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The Outlaw Trail
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The History Mystery Examiner, Photo of Hole in the Wall, Wyoming
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The Outlaw Trail

By the late 1800's the west was not nearly as wild as it once was. Towns with churches, schools, and jails dotted the landscape.

Advancing railroad and telegraph lines made it more and more difficult for outlaws to hide from the lawmen who constantly pursued them. To avoid being captured the outlaws had to use the most remote locations for their hideouts.

Butch, Sundance and the Wild Bunch used three of the most famous hideouts. These were Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming, Brown's Park on the Colorado-Utah border, and Robbers Roost in Southeastern Utah.

What was it that made these places such great hideouts for these notorious outlaws? First, all three were very difficult to reach. Even today these places are miles from civilization and can only be reached by traveling on rugged dirt roads.

 These were great hideouts because they are located in deep valleys, canyons and rivers. These things limit access to only a few strategic places. A few men could easily guard these entry points. If someone approached the outlaws had plenty of advanced notice.

Drawing of "Hole in the Wall", Part of the Outlaw Trail

They could easily escape or the outlaws could ambush the approaching lawmen. The difficulty of reaching the outlaw hideouts and the threat of ambush by the outlaws rumored to be hiding there kept the law away.

While these hideouts were rugged and isolated they were still home to small communities of farmers and ranchers. These farming and ranching families were often very friendly with the outlaws. They provided the outlaws with food, water and security. These isolated families probably knew of the outlaw's misdeeds but they were often skeptical of the law whom they viewed as a tool of the rich.

Today not much has changed at the hideouts along the Outlaw Trail. They are still isolated, rugged and beautiful places. You can take a virtual tour of the famous hideouts of the outlaw trail below. And you can visit the John Jarvie Historic Site in Brown's Park. Contact the Bureau of Land Management's Vernal Field Office for more information.

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Last updated: 10-23-2009