The Great Western Cattle Trail Association - Kansas Chapter, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the unique heritage and culture of the cattle drives up the Western Trail in the late 1800's. We are working to create a positive economic impact and awareness for the entire Great Western Cattle Trail regions stretching from Mexico to Canada. It is our goal to market this trail as a heritage tourism destination. We expect this marketing to increase visitation to cultural and historic sites along the trail, bringing more money to each region. Partnering with other state chapters will provide economical opportunities for rural communities and regions in Western Kansas to preserve and promote the significance of the Trail.
Join us in our efforts as we preserve and market the Great Western Cattle Trail.
The Great Western Cattle Trail
The trail driving era of delivering Texas longhorns to the north was short-lived---less than a lifetime. After the Civil War, four major cattle trails were used, three of which passed through Kansas. The Western Cattle Trail was the last of these four, but it lasted longer, went a further distance, and carried more cattle than all three of its predecessors put together, over six million longhorns.
In 1874, John Lytle blazed a new route for his cattle starting in San Antonio, going through Dodge City, Kansas, and then on to the Red Cloud Indian Agency at Fort Robinson in Nebraska. For the next ten years, his path to Dodge would be followed. Dodge City became the first railhead and cattle town on the trail, and from there the Trail continued north to as far as Canada.
Now, nearly 140 years after the first Texas herds came through Dodge, we recognize the impact that this industry had on Kansas. It is our desire to preserve its history by marking the Trail and by protecting any visual signs of this Trail throughout Kansas.
By Gary Kraisinger