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Ford and Neighbors Trail

General Entry

The Ford and Neighbors Trail was a route between Austin and El Paso laid out in the spring and summer of 1849 by Robert S. Neighbors and John S. Ford, who were accompanied by D. C. Sullivan, A. D. Neal, and various Indian guides and interpreters. The outward route taken by the party to El Paso was declared impractical, but the return route, well-watered and easily followed, was recommended and marked for general travel. As used by numbers of California-bound emigrants, the route followed several trails from Austin to the head of Brady Creek in what is now Concho County, an overland distance of 160 miles. From Brady Creek the trail went seventy-five miles west to Blue River, or the Middle Concho, a site now in the northwest corner of Irion County, thence southwest forty-five miles to Flat Rock water hole in the area of present Upton County, thence west thirty-five miles to a point on the Pecos River, probably near the mouth of Comanche Creek in present Crane County, thence up the Pecos 110 miles into New Mexico, thence northwest for forty miles, and thence southwest for 115 miles to El Paso. The total distance between Austin and El Paso was 580 miles, and the trip could be made in twenty days on horseback.

C. L. Greenwood, "Opening Routes to El Paso, 1894," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 48 (October 1944). William J. Hughes, Rebellious Ranger: Rip Ford and the Old Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964). Kenneth F. Neighbours, Robert Simpson Neighbors and the Texas Frontier, 1836–1859 (Waco: Texian Press, 1975).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Cattle Trails

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

Anonymous, “Ford and Neighbors Trail,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 19, 2021,

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May 17, 2017