California

National Historic Trail - CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY

Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.

location

maps

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Rock Springs

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rawlins Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Rawlins

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rawlins Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Pinedale

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Lander

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Kemmerer

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

State Map of Wyoming. Published by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.Wyoming State - Wyoming State Map

State Map of Wyoming. Published by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

brochures

A topographical map of the entire California National Historic Trail (NHT). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).California NHT - Map

A topographical map of the entire California National Historic Trail (NHT). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Emigrant Trails of Northeast California. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).California NHT - Emigrant Trails

Brochure about Emigrant Trails of Northeast California. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail route across Iowa. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Iowa

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail route across Iowa. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route from Western Missouri through Northeastern Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Missouri and Kansas

The National Historic Trail route from Western Missouri through Northeastern Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route from Nebraska through Northeastern Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Nebraska and Colorado

The National Historic Trail route from Nebraska through Northeastern Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route along the Snake River through Idaho. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Idaho

The National Historic Trail route along the Snake River through Idaho. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Wyoming

The National Historic Trail route across Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Utah

The National Historic Trail route across Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Nevada. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Nevada

The National Historic Trail route across Nevada. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/cali/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons. Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons. Those portions of the California National Historic Trail authorized by Congress include nearly 2,000 miles of historic trail that was once the primary "road" taken by farmers, enterprising business managers, gold-seekers, and fortune hunters who chose to make a new life on the California frontier. The route passes through ten states from Missouri to California. Visitor Centers vary from state to state The trail passes through many states. There are a variety of visitor centers and facilities to learn more about the trail. Camping varies along the trail by site The California National Historic Trail passes through 10 states and numerous landowners. Inquire with local land managers. Wagon at Register Rock in City of Rocks National Reserve A white canvas wagon sits in front of a large rock buttress with mountains in the distance. Wagon at Register Rock in City of Rocks National Reserve A creek in Carlin Canyon, Nevada on the California Trail A still creek winds through brown rolling hills. A creek in Carlin Canyon, Nevada on the California Trail Trail ruts on through Humboldt Wells in Nevada A dirt road passes through sagebrush and a white post with a mountain in the background. Trail ruts on through Humboldt Wells in Nevada Devil's Gate, Wyoming A rock buttress with a notch in it surrounded by sagebrush flats. Devil's Gate was an important emigrant landmark in Wyoming. View of West Pass on Carson Route Pine trees partly obscure a distant mountain lake with snow-capped mountains. View of West Pass on the Carson Route of the California NHT. California NHT: Chinese Immigration For many Americans, overland migration along the California and Oregon trails offered the promise of a better life. Although they arrived by ship and not by wagon, many emigrants from around the world sought the same thing. Thousands of Chinese immigrants flooded into California, driven from their homeland by civil unrest and natural disasters and lured to new shores by the promise of “Gum Saan,” or “Gold Mountain.” A Chinese immigrant stands on the corner of a street in historic San Francisco. The Lands of the Overland Trails: Protests against the Mexican American War Almost every movement in American history has a corresponding counter movement. The Mexican American War (1846-48), which resulted in Mexico ceding much of the modern-day American Southwest to the United States, is a good example. With the stroke of a pen, parts of the Santa Fe, California, Oregon, Pony Express, Mormon Pioneer, and Old Spanish trails, as well as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, suddenly became American territory. A dirt road snakes down a steep cliff face in the desert. Fourth