredo Texas / New Mexico state line is just under two hundred miles long. There are many interesting sites and points of interest in this wide region of Texas. There are also numerous bikers trails, historical sites, museums, and nature preserves. Hiking this stretch of the western trail will take you through beautiful thick forests, small lakes, plentiful wildlife, and spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

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