The Mesquite Trail

The Mesquite Trail with vegetation growing along the side of the trail.  It is a sunny day with blue skies.
The Mesquite Trail in summer

NPS photo

HIke on the former LX Ranch along the Mesquite Trail. The ranch was established by W. H. Bates and D. T. Beal's, Colorado merchants and ranchers. "Crowded conditions" in Colorado resulted in moving herds to the Panhandle of Texas in 1877. LX cattle were being driven to Dodge City for shipment to market or to ranges in Montana and Wyoming as the buffalo were being exterminated. This short trail is located near Alibates Visitor Center. View a variety of wildflowers in the spring and summer along the trail.
Mesquite Trail barbed wire from the late 1800s
Barbed wire from 1877 along the Mesquite Trail

NPS Photo

The barbed wire fence along the trail was a new and modern invention in 1874. Barbed wire was the first wire technology capable of restraining cattle. These bristling wire fences began to partition the wide open spaces of the Texas Plains during this era. Wire fences were cheaper to build than their alternatives.

The LX ranch extended from present cities of Dumas to Amarillo, and was 20 miles wide--1,000 square miles of open range. HIke this trail and look for signs of where cowboys may have built a dugout. Weather was extreme during the early 1900s with very inclement weather.
Mesquite Trail and pink basket flowers in the summer with blue skies.
The Mesquite Trail in June

NPS photo

The LX ranch was sold in 1884 to the American Pastoral Company, Ltd., London. Ownership included 210,597 acres of land, 45,000 cattle and 1,000 horses. Famous LX cowboys included Allie Bates and John Ray, whose names are on geological maps, and Charles Siringo, author of Western Americana and cattle rustler detective.

Potter County was organized on Aug. 30, 1887 by 53 qualified electors. By unanimous vote of the 38 LX cowboys, Amarillo was elected the county seat. In 1906 the Pastoral Company began liquidating. Alibates Quarries National Monument was named after Allie Bates, an LX cowboy.

Last updated: June 11, 2020

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