of July on the Overland Trails For many travelers on the overland trails, the Fourth of July was just another day of trekking through sand and sagebrush. For some it was a day of melancholy, thinking of how their loved ones at home might be celebrating. For others, especially the Fortyniners, it was fun a day of celebration, usually involving the firing of “salutes” with their handguns and rifles, energetic flag-waving, and a feast. A covered wagon sits in front of a vast rocky landscape The Pioneer Line to California: An Adventure in Transportation Some Gold Rush entrepreneurs organized commercial wagon trains to carry passengers to the California gold fields. The best known of these (thanks to the writings of passengers) was the so-called Pioneer Line, which suffered disaster after disaster on the trail. Twenty-two of its passengers died along the way or shortly after reaching Sacramento. An old handbill advertising an Express Passenger Trail to California. Sagebrush and Salt Flats along the Overland Trails The Great Basin, that Big Empty between hither and yon, is a raw and merciless land. Many 19th century emigrants, after several months trudging from the Missouri River with ox and wagon, stopped at its hither edge to settle near the Great Salt Lake. Many others, gazing west into that alien expanse, wanted urgently to meet its yon side at the Sierra Nevada as quickly as possible. Very few stopped permanently, willingly, in the thirsty in-between. A salt flat, covered in shallow water, stretches out to distant mountains. Cholera: A Trail Epidemic In the early years of the California gold rush, cholera struck each spring at the thronging jumping-off towns along the Missouri River where thousands of gold seekers and Oregon-bound emigrants gathered to outfit. The deadly disease claimed many lives before the victims even had a chance to start across the prairies of Kansas or Nebraska. It claimed many more along the trail corridor to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and in American Indian encampments and villages, as well. A stone grave monument, stands in a field of tall grass. Wind Damage to Historic Fort Douglas Post Cemetery Hurricane level winds measured at up to 112 mph knocked down hundreds of big trees in Salt Lake City on Sept. 8. Some fallen trees damaged graves and headstones at historic Fort Douglas Post Cemetery, near the University of Utah campus. Trees fallen near granite headstones in a green grass cemetery. 1857 Mormon Defensive Breastworks at Mormon Flat, Utah Fearing an invasion by the approaching US Army in 1857, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young evacuated Salt Lake City and ordered the Mormon Militia to prevent the soldiers from entering the valley. The federal troops would come through Fort Bridger, a trading post in in present-day southeastern Wyoming, and pass through Echo Canyon, about 50 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, before following the California-Mormon Trail up Big Mountain. A row of piled rocks, in a grassy field, with a distant hill. Oregon and California Trails Fall 2020 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. Death-Winds in the Sierra Nevada Hurricane-force winds struck parts of the western US in September 2020, knocking down huge trees and tearing shingles from roofs. Emigrants traveling west in covered wagons encountered severe windstorms, too--some with deadly outcomes. An illustration of a canvas tent in a forest with downed trees. Visit to Hastings Cutoff 2020 State chapters of the Oregon-California Trails Association often lead field trips along the trails. Recently, fall of 2020, the Crossroads Chapter of Utah led a group along the Hastings Cutoff -- the route followed by the Donner-Reed Party--west of Salt Lake City. What Happened to the Bison? Crossing the Southern Plains in 1806, Zebulon Pike described herds of bison that “exceeded imagination.” Yet by the 1850s, many of the Native nations that relied on bison for sustenance—such as the Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes—were seeing fewer bison than ever before. What happened? A bison stands and eats grass. The Platte Experience Otoe Indians called this region “Nebrathka,” meaning “flat water,” and the French word “Platte” means the same. The defining flatness of the broad Platte River Valley, which averages five to seven miles wide, made it ideal for animal-powered travel on both sides of the stream. The long Platte River also provided plenty of water and native grasses for game and livestock. Many emigrants later recalled it as the easiest, most pleasant part of their westering journey. A statue of a bison in front of a large museum. Gateway to the West: National Historic Trails Across the Continental Divide The Rocky Mountains stretch like a jagged spine between Alaska and Mexico, splitting North America into East and West. The Continental Divide is not a simple line of peaks, easily threaded by tracks and roads, but a complex of overlapping mountain ranges and treeless sagebrush steppe, hundreds of miles wide. In the days of covered wagon travel, the Rockies were an imposing barrier to the movement of people, commerce, and communications. South Pass was the gateway to the West. Historic image a covered wagon train meeting tall mountains. War on the Oregon & California Trails Once-friendly Western tribes watched with mounting anger as emigrants helped themselves, often wastefully, to their game, grass, water, and