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Throwback Thursday; Colossal Cave and the Old Spanish Trail

Back in 2012 I visited the Colossal Cave which is located on an old alignment of the Old Spanish Auto Trail north of Vail.





There is a signed section of the Old Spanish Trail which runs from the entrance to the Colossal Cave Mountain Park northwest to Broadway Boulevard in Tucson.




I'm not certain when the Colossal Cave segment of Old Spanish Trail was in use due to maps from the time frame being sparse.  What I do know is that US 80 didn't use the alignment but instead was on Old Vail Road which can be seen on this 1927 regional map. Colossal Cave can actually be seen present on the map north of Vail.

1927 Four Corners Regional Map  

Colossal Cave was originally used by several Southern Arizonan tribes before being rediscovered in 1879.  Colossal Cave is considered to be a dry cave and has a constant temperature close to 70F.  The main cave is closed to access aside from a guided tour.







I'm fairly certain that the Old Spanish Trail was realigned upon the completion of the 1920 Cienega Creek Bridge located on Marsh Station Road.  Prior to 1920 it would have been likely have been much easier route a road between Benson and Tucson which did to not cross Cienega Creek closer to the Rincon Mountains.  Given that travel in Arizona even by the era of the US Routes was still largely primitive I think its safe to assume that a journey on the 1915 Old Spanish Trail was even more harrowing.  Regardless information about the Cienega Creek Bridge can be found on bridgehunter.com.

Bridgehunter on Cienega Creek Bridge

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