Russell’s Smoky Hill Route

The route began at Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, followed the Republican and Solomon Rivers staying between the Platte Route and the Smoky Hill Route then converged with the Smoky Hill Route approximately seventy-five miles east of Denver City. Russell and Jones intended the route to decrease travel time while providing ample fuel, water, and grass. Colonel William J. Preston surveyed the route and marked the location of twenty-seven future stagecoach stations, each approximately twenty-five miles apart. A well-traveled road existed for the first 19 twenty-five miles from Leavenworth. The remaining 600 plus miles required the stage driver to trust stakes, piles of stones, buffalo bones, and dung placed along the route by the surveying party as guide indicators.