Read the story below about the current signage and how you can follow the trail!

What are "Brown Signs"

Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association (KCAHTA) placed the “Brown Signs” as a way for the public to visualize where the trails traverse through Johnson County. The historic relevance of these trails was the beginning of commerce and transportation in the county. Educating the public of these historical thoroughfares brings to life what the former geographical and physical features of what these routes once were.

The signs are located at “hard points” (actual trail crossings) that follow major thoroughfares throughout the cities and counties of Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Johnson to the bondaries of the county lines of Miami and Douglas;  as well as the eastern side including the Kansas - Missouri state line boarder.



Have you thought about driving the Independence Route of the Santa Fe–Oregon-California National Historic Trails?

The new Local Tour Route signs as pictured, are in place and the entire route can be driven – not only one way, but you can turn around and drive it back the other way. There is a double set of signs for the whole route!

In Johnson County, KCAHTA has had our familiar “Trails Crossed Here” signs (above) in place for nearly a couple of decades. (Some 1838 Trail of Death signs have also been placed by the cities (pictured below) –  they are also historic  –  and  went through Johnson County on part of the Santa Fe Trail). When you pass one of our signs, “Trails Crossed Here”  keep going and you will see a sign (as shown below) that will tell you to turn right or left; you will pass another of our “Trails  Crossed Here” signs and soon another Local Tour Route signs will tell you to turn, and so on.


All the signs are also in place for Jackson County, which allows you to drive from Upper Independence Landing down through the cities of Sugar Creek, Independence, Raytown, Kansas City, then crossing State Line into Leawood, Overland Park, Olathe and Gardner to the Gardner Junction Trail Park.


At the 2017 Annual Meetings of the Missouri River Outfitters Chapter of SFTA and Trails Head Chapter of OCTA, the above cities received awards and had representatives at the meetings to receive them.


It has been very satisfying to experience the enthusiasm and cooperation on the part of our urban cities to not only help with the routing process, but to also install the signs. Funding for the signs has been provided by the National Park Service, the Oregon California Trails Association and the Santa Fe Trail Association.


Special thanks also goes to several of our local trails leaders, but especially to Larry Short, MRO President and SFTA Vice President, who was the overall leader of this impressive signage project!