Point of Rocks &
La Jornada

Marker beside US 56
Elkhart, Morton County, Kansas

A well-known landmark on the Cimarron cutoff of the old Santa Fe trail is a rugged bluff known as Point of Rocks which rises near the Cimarron river nine miles north on Highway 27. Called the westernmost landmark of significance on the trail in Kansas, it marked a campground much used by travelers because good water was always available from the nearby Middle Spring of the Cimarron. William Becknell, who pioneered commercial use of the trail in 1821 and Santa Fe trader Josiah Gregg, author of the classic "Commerce of the Prairies" were among those who stopped there.

Point of Rocks was on the "dry" fork of the trail which headed southwest from the several Arkansas river crossings. Part of this route was a perilous stretch of arid plains known to travelers as "La Jornada." Besides lack of water, caravans had to contend with marauding bands of Plains Indians who took the lives of several traders in this once empty land.

Elkhart, one of the youngest towns in Kansas, was established here in 1913.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

More  Historical Markers

June 2, 1997 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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