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The trail follows the path of the 1st U. S. Dragoons, the country's first mounted infantry unit, on their historic march in the summer of 1835, to scout Iowa after the Black Hawk Purchase of 1832 put the area under U.S. control. The march lead to the establishment of outposts from present-day Fort Dodge and Webster City through Des Moines to Pella and Knoxville.
For more details see Dragoon Trail.