U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
The Dominquez-Escalante Trail
On July 29, 1776, Father Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Father Silvestre Velez Escalante set out from Santa Fe with eight men to explore trading routes to California and establish new missions with the Indians.
In early October 1776, faced with a blizzard and short supplies, the party had to decide whether to proceed to Monterrey, California or return to Santa Fe. At a point just south of Thermo Hot Springs, "lots were cast" to make the decision. The historic decision was made and the party turned south to Santa Fe.
As the expedition moved southward, they met Piute Indians, who told them they were nearing a great river, now known as the Virgin River. These Piutes were the only Indians noted by the explorers to have developed an agricultural lifestyle. The expedition found fields of corn and signs of irrigation.
At the interstate 15 rest area, just south of Kanarraville, you will find maps showing points of interest relating to the Dominguez-Escalante expedition.