What to know
BUTTERFIELD OVERLAND MAIL TRAIL ROUTE
John Butterfield, a former stagecoach driver from New York, established the Butterfield Overland Mail Route in 1858 with the goal of connecting the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean, delivering mail far faster than by sea. Lines were established from Missouri to Fort Smith and then points west, and from Memphis to Fort Smith, with a side-run to Little Rock. The Butterfield Overland Trail was eclipsed by the faster Pony Express in 1860, and Civil War bushwhackers and hostile Indians in the west spelled an end for the company by 1861. The Butterfield Overland Mail Trail Route is currently being considered as a possible National Historic Trail.
THE MEMPHIS TO FORT SMITH ROUTE:
Start at West Memphis on US 70 through Forrest City, Palestine, Wheatley to Brinkley then Hwy 17 to Cotton Plant then Hwy 38 through Des Arc to Old Austin.
Two Butterfield Overland Trail routes from here:
- Hwy 319 through Ward to Funston then Hwy 107 to Hwy 64 through Vilonia to Conway
- Hwy 38 to Cabot then Hwy 89 to Furlow then Hwy 294 to Jacksonville then Hwy 161 to North Little Rock then US 70 through North Little Rock to Hwy 365 through Morgan and Mayflower to Conway
Hwy 64 from Conway through Menifee and Plummerville to Morrilton then Hwy 113 to Blackwell then US 64 through Atkins to Pottsville then Hwy 247 to Russellville then Hwy 7 to Dardanelle then Hwy 22 through Subiaco, Paris, Caulksville to Charleston then Hwy 217 to Hwy 60 to Hwy 96 to Lavaca then Hwy 225 to Central City then Hwy 22 to Fort Smith.
THE ROUTE BETWEEN FORT SMITH AND MISSOURI:
From Fort Smith, take US 71 to Van Buren then Hwy 59 through Cedarville to Hwy 220 to Devils Den then Hwy 170 to Hwy 265 through Hog Eye to Fayetteville then Cato Springs road to US 71 to Hwy 112 to US 71B to Hwy 45 to Hwy 265 to Springdale then US 71B to Rogers then US 62 to Gateway then Hwy 37 to the Arkansas border.