The Military (Mullan) Road

The town of Mullan got its name from First Lieutenant (later Captain) John Mullan who led the surveying and construction crew over a 640-mile stretch from Fort Walla Walla in Washington Territory to Fort Benton in Montana; the purpose of the road was to rapidly move troops and supplies, so it was termed the Military Road. Lt. Mullan started construction from Walla Walla in 1859, moved through Washington Territory, and into Idaho, passing by the Coeur d’Alene (Cataldo) Mission, and through what is now the City of Mullan. On July 4, 1861, Mullan and his crew camped near the top of what is now know as the Fourth of July Pass. During their Fourth of July celebration, Mullan made an inscription on a large white pine tree – “M. R. July 4, 1861”-- indicating Military Road.

The most difficult part of building the road was from Mullan to the Taft area in Montana. The route was from Mullan east to Willow Creek (in Idaho), then over Sohon’s Pass (today called St. Regis Pass and one mile west of lookout Pass), and then into Montana. Stevens’ Peak (southeast of Mullan) is also passed by and was named for Washington Territory Governor Isaac Stevens. The road was officially completed in the summer of 1862.

The historical value of the “Mullan Road” is attested to by the Captain John Mullan monument erected in three different states. Washington has many rock-type pyramid monuments while Idaho and Montana have six marble statue monuments. The town of Mullan’s monument was erected on September 22, 1918.


Yellowstone Trail

The Yellowstone Trail ran from Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, to Puget Sound in the state of Washington. To find this route traveling east from Wallace, drive on I-90 taking Exit 67 near Mullan; turn left over the freeway overpass, and turn right at the stop sign. This will put you on Mill Road Street which is where the Yellowstone Trail once existed. Follow Mill Road, passing over the top and then down the other side to the Second Street stop sign. Turn right onto Second Street, and then turn left at the next intersection onto Earle Street.

image001Follow Earle east for about six blocks, and turn right near the center of the football field, onto Old Highway 10, which is now the I-90 frontage road. Continuing east, pass by the Lucky Friday mine and eventually climb a short hill (about ¾ of a mile.) Turn left and enter Larson Road.

Drive about 3 miles, passing Hendrickson’s Farm, while staying on the blacktop surface. Turn right, crossing over the south fork of the Coeur d’Alene River at the end of the long field east of the farm, and drive up what the locals call the “Old Mullan Road.” It remains paved for about ¼ of a mile and then changes into a gravel and dirt road.

Follow this road to the Mullan Pass Summit, and then enter into Montana; this is the Randolph Creek road. Follow this road until it ends at I-90, Exit 5, just east of the ghost town of Taft, Montana. (About 7 miles)