Pecos Trail Region

A roadside park several miles south of town on US 385 bears a state historical marker that marks one of the most important sites in the Old West. For centuries, Indians, soldiers, explorers and adventurers forded the wild Pecos River at the low-water Horsehead Crossing. Capt. R. B. Marcy mapped the ford in 1849 while escorting fortune-seekers bound for the California gold fields. Then came stagecoaches of the Butterfield Overland Mail service, headed from St. Louis to San Francisco. Union and Confederate troops vied for control of the crossing during the Civil War. In the spring of 1866 pioneer ranchers Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving forded with 18 men and 2,000 longhorns on a drive to Fort Sumner, New Mexico that opened up the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Artifacts from Horsehead Crossing--including gun shell casings, pottery shards and a Gold Rush pistol--recall that fascinating era at the Museum of the Desert Southwest. Other exhibits depict the rough-and-tumble life experienced by pioneer ranchers. After wildcatters discovered oil in 1927, the county organized and created its only town, Crane, as its seat. Developer O. C. Kinnison platted the town and named the streets for his sons and daughters.