Mormon Battalion Trail
Mormon Battalion Trail is one of the Historic Trails of America. The Mormon Battalion, the only religion-based unit in United States military history, served from July 1846 – July 1847 during the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848. This volunteer unit of about 550 Latter-day Saint men was commanded by regular U.S. Army officers. During its service, the battalion made a grueling march of nearly 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego, California.
The battalion’s march and service supported the eventual cession of much of the American Southwest from Mexico to the United States, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of southern Arizona and New Mexico. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Veterans of the battalion played significant roles in America's westward expansion in California, Utah, Arizona and other parts of the West. Today, many scout units enjoy recreating a portion of that march across the California wilderness.
Major trailheads / wilderness adventures of the trail / can be found in these areas:
- San Diego County, California Scouting
- Oceanside CA - Mission San Luis Rey
- Imperial County, California Scouting
- Yuma County, Arizona Scouting
- Maricopa County, Arizona Scouting
- Pima County, Arizona Scouting
- Pinal County, Arizona Scouting
San Diego Historic Center
Mormon Battalion Historic Center - in San Diego, CA. At the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, missionaries will guide you on an interactive video tour to help you understand the significance of the Mormon Battalion. You will learn about the faith, service, and sacrifice of the men who volunteered for that long march and the women and children who accompanied them.
This facility is adjacent to Old Town State Historic Park - Old Town San Diego was the first European settlement on the West Coast of the present-day United States. It began with the San Diego Presidio, a military outpost of Spanish California, founded by Gaspar de Portolà in 1769. Mission San Diego de Alcalá was founded by Father Junípero Serra the same year. The Presidio and Mission were originally built on a bluff above the San Diego River, Presidio Hill, which is now the site of the city-owned Presidio Park and which is immediately adjacent to Old Town State Historic Park.
It is also located close by to two Boy Scout campgrounds in urban San Diego, Camp Balboa and Fiesta Island Youth Aquatic Center. Many scout troops attending summer camp at Fiesta Island are able to visit the Historic Center during and other nearby attractions during their mid-week free adventure day.
- Cub Scouts re-enact famed but forgotten 1840s march by the Mormon Battalion (SD Union Tribune - Oct 19, 2019) - A group of 30 local Cub Scouts enter Box Canyon near Julian on Saturday, Oct. 19, in a re-creation of a portion of the Mormon Battalion’s historic 2,000-mile march from Iowa to San Diego in 1846 and 1847. The Scouts did the five-mile hike on the same trail the battalion marched to earn a High Adventure Award from the San Diego-Imperial Council of Boy Scouts of America.
- Mormon Battalion Association - Commemorative Award Patches (non-scouting organization)
- SDIC High Adventure Patch - Scouting Award from San Diego-Imperial Council (Note: Contact Council for approval before starting on this award's requirements.)
- Arizona Mormon Battalion Trail Award -
The Historic Trails of America Award brings appreciation to the ideals, principles, and traditions that have made our country strong. Requirements emphasize cooperation between historic societies and Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout units, which should establish a close relationship with a local society as soon as possible when planning a historic activity—most communities have such societies. Their are many options to earning this Award.
- Scouts Hike in the Footsteps of One of the Greatest Military Treks in American History - BoysLife.com 2020 Special Feature about MormonBattalion Trial]