Marion County, Kansas Santa Fe Trail


Santa Fe Trail through Marion County, Kansas

Santa Fe Trail through Marion County, Kansas

The Santa Fe Trail continued from Morris County into Marion County, Kansas a mile and a quarter south of the northeast corner of the county to Lost Spring, a valuable source of water for trail travelers. It was also used as a trading ranch, a stage station, and a campground. The spring that still flows today is located 2.3 miles west of the town of Lost Springs on the north side of a paved road. Wagon ruts are visible near the crossing of the small creek on the south side of the paved road.

From here, the road passed in a westerly direction near the present towns of Ramona and Tampa, dropping southwesterly to the Cottonwood Creek Crossing about one mile west of the present-day town of Durham.

This site was a major campsite on the Santa Fe Trail but was widely known as a difficult crossing because of the steep banks and the occasional high water. There were several instances where wagon trains were caught in blizzards and both livestock and human lives were lost. This was also the site of a stage station and the largest trading ranch west of Council Grove. Today, nothing remains of the crossing or the ranch, but a few wagon ruts may still be seen northeast of Cottonwood Creek and there is an outstanding segment of ruts southwest of this stream.

The trail continued southwest and passed out of the county at a point directly east of the present town of Canton in McPherson County.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated October 2020.





Also See:

Kansas – The Sunflower State

Kansas Santa Fe Trail Photo Gallery

Kansas Photo Galleries

Santa Fe Trail Across Kansas

Santa Fe Trail – Pathway to the Southwest