Topic ID #38144 - posted 3/13/2017 4:45 AM

Routes, trails crisscrossed area long before Europeans arrived


On August 26, 1776, after descending the eastern side of the Uncompahgre Plateau to the Uncompahgre River Valley, Father Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante wrote, “In the meadow of this river … there is a very wide and well-beaten trail.”

Similarly, on Sept. 9, when the expedition he led with Father Francisco Atanasio Domínguez descended the north side of Douglas Pass, Escalante wrote that the group traveled nearly 30 miles “over a very well-beaten trail with only one bad stretch.”

Since very few Europeans had traveled this region prior to Dominguez and Escalante, it’s clear that these “well-beaten trails” were established by the natives who lived there. In 1776, that meant the Utes. But the trails were likely used by a variety of native people over the ages.


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