This winding, 100-mile trail from San Antonio to Kerrville was, during the 19th century, a strategic patrol road traveled by Texas Rangers to protect the surrounding area from hostile Indian attacks.
During uneasy pioneer days roads such as this, regularly scouted by Rangers, helped promote early white settlement by strengthening frontier defense.
Because Bandera was located midway on the trail and because Bandera Pass, 10 miles north, frequently harbored Indian ambushers, the town became a focal point for Ranger activities along the road.
Perhaps the best-known battle to occur on the old route happened in Bandera Pass in the spring of 1841. At that time a company of 40 Texas Rangers, under intrepid Indian fighter Capt. "Jack" Hays, was on a scouting mission in the Guadalupe Mountains. Halfway through the pass, they were suddenly attacked by several hundred wild Comanches who lay hidden in the brush and behind boulders in the narrow gorge.
A bloody fight ensued, much of it hand-to-hand combat with Bowie knives; but after their chief was slain, the Indians withdrew and finally escaped. Thus the Rangers and this trail helped remove the Indian menace and open the frontier across Texas.