The Gila River valley has been an important corridor for human travel and migration for millennia. Many ancient Indigenous trails cross this terrain, as well as more contemporary settler routes such as the Anza Trail, the Mormon Battalion Route, and the Butterfield Trail.
The Great Bend of the Gila’s use as a major travel corridor reflects the legacy of Spanish, Mexican, and early American transcontinental travel, and the region’s role in the history of the American Southwest.
Proposed Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Area
Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail*
Cooke's Wagon Road (aka the Mormon Battalion Road and the Southern Emigrant Trail)*
Butterfield Overland Mail Route
*Note: Where trails overlap, the Butterfield Overland Mail Route is shown (in blue).