Avenue of Travel
Imprints of moccasins followed by horses hoofs and wagon wheels
gradually established this river valley approach from the west.
Exploration Parties, Nez Perce Indians
pursued by soldiers, and Park Visitors
soon wore a rough wagon trail
through the valley
Indians and mountain men came this way in
search of meat and furs or to satisfy their
curiousity. Some left fragmentary records.
Gold seekers led by Walter DeLacy entered
Yellowstone from the south in 1863 and
departed via the Madison River.
Stagecoaches travelled the
route from 1880 to 1917. Early
service was from Virginia City
to the Lower Geyser Basin.
The 95 mile trip took 16 hours.
Stages later met trains at
Monida, Montana. In 1907
the railroad reached West
"I had heard in the summer fo 1833,
while at rendezvous, that remarkable
boiling springs' had been discovered, on
the sources of the Madison... I determined
to examine them myself... I parted
with the company after supper, and,
taking with me two Pen-d'orielles, set
out at a round pace... and reached
the vicinity of the springs about dark,
[next day] having seen several small
lakes or ponds, on the sources of the Madison...
From the surface of a rocky plain
or table, burst forth columns of water,
of various dimensions, projected high in
the air, accompanied by loud explosions
and sulphurous vapors, whith were highly
disagreeable to the smell..."
Diary of W. A. Ferris 1839