Dramatic swales have been preserved in 235-acre Minor Park, just west of the Big Blue River crossing an original wagon ford for the Santa Fe Trail was located.
River crossings—especially after spring rains swelled embankments—were often quite dangerous to 19th century travelers, many who could not swim. It was also a risk for wagon loads carrying trade goods or personal possessions. Circumventing wide, deep, or swift water routes was always a good practice.
Santa Fe, Oregon, or California-bound travelers that left the river at Westport Landing headed straight south for five miles seeking the fastest route to the main trail heading out of Independence.