Adobe Walls Trail

By: C. Robert Haywood

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: August 25, 2018

The Adobe Walls Trail, perhaps a subroute of the Jones and Plummer Trail, ran from Dodge City, Kansas, to the vicinity of Adobe Walls, Texas. The success of the buffalo hunters encouraged a group of Dodge City merchants in March 1874 to establish Adobe Walls as a trading center on the Canadian River in Hutchinson County. Their stores and stockade were located four miles east of Bent's Fort, the original Adobe Walls trading post. A. C. Meyers, who hired Ed "Dirty Face" Jones to organize a caravan of thirty wagons, and Charles Rath, who used his own teams, freighted in more than $70,000 worth of goods. The route established by the merchants and other buffalo hunters, such as J. Wright and John Mooar, was heavily used by hunters and hide freighters even after Quanah Parker's raid. But after the buffalo hunting ended, the Adobe Walls Trail became primarily a cattle trail, while the Jones and Plummer, the Tascosa-Dodge City, and the Fort Supply trails were preferred by freighters and stage operators.

The Adobe Walls Trail ran due south out of Dodge City and crossed Mulberry Creek some twelve miles out, near the common crossing for all trails leading south from Dodge. It then veered southwest, gradually away from the more popular Jones and Plummer, and skirted Crooked Creek, which it crossed near the Meade-Ford county line. The trail caught a corner of Seward County as it angled south toward the Cimarron crossing near the Price and Davies Ranch headquarters in Indian Territory. It traveled west of the Beaver River and entered Texas just east of Palo Duro Creek, then continued to Adobe Walls on a nearly straight line south through Hansford County east of Horse Creek. It entered the breaks of the Canadian River west of Adobe Creek and followed that bank to Adobe Walls, where it extended south a few more miles to connect with the east-west Tascosa Trail.

The trail varied as travelers picked it up at different points or branched off to travel other routes. The Adobe Walls Trail remained generally on the high, dry flats, which provided grass but limited access to water. Ranches were few, and landmarks were scarce. Though the trail was a somewhat quicker route to Dodge from the western Panhandle than the others, by the late 1880s it had been abandoned.

T. Lindsay Baker and Billy R. Harrison, Adobe Walls: The History and Archaeology of the 1874 Trading Post (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). Harry E. Chrisman, Lost Trails of the Cimarron (Denver: Sage, 1961). Frederick W. Rathjen, The Texas Panhandle Frontier (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

C. Robert Haywood, “Adobe Walls Trail,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
August 25, 2018