For much of the first part of their journey, the Mormon Battalion followed the Cimarron cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail rather than the Mountain Route, which had more favorable conditions but was longer. These two routes merged back into a single trail in the town of Watrous, Mora County, N.M.

Watrous was originally known as La Junta, the site of the confluence of the Mora and Sapello rivers. It was renamed after an influential settler.

From this historic place, the now-single Santa Fe Trail continued on to Santa Fe, where it came to an end.

Mostly forgotten in history, the little town of Watrous still has historical signs and markers noting the coming together or coming apart of the trail depending on which way one was going