Red Rock Canyon A to Z

O: Old Spanish Trail

Around 1829-30, New Mexican Antonio Armijo led the first successful trade caravan from Santa Fe, New Mexico to the Pueblo De Los Angeles, California (now simply known as the City of Los Angeles). This new route skirted the edge of what became known as the Las Vegas Valley and cut through the southern portion of Red Rock Canyon. Explorers, traders, miners, religious groups, and settlers used this route to get to and from California and created what is now called the Old Spanish Trail. Horses, mules, cattle, fibers such as wool and silk, and other goods were traded back and forth using this route. Travelers would often take breaks along the springs within Red Rock Canyon and the Spring Mountains to gather water and allow their livestock to graze.

In 1845, U.S. Captain John C. Fremont followed the Old Spanish Trail going east from California through Red Rock and Las Vegas on their way back to Missouri. Fremont has been credited with putting Las Vegas on the map. The Old Spanish Trail was officially surveyed and opened the way for explorers to cross Southern Nevada on their journeys across the southwest. Today you can still walk portions of the Old Spanish Trail along SR-160 near Cottonwood Valley.

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