Near Hesperus in La Plata County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Dominguez & Escalante
In 1776, Franciscan Fathers Francisco Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante, and eight companions explored what is now western Colorado, Utah, and northern Arizona as men of peace.
In August 1776, Fathers Dominquez and Escalante and a small group of men, embarked on a journey to find an overland route between the Spanish colonial villages in the Rio Grande Valley of Nuevo Mexico and the Spanish Missions in Alta California.
The expedition crossed the Animas River just south of what is now Durango, Colorado. On August 10th, 1776, Escalante wrote in his journal,
"We swung west through valleys of very beautiful timber and abundant pasturage, roses, and various flowers.... We were not able to move camp because Father Fray Francisco Atansio awoke very weak....for this reason we were not able to go to see the veins and metallic stones of the sierra, although they were nearby, as we were assured by a companion who had seen them on another occasion."
Although they did not reach California, the expedition members were recognized as the first Europeans to traverse and map what is
Top right: Cartographer Bernard Miera Y Pacheco accompanied Dominguez and Escalante and drew this map of the region in 1778. Map courtesy of Utah State Historical Society
Bottom right: Route of the 1776 Dominguez & Escalante Expedition.
Erected by U.S. Forest Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Exploration. A significant historical year for this entry is 1776.
Location. 37° 19.541′ N, 108° 7.978′ W. Marker is near Hesperus, Colorado, in La Plata County. Marker is on Navajo Trail (U.S. 160) ¾ mile west of Cherry Creek Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hesperus CO 81326, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dominguez - Escalante Expedition (here, next to this marker); The Old Spanish Trail (here, next to this marker); [Old] Fort Lewis College (approx. 8 miles away); Cedar Grove Cemetery Veterans' Memorial1892 Horse-Drawn Pull Grader (approx. 8.7 miles away); Bauer House (approx. 8.7 miles away); The Columbine Bar (approx. 8.7 miles away); Mancos Opera House (approx. 8.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hesperus.
Also see . . . The Dominguez and Escalante Expedition. National Park Service summary of the expedition. (Submitted on July 21, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 278 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 21, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.