Santa Fe Trail
Cimarron County, Oklahoma
to enlarge |Artist: Wayne
Sponsor: Mrs. Mollie Williford
Size: 30" x 40"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: 4th Floor Outside
The Santa Fe Trail is thought
to be the oldest and longest commercial highway across
the Great Plains, from the Missouri River east of present
day Kansas City crossing nearly 800 miles southwest on
its way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. A direct path across the
plains (the Cimarron Route or Cimarron Cut-Off) was used
The Cimarron Route began from
one of the many crossings of the Arkansas River between
the lower bend and Choteau’s Island. It ran southwest
across Kansas, the corner of southeastern Colorado, and
into Cimarron County of the Oklahoma panhandle near the
northeast corner. Crossing the Cimarron River, it angled
in a southwesterly direction across the county and passed
near Wolf Mountain, Flag Springs, Cold Springs, and Camp
Nichols. The trail left the county near the southwest corner,
closer to McNees Crossing in Union County, New Mexico.
The Cimarron Route was the road
to Santa Fe for wagon traffic from 1822. It was shorter and
easier to travel with mule and ox drawn freight wagons. The
trail was used into the 1870’s when the railroad was
built into Colorado.
One of the earliest travelers
on the Trail through this area is believed to be the Spanish
explorer, Don Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, around 1541.
Others known to have followed portions of the Santa Fe Trail
included numerous scouts, soldiers, trappers and buffalo
The Trail also served as a trading
route of the Kiowa, Ute, Comanche and Apache tribes. Along
the Trail, Autograph Rock has evidence left in writings on
sandstone cliffs made by campers who chose that location
to rest their wagon trains.
are copyright of The Oklahoma State Senate
Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. and the
artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at
521-5663 or firstname.lastname@example.org for
further copyright information.