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In Search of the Spanish Trail
Santa Fe to Los Angeles, 1829 - 1848

In Search of the Spanish Trail
Santa Fe to Los Angeles, 1829 - 1848
By C. Gregory Crampton and Steven K. Madsen
Publisher - Gibbs-Smith Publishers
P.O. Box 667
Layton, Utah,
ISBN: 0-87905-614-2
Copyright 1994

This book is a popular presentation of the results an extensive survey and mapping of the 1,120 mile long Spanish Trail that began in 1976. The authors also did extensive literature review - there is a very impressive bibiography - plus traveled, by whatever means possible, what is believed to be the entire extent of the Trail. This was by passenger car, four-wheel drive vehicles, horseback or even by foot.

Much of the challenge of this project was the fact that although the Trail was extensively used during its heyday, during the mid 1830's, most of the travelers were illiterate, or, for whatever reason, not interested in making written notes about the experience. Aside from a few exceptions, much of the track of the Trail has had to be rediscovered from a wide variety of researches, such as early American survey expeditions, railroad surveys, city platting maps and such.

The book is divided into twelve main sections; each presents a detailed explanation devoted to a 50 to 200 miles section of the Trail:

  1. Santa Fe to El Vado
  2. Ute Country, from Puerta Grande to the La Plata River
  3. Mesa Verde area, Land of the Anasazis
  4. Piute Spring to Green River
  5. Green River to Castle Valley through the San Raefel Fault country
  6. Salina Canyon, Sevier River to the Fish Lake area
  7. Circleville to Mountain Meadows
  8. Virgin River area
  9. California Crossing, Las Vegas, and Spring MOuntain
  10. Mojave Desert region
  11. Barstow, Mojave River, Cajon Pass
  12. Cajon Pass to Los Angeles

Along the route, the authors mention many of the local (modern) highlights, such as national parks, monuments, museums and libraries that can add to the enjoyment of anyone who wishes to repeat the route.

This book has an extensive 10-page publications bibliography that appears to be a major summary of the historical information known about the Spanish Trail.

There is also a 3-page map bibliography referencing a wqide variety of the early maps of the area.

Reviewed by E. Stiltner, Copyright © 2001.

Here are some links to more information about the Spanish Trail -

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