Discover US 11: The Warrior Path
One of the main north-south native pathways through the WV region was the Great Indian Warpath that began in Creek territory in the southeast and traveled north. In eastern Tennessee the route splits into two branches, both of which travel at some point through West Virginia. The eastern branch, called the Chesapeake Branch or Warrior Path, only enters WV for a short stretch through the Eastern Panhandle. The route roughly parallels the route of modern US 11 and Interstate 81. In the early Americas Native American societies developed a vast network of trails and pathways that connected societies from New York into Canada all the way into the Southeast and Southwest, into Mesoamerica. Archaeologists have found evidence of trade goods traveling between the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast, and large trading centers such as Cahokia (near modern St. Louis) facilitated long-distance trade between various regions in North America. Trails were also used as warpaths and many other uses, just as roads are used today. The trails through West Virginia were used by the Catawba, Algonquian tribes, the Cherokee, and nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. White explorers and settlers learned and used these paths and over time many have become the roadways of modern times.