American West and History

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The Southwestern Journals of Zebulon Pike, 1806-1807

Edited by Stephen Hart
Edited by Archer Hulbert

In 1806, U.S. Army General James Wilkinson assigned Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers. From St. Louis, the lieutenant's modest party traveled across the Great Plains to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Throughout the journey, Pike maintained a journal, describing terrain, Indians, hardships, and the group's daily activities. In present-day southern Colorado's San Luis Valley, Pike and his men were captured by the Spanish and taken to Santa Fe, where many of his papers were confiscated by Spanish authorities, not to be uncovered until the early twentieth century.

Pike was taken south by the Spanish to Chihuahua, Mexico. Along the route, he was a keen observer of Spanish settlements, military strength, commerce, natural resources, Indian tribes, and more. Finally, the Spanish governor had Pike and his party escorted through Texas, to Natchitoches, Louisiana, where they arrived on July 1, 1807.

This valuable and long-out-of-print edition of Pike's Southwestern journals is being reissued on the bicentennial of the journey. Editors Hart and Hulbert provide extensive commentary to the journals, as well as significant essays on Pike's papers and the purpose of his famed expedition.


Stephen Harding Hart was a prominent Denver attorney and longtime president of the Colorado Historical Society.

Archer Butler Hulbert was a professor of history at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, and author of Forty-Niners: The Chronicle of the California Trail.

Mark L. Gardner, a professional historian, lives in Cascade, Colorado. His other publications include The Mexican War Correspondence of Richard Smith Elliott, coedited with Marc Simmons.


"This bicentennial year is a perfect time to read about Pike's adventures, and Pike's own words on the pages of this book make the journey come alive."


The Chaffee County Times, Colorado

"This is a fascinating book and the University of New Mexico Press is to be commended for returning it to print."


Roundup Magazine

6 x 9 in. 288 pages 6 halftones, 4 maps