This historical marker commemorates the valor and service of pioneer scout Rafael Rivera, the first European American of record to view and traverse Las Vegas Valley, who scouted for Antonio Armijo’s sixty-man trading party from Abiquiu, New Mexico. In January 1830, young Rivera ascended Vegas wash twenty miles east of this marker and blazed a route to the Mojave River in California by way of the Armargosa River.
Rivera’s pioneering route became a vital link in the Old Spanish Trail, with Las Vegas Springs an essential stop on this popular route to Southern California. John C. Frémont mapped the trail in 1844. Three years later, following an extension of the course to Salt Lake Valley, the route became known in this area as the Mormon Trail. Today the Old Spanish Trail closely parallels Interstate route #15.