Pioneering the Trail

 

 

 
Welcome to our Cherokee Trail website produced by Jack & Pat Fletcher. After over twenty five years of research, both literary and on the ground, our mission is to cause the Cherokee Trail to be designated as a National Historic Trail by the U S Congress. In this endeavor we present this website that will introduce you to the Cherokee Trails' location and history, including who pioneered it, the numbers of goldseekers and emigrants who traveled over it, and how long it was in use.We want you to verify in your mind that this part of the American Western movement will not be complete without this trail and the history it provides.

The Cherokee Trail is the longest branch (900 miles long) of the California National Historic Trail, and the only goldseeker and emigrant trail named for Native Americans. Long thought to be a minor trail by noted state and national historians, due to the lack of diaries and other primary material, and mostly unknown by most local historians and by the general public, our two books entitled Cherokee Trail Diaries were published in 1999 & 2001 and should prove otherwise. Our twenty five years of research and travel over the trail has been rewarding and has culminated in the National Park Service considering the trail for National Historic Trail status, with U S Congress legislation.


Physically the wagon ruts & swales and cut down ravine & river banks can be followed today in segments and sites from Fort Gibson/Tahlequah, Oklahoma, through Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming to Fort Bridger, Wyoming. Like a live flowing river the trail itself has had cutoffs and branches that need to be explored, marked, mapped and written about. It is hoped that the following web pages will intrigue you, fascinate you, and inspire you to get involved in the many present-day activities along our historic trails. Through our efforts the Cherokee Trail is now considered the only major emigrant trail to the West that was and remained disease-free throughout its history. We hope you will find this website both educational and very informative, leaving you with more questions than answers.
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