A mile northeast is Pawnee Rock, a famous landmark on the Santa Fe
Trail. Considered the mid-point of the long road between Missouri and
New Mexico, Pawnee Rock was a symbol of challenges overcome. Many early
travelers mentioned it in their journals, and many of them scratched
their names in its soft surface. Here young Kit Carson, standing guard
one dark night in 1826 is said to have shot his own mule, mistaking it
for a Pawnee. Perhaps it was his unkind companions who named Pawnee Rock
to commemorate the young man's blunder.
Freighters, soldiers, goldseekers, and emigrants admired the rock as
they paraded by on the trail. In later years local settlers and railroad
builders quarried the rock down to about half its original height. An
overlook, monument, and historical signs now grace its reduced summit.
One-half mile northeast is Pawnee Rock, a famous
landmark on the Santa Fe trail. As a lookout and ambush,
rising from the prairies where millions of buffalo
provided an easy living for hostile Indians, the rock was
one of the most dangerous points on the central plains.
Pike, Webb, Gregg, Doniphan and other travelers mentioned
it in their journals. Here 17-year-old Kit Carson,
standing guard one night in 1826 shot his own mule,
mistaking it for an Indian. Trappers, soldiers, goldseekers,
freighters and emigrants carved their names in the
stone. In later years railroad builders and pioneers
stripped the top of the rock and greatly reduced
its elevation. It is now a state park. A road leads
to a shelter house and monument on the summit.