Dominguez - Escalante Expedition Site
This site marks the historic Dominguez-Escalante expedition, the Franciscan priests who were the first Europeans to explore the Arizona Strip. They camped here, at the San Bartoleme Camp, in October 1776.
Fathers Francisco Dominguez and Silvestre Escalante, Spanish priests, may have been the first Europeans to see the Arizona Strip on their expedition in 1776. On foot, they traveled from Santa Fe, New Mexico through western Colorado, to Spanish Fork, Utah and then down through northern Arizona back to Santa Fe. Others crossed the Strip along the Old Spanish Trail during the 1830s and 1840s.
Opened as a trade route between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, the Spanish Trail became a major link connecting New Mexico and southern California from 1829 to 1848. It consisted of a 1,120-mile northward-looping course traversing six states--New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. Hostile Indian tribes--Apache, Navajo, and Mojave--prevented the opening of a direct route between Santa Fe and Los Angeles.
Mining activities, timber cutting and settlement by farmers and ranchers began by the 1870s. Settlements founded by these pioneers lasted long enough for a post office and general store to be built at Wolfhole, and one-room schoolhouses at Little Tanks and Mount Trumbull. In the days of horse-drawn wagons, trips to town (St. George, Utah) from these communities took more than one day each way. Travelers would store feed for their stock on flat-topped boulders along the route. Later, the Civilian Conservation Corps created or improved many of the access roads and other structures. As the availability and use of motorized vehicles increased, populations of the little settlements dwindled. The communities of Mt. Trumbull, Wolf Hole and Little Tanks are now ghost towns.
Traveling across the Strip today, it is not so difficult to imagine the earlier times and modes of transportation: horse, wagon and Model T. Place names like Poverty Mountain, Hungry Valley, Last Chance Spring, Death Valley and Tombstone Canyon still attest to the rough life of the pioneers.
A Visitor Map may be purchased at the Information Center located at 345 E. Riverside Dr. St George, UT 84790.
The southern strip region offers drivers fantastic sights as they travel south of St. George. The Vermilion Cliffs Highways offer scenic drives through small rural communities with numerous scenic viewpoints.
Short interpretive hiking trails are available.
Maps and historical guides are available at the BLM Recreation Center in St. George, Utah. 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790; (435) 688-3200.
Located at the BLM Recreation Center in St. George, Utah, The Dixie/Arizona Strip Interpretive Association (D/ASIA) partners with the Arizona and Utah BLM, Forest Service, and National Park Service to enhance your hiking and discovery experience. Their retail stores offer a wealth of interpretive resources, detailed maps, and souvenirs, while their Field Experience trip planning program can assist your planning needs.
The Dixie/Arizona Strip Interpretive Association (D/ASIA) is a non-profit corporation formed in 1994. Its mission is primarily to enhance the understanding of the Arizona Strip and Southern Utah region including its history and resources. D/ASIA is a cooperating association partnering with the BLM, USDA Forest Service, and National Park Service to provide interpretation, education, and customer service related materials to area visitors while assisting, where possible, with project funding.
The Arizona Strip covers nearly 2 million acres in northwestern Arizona, which includes the Grand Canyon-Parachant National Monument. The field office oversees five wilderness areas, including the internationally known Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, nine Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and two river segments suitable for Wild & Scenic River designation. The Grand Canyon isolates the Arizona Strip from the rest of Arizona, making it among the most remote and rugged public land in the lower 48 states. There are approximately 4,000 miles of unpaved roads leading to spectacular scenic vistas, remoteness and solitude among rough scenic canyons and ponderosa pine forests. This distinctive part of Arizona has a special appeal to many people.(435) 688-3200
East of Jacob Lake on US Highway Alt 89.