The Gila Trail
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The Gila Trail not a single route, but a group of them that led across Arizona.  The group of trails was named after the Gila River, though the routes followed it's tributaries as well.  Because this area of land was desert, the travelers on the trail followed rivers to ensure that they would survive the harsh conditions there.

These trails all came together in the Pima Villages.  The travelers then continued to head west, followed it to Yuma Crossing.

The trails were more widely used during the Mexican War and the Gold Rush in California, when people began using them to get to California.  During the Mexican War of 1846-48, the US Army soldiers needed to go west to California directly.  Lead by the famous Kit Carson, he and 100 soldiers followed the Gila River across the state following a trail that was created by trappers and traders who had passed through before.  In 1848, the Mexican War ended. 

In 1849, gold seekers began to use the trail to find a quicker route through Apache Pass, which was another popular trail used by travelers heading west.  In mid-1857, the trail began to be used by couriers and mail coaches.

 

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