Discover US 33: The Shawnee Trail
The Shawnee Trail is a branch of the Seneca Trail that extends from Elkins to Seneca Rocks, and mostly follows the route of US 33. The trail is named for the Shawnee peoples who used the route in their raids from the west into the South Branch Valley (in modern eastern WV). In the early Americas Native American societies developed a vast network of trails and pathways that connected societies from New York into Canada all the way into the Southeast and Southwest, into Mesoamerica. Archaeologists have found evidence of trade goods traveling between the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast, and large trading centers such as Cahokia (near modern St. Louis) facilitated long-distance trade between various regions in North America. Trails were also used as warpaths and many other uses, just as roads are used today. The trails through West Virginia were used by the Catawba, Algonquian tribes, the Cherokee, and nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. White explorers and settlers learned and used these paths and over time many have become the roadways of modern times. The Seneca Trail roughly follows the route of U.S. 219 through West Virginia from Silver Lake on the Maryland border to Princeton on the state’s southern border with Virginia. The trail is named for the Seneca, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. By the 1660s the Iroquois Confederacy had established control over much of the Appalachian region, extending their influence to the Mississippi river and conquering or demanding allegiance from many Native nations in the region. The Seneca Trail was a main road used by the Iroquois in their conquest and management of the land within their Confederacy. Several trails connect to the Seneca Trail, such as the Shawnee Trail near Seneca Rocks, WV and the Catawba Trail that follows the Tygart River Valley up towards Pennsylvania.