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Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail

  • This one didn't make it very far
  • An old building on the historic Beale Wagon Road
  • Markers on the historic Beale Wagon Road


  • This historic route dates to the 1800s and provided a critical route to California.
  • The road was constructed by Edward Fitzgerald Beale along the 35th parallel.
  • Today, visitors can explore sections of the historic trail near Flagstaff and Williams. 

Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail


As the population of California grew in the 1800s, residents wanted more and better roads to leading to other areas of the country. One of these historic roads, the Beale Wagon Road, was constructed by Edward Fitzgerald Beale along the 35th parallel. Beale was best known for his use of camels to carry supplies. His theory was that these large beasts were best suited for travel in arid areas because of their size and ability to travel great distances without water. The camels were imported from Syria and served their purpose well. About 100 men and 22 camels took on the task. Mule skinners and others in the construction party were less than thrilled with what they described as "foul smelling and ill tempered" beasts. 

Construction of the wagon road began in 1857 and the road was improved in 1859 extending from Ft. Smith Arkansas to the Colorado River. This historic wagon road was used by both settlers and the military until the construction of a rail line in 1882. Much of Route 66 and Interstate 40 follow the same general route. Despite the fact that railroads and highways have made the route obsolete, visitors can still trace some of the wagon road through the Kaibab National Forest. The 23-mile section of Beale's route encompasses beautiful scenery and one can even find depressions in the rocky soil from the many wagons that crossed this way. Access is from a variety of Forest Service roads, however, travel on the actual route is limited to hiking and horseback riding. A description of the route and access points can be found here:


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