When William Becknell headed east from Santa Fe on his first trading trip (he arrived in Franklin in mid-January 1822), he avoided the Raton Mountains and took a shorter, more direct route, which soon became known as the Cimarron Route. Most of those who made the trek in later years followed in Beeknell's footsteps. During this period, a few westbound parties started from Lexington, but most departed from Franklin. Independence, founded in March 1827, had a minimal role as a trail town during this period. Trail length from Franklin to Santa Fe via Cimarron Route = 890 miles.