wood. Indian agents warned of bloody conflicts ahead if the issues between native peoples and emigrants were not soon resolved. In response, the U.S. government called for a treaty conference to be held near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in September 1851. Some 12,000 members of 11 different Northern Plains tribes answered the call. A green lawn stretches back to a distant historic fort. A Gathering Storm: American Indians and Emigrants in the 1830s As American settlers surged westward across the eastern woodlands and prairies in the early 19th century, they pushed American Indians out of their ancestral homes. The U.S. government resettled many of those displaced Eastern tribes —the Kickapoo, Delaware, Potawatomi, and others— in congressionally designated Indian Territory west of the Missouri River and south of the Platte. The resettled Eastern tribes were among the first Indians encountered by emigrants through Kansas. Hike on a National Historic Trail Hiking a National Historic Trail isn't always what people expect. Like the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails pass through multiple states and travel across a variety of land ownership. Unlike the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails can't be traversed on one long walking trail. You can plan a weekend adventure or an afternoon outing on a National Historic Trail. The following trips will give you the opportunity to hike pieces of the historic trail routes. A brown trail sign stands next to a trail that leads through the forest. “Thicker than Stars in the Firmament”: Bison along the Platte River Corridor Emigrants heading west along the Platte River in the early years of the overland emigration wrote excitedly in diaries and journals about their first sightings of buffalo and the wild hunts that typically followed. Some wagon trains got caught in buffalo stampedes, and some lost cattle that ran off to join the unimaginably enormous herds of wild bison. But as commercial hunters and sport-slaughter thinned those herds that part of the overland experience changed. An illustration of a group of covered wagons and American Indians on horseback. Traveling the Emigrant Trails Learn a little bit about what life was like for the emigrants traveling west by covered wagon. Wagons on the Emigrant Trails Emigrants along the western trails had several options when it came to wagons. Three covered wagons are seen in front of a distinctive rock formation. Places to See Oregon Trail Ruts Over the years, thousands of wagon wheels and hooves churned the earth as they traveled west. Their traces are often referred to as wagon ruts and they can appear a variety of ways depending on the type of soil and the continued effects of water erosion. One of the best ways to experience the Oregon Trail is by taking a step back in time while visiting a trail rut. Luckily, there are still places where you can have that experience today. Take a look and plan your visit today! A highly eroded channel through thick, light colored rock. Death and Danger on the Emigrant Trails There were many life-threatening challenges for the emigrants who traveled the emigrant trails to California, Oregon, or Utah. A watercolor painting of wagon trains approaching Chimney Rock. Bloomers on the Trail Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a suffragist and women's magazine editor from New York, kicked off a dress-reform movement in 1851 by appearing in public wearing puffy pantaloons under a short skirt. Although she was ridiculed for her attire, some young women happily adopted the practical and comfortable "bloomers" outfit for their trip west across the overland trails. An illustration of a woman in period dress, showcasing her long short pants. Women Traveling West The Oregon and California trails traverse lands where women challenged traditional gender roles. In the early 1840s Americans began heading west in large numbers, many traveling in family groups. Women in the nation’s more settled areas were supposed to excel at domestic work, like cooking, cleaning, and raising children; however, as part of a wagon train, women got to showcase a wider range of skills. An illustration of a string of covered wagons, with an encampment scene in the foreground. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides: California Trail Download one of these booklets and begin your state by state trail adventure! The Auto Tour Route (ATR) guides provide an overview of local trail history while giving driving directions to suggested points of interest along the trail. There are auto tour route guides available for the trail across MO, KS, NE, CO, WY, ID, UT, and NV. The cover of a travel guide that has a picture of an expansive, sandy desert. Become a Junior Ranger for National Historic Trails Learn about the National Historic Trails and earn junior ranger badges! These activities can be completed virtually or after visiting a site along the National Historic Trails. Booklets can be submitted either electronically or by mail. Take a look and start exploring the trails today! small photos of different trail sites with junior ranger badges. Historic Valentine's Day Cards Valentines day cards rose to popularity in the United States in the mid-1800s. Victorian cards were elaborate, decorative, often-lace trimmed, and mass-produced. Not everyone could afford such cards, so handmade cards were very popular with pioneers and others who couldn't buy an expensive card. You can take your Valentine back in time by making a historic card! Use the provided template, or make a handmade card, and return to the 1800s with your love. A historic valentines day card with a rose illustration. