The Southern Route Trail Network
The Southern Route and the Gila River was the earliest path followed by European explorers and settlers bound for California. So too, the earliest American pioneers chose this way to reach the West Coast. Yet, in spite of its primacy, the Southern Route is one of the lesser-studied travel corridors to the New West. The map above shows the major trails and feeder trails that comprise the Southern Route to California as used by American emigrants in the nineteenth century.