Through most of the state of Kansas, the Mormon Battalion followed the Santa Fe Trail, which split at the town of Cimarron.
The first option or Mountain Route, was a longer but cooler road with more and better sources of water. The second option, or Cimarron Route, was shorter, but it was wild and dangerous with water sources being extremely limited.
The original plan of the army was for the entire battalion to take the longer northern route with more water sources. However, orders were changed so that the first of three sick detachments would take that route and the majority of the battalion ordered to follow the southern route.
Stanley B. Kimball wrote that the two groups separated at Ingalls, Gray County, a few miles west of the town of Cimarron. The image above shows the area of Ingalls today, and the image at right shows the dried-up bed of the Arkansas River at Ingalls where the two groups divided.