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Mexican Hill marked the beginning of a long series of small hills the emigrants had to negotiate as they climbed into the Laramie Range. The emigrants referred to this area as the "Black Hills," a designation that causes much confusion today for those who only know of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

This area was a difficult stretch for the emigrants who had become used to following the wide plains of the Platte River valley. No longer could they spread out to avoid the choking dust generated by large numbers of wagons. Vegetation in the area was sparse, with the exception of sagebrush and stunted pine although some emigrants were quite enchanted by the scenery. Steep ravines had been carved by numerous creek beds, most of which were dry by the time the emigrants arrived. Wagons often broke down in this stretch and Indians were frequent visitors. Sallie Hester called it "sixty miles over the worst road in the world." [Covered Wagon Women, Vol. 1, Univ. of NE Press, Bison Books, 1995, p. 238.] But Polly Coon had a more generous assessment: "We found a very rough & romantic road seeming more pleasant from the contrast between them & the vast plain we had for so long been travelling over." [Covered Wagon Women, Vol. 5 Univ. of NE Press, Bison Books, 1997, p. 191.]

The Black Hills Road was probably blazed by early fur company caravans. It was then used by the 1847 Mormon Pioneer Company and became the preferred route of the 49ers and was also the route of the Pony Express.

National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
The 38 mile segment designated as the Black Hills Road by the National Park Service climbs out of Warm Springs Canyon to the west, heads north/northwest to Cottonwood Creek, goes due west up Cottonwood Creek, crosses Horseshoe Creek and Elkhorn Creek and joins the main trail on La Bonte Ridge. Trail markers cover most of the region to Elkhorn Creek.

Threats to the trail in this region exist primarily from drilling and pipelines. This region is not listed on the National Register.

Public (Medicine Bow National Forest & BLM lands) as well as private.