A map of Passport and Places to Go locations for National Historic Trails.
At Gardner Junction Park, the Oregon and California Trails split from the Santa Fe Trail. Each spring, west-bound travelers in Kansas would rush towards this junction and then take their "exit." Those heading to Santa Fe would continue southwest, while those heading to Oregon or California would turn and head northwest. The travelers going to Oregon were primarily emigrants- people relocating from their homelands to new territories in the West. However, the travelers going to Santa Fe were primarily traders who were trading goods between the United States and Mexico. As such, travelers who took the southwest exit would pass by here again, while travelers who took the northwest exit would never return here.
The junction is now a roadside park on U.S. 56. No physical traces of the junction remain, but the park does offer several interpretive waysides that tell its story, a walking path, and a historical marker.