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2021 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. Hogsback Summit Winter Views Winter view of the Wasatch Mountains from Hogsback Summit, near Henefer, Utah, on the Donner Party route of the California Trail. The Donner Party reached this point on July 19, 1846, having been directed by Lansford W. Hastings to cut their own trail through these mountains. Here they had their first glimpse of what that would mean for them. Enjoy a virtual visit with a few different views of this significant trail location. a wintery landscape leading to distant snow-covered mountains. Series: National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides Interested in planning a trip along a national historic trail? Use these guides to follow the historic routes while learning more about local and trail history. The cover of a travel guide that has an illustration of a covered wagon train in the plains. Series: The Emigrant Experience Have you ever wondered what the experience was like for the emigrants who traveled west on the Great Platte River Road? A man dressed in period clothing leans on a covered wagon. Poetry on the California Trail Dr. Israel Lord, an Iowa physician who headed to California to dig for gold in 1849, composed 17 stanzas about a suffering, worn-out ox he watched die in the deserts west of the Humboldt River in today’s Nevada. Here are three of the verses he recorded in his journal: "Too sure they’ve left me here to die...An old and hungry ox;..." An oil painting of people next to a covered wagon next to a dying oxen. A Gunslinger’s Tale: Johnny Ringo "And now Oh God comes the saddest record of my life for this day my husband accidentally shot himself and was buried by the wayside and oh, my heart is breaking…" The fatal accident of July 30, 1864, near present-day Glenrock, Wyoming, left William Ringo’s family fatherless on the California Trail, some thousand miles from their destination. He is also know as Johnny, Johnny Ringo. That Johnny Ringo. A historic image of a man from the 1880s National Historic Trails: Historical Routes of National Significance Wondering about National Historic Trails? Check out this infographic with basic information about the trails, their purpose, and where you can go for more information! Infographic about National Historic Trails featuring a map. Full description available at link. Skull Valley and Hastings Pass: Backcountry Route Take an auto tour off of Interstate 80 in Utah to explore the National Historic Trails! This 46-mile backcountry route follows pavement south along the trail corridor for about 17 miles from exit 77 to Iosepa, Utah. Beyond Iosepa, the route follows 29 miles of unpaved road along the original route of the Hastings Cutoff through the Cedar Mountains at Hastings Pass. Plan ahead and prepare! Backcountry travel requires the right equipment and knowledge. Hastings Pass: Optional Backcountry Route xxx Child’s Play: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Laudanum is a tincture made from powdered opium, morphine, and codeine. Today it is available in the US only by prescription, but in the 19th century it was an inexpensive patent medicine used to quiet agitated minds, ease fever and pain, and relieve diarrhea. An overdose causes the victim to stop breathing, lapse into coma, and die. That’s what happened to six-year-old Salida Jane Henderson, called “Lettie,” while she camped with her family in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. A small green glass bottle with a cork topper. Mail and the National Historic Trails Communication between loved ones has always been an essential part of life when you are separated from each other. During the Gold Rush, miners and other folks out west depended on the mail as a connection to their family back home and to find out news from around the country. Mail service in 1849 was different than it is today! Learn more about this important history. Miners working in a stream, in a forest setting. Can I Eat This: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails In 1849, many companies of gold seekers decided to follow the Applegate Trail to a new cutoff, said to be a quicker way to the goldfields. Lassen’s Cutoff turned out to be 200 miles longer than the established routes, extending the trip by weeks. Long before reaching the mines, most companies ran out of food. Starving men desperately filled their empty bellies with anything they could chew- rotting livestock lying trailside, boiled bits of leather, and plants, some poisonous. Clusters of small white flowers. Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Edwin Bryant, traveling overland to California in 1846, had only briefly studied medicine, and he never claimed to be a physician. But somewhere along Nebraska’s Platte River, a little boy from another party had gotten his leg crushed under wagon wheels. The child, eight or nine years old, survived but desperately needed medical attention. There being no doctor nearby, Bryant reluctantly agreed to examine him. A wooden wagon wheel with spokes radiating out from the center. Mother’s Mortal Mistake: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Joel Hills Johnson started along the trail in April 1857, on his way to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Big Mountain, less than 20 miles from the city, his group overtook a party of “apostates” – former Mormon converts who had abandoned their church and were leaving the Mormon realm. As was common practice, a mother of that party had stirred together a pan of bread dough in the morning and set it to rise in the wagon during the day... A risen bread loaf in a tin pan. Fatal missteps, Part 2: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Emigrants on the Truckee Route to California typically started across Nevada’s Fortymile Desert in the evening in order to avoid the heat of the midday sun. The one reliable place to find water along the desert trek was a place called Boiling Springs, where travelers could dip out and cool the precious water for their livestock to drink. Steam rises from a small pond that sits in a desert setting void of much vegetation Thunder Road: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails First comes a sudden stillness, then an unexpected cool breeze. Sunshine dims to darkness as growling, green-black clouds pile overhead, flickering with lightning. The wind rises. A brilliant bolt splits the air with a deafening crr-ACK, followed by momentary silence and then a violent, crashing boom that makes the living earth tremble... Lightning bolt in a dark sky. Fatal missteps, Part 1: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Devil’s Gate, near Independence Rock in south-central Wyoming, is a deep, V-shaped cleft cut through a granite ridge by the Sweetwater River. Curious emigrants, including the younger brother of pioneer Ezra Meeker, made side-trips to explore the scenic feature. A river squeezes through a narrow passage between two sheer rock walls Elko Hot Hole Exhibits Audio Description Listen to the audio descriptions for the Elko Hot Hole exhibits. An interpretive exhibit depicting a geothermal geyser. National Historic Trails Scrapbooks Imagine if early travelers on the National Historic Trails had a polaroid camera... what would their scrapbooks look like? Though we have many journals describing their experiences, there are obviously very few or no photos at all from these journeys. Cameras didn't exist! Well, we took a crack at it and created scrapbook pages for them! Take a look at what we imagine a trail traveler's scrapbook would like! A scrapbook page depicting multiple scenes from the trail, and relevant icon images. Mill Creek Exhibits Audio Description Listen to the audio descriptions for the exhibits at Mill Creek in Independence, Missouri. Wayside exhibit audio descriptions for Mill Creek. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Fall 2021 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). National Historic Trails Fashion Inspiration During NPS Fashion Week, we are exploring some ways fashion inspiration may be found on National Historic Trails (NHTs). On NHTs you’ll find intriguing colors, shapes, textures, histories, and stories. From golden sunsets to feathered hats, NHTs have diverse natural and cultural environments that can inspire the fashionista in us all! A red rock cliff with a path winding through it Christmas on the Emigrant Trails Series Most emigrants reached the end of their long overland journey weeks or months before December 25 rolled around. A few, though, stranded or lost along the way, spent their first Christmas in the West in winter camps many miles from the settlements. Here’s how they observed the holiday. A large granite outcrop, about 10 feet high, gray with flecks of green moss. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1846 at Donner Lake, California The Donner-Reed Party were much less fortunate than the Walker wagon train. They were on a tried-and-true wagon trail, the 1844 Truckee Route, not lost but late. These emigrants attempted to cross the central Sierra Nevada in early November 1846 but became trapped by blizzards near present-day Truckee, California. By December, the emigrants were living on boiled bone and strips of ox hides from the dead livestock they dug from beneath the snow. The wrote of their Christmas... Old black and white photography of a man sitting on a fallen log among tree stumps. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1849 at Bruff’s Camp, California On the Lassen branch of the California Trail, ‘49er J. Goldsborough Bruff celebrated a rustic but more pleasant Christmas in the Cascades Mountains, north of the Sierra Nevada. Bruff, a professional draftsman and a strong-willed individual, ended up stuck in the mountains at Christmas largely due to his own pride and stubbornness. Self portrait in ink and watercolor. Bearded man, shown from head to waist. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1849 at Death Valley, California The Rev. James W. Brier, a Methodist preacher from Ohio, wanted to reach the California gold fields in the worst way, so that’s exactly what he did. He chose the very worst way imaginable: a “shortcut” across the untracked badlands of southern Nevada. Black and white engraving of a line of people and livestock marching single file . Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1843 at Peachtree Valley, California An 1843 emigrant party of about 17 emigrant men, women, and children, led by famed mountain man Joseph R. Walker, hoped to get their eight wagons through the Sierra Nevada and into the California interior. Theirs would be the second wagon train to attempt the feat. Black and white studio portrait by Matthew Brady. A seated, stern-faced man holds a rifle. Young Man Alone: Snowbound in the Sierra Nevada, 1844 Are you “sheltering in place” because of the Covid pandemic? Feeling lonely, bored, and sad? Consider the plight of 17-year-old Moses Schallenberger, stranded alone in the Sierra Nevada for three months with no smartphone, cable TV, social media, energy drinks, snack foods, or central heating. The year was 1844—still very early in the overland emigration era. Moses, orphaned at age six, was heading to California with his sister, Elizabeth... Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2022 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). A Hike to Roller Pass on the California Trail Take a five-mile roundtrip hike along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail near Truckee, Cal., to explore one of the California Trail’s more difficult passages through the Sierra Nevada! Find out how trail travelers surmounted the pass and how you can visit today. A hiker stands at the summit of a mountain overlooking a rocky pass Things to Do in Nebraska Find things to do, trip ideas, and more in Nebraska. Steep bluff with pink sky above and yellow leaves below. Things to Do in Missouri Find things to do, trip ideas, and more in Missouri. Purple flowers bloom on a grass-covered landscape under a partly cloudy sky. Things to Do in Kansas Find things to do in Kansas. Single story square building in the distance partially obstructed by a field of golden grass. Series: Things to Do in the Midwest There is something for everyone in the Midwest. See what makes the Great Plains great. Dip your toes in the continent's inland seas. Learn about Native American heritage and history. Paddle miles of scenic rivers and waterways. Explore the homes of former presidents. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, discover the stories that shape our journey as a nation. Steep bluff with pink sky above and yellow leaves below. Girl in a Sugar Barrel: Mary Elizabeth Snelling Could a 12-year-old girl fit inside a sugar barrel? And why on earth would she want to? Not much seems certain about Mary Elizabeth Snelling’s childhood circumstances except that she was African American and born in Johnson County, Mo., on February 4, 1839. Also this important fact: Mary Elizabeth, daughter of a Black woman and a white man, had light-colored skin. Learn more about her journey west on the California Trail. Faded image of the head and shoulders of a slightly smiling woman wearing wire-rimmed glasses. Introduction - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Introduction to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Preface - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Preface to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Captivity and Independence: Race and Enslavement in the Trailhead Towns Along the Missouri Trailhead towns like Westport were particularly inhospitable to Black Americans, even those that were not enslaved. Yes, jumping-off places were diverse communities that offered economic opportunities for people of color, such as Hiram Young and Emily Fisher. However, trailhead towns along the Missouri River carried the same anti-Black attitudes as much of the United States. Learn more... Methodology - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Methodology to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Sweet Freedom's Plains, Chapter 1: Race, Slavery, and Freedom Race, Slavery, and Freedom: Chapter 1 Sections, Sweet Freedom's Plains, African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841 - 1869, Sweet Freedom's Plains, Chapter 2: The Jumping-Off Places Chapter 2 Sections, The Jumping-Off Places, Sweet Freedoms Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841 - 1869. California Trail Junior Ranger Interested in becoming a California Trail junior ranger? Use this information to complete your worksheet! Oregon and California National Historic Trails Fall 2022 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). Thomas Woodson, the California Trail Thomas Woodson was the first child born to Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman in the Jeffersons’ household. Thomas outfitted in St. Louis and made his way to Independence in 1846, where he jumped off onto the trail, California bound. His party was led by William Henry Russell, but Thomas parted ways with that group before reaching the Kansas River. Alvin Aaron Coffey, the California Trail California was a place of both hope and danger for enslaved African Americans. The state’s antislavery laws and plentiful business opportunities provided chances for a fresh start. These business opportunities, however, also attracted dishonest men looking to earn a quick buck. As we shall see, Alvin Coffey experienced both extremes during his three journeys across the California Trail. Historical portrait of a man. J. Goldsborough Bruff, the California Trail News of California’s bountiful mineral resources encouraged J. Goldsborough to embark on his own overland journey. Trained as a draftsman and cartographer, Bruff’s sketches, paintings, and written descriptions of his trip, like the journals of the Corps of Discovery, became a useful guide for those who followed. His documentation of the United States’ expansion, of western landscapes, and of everyday life in California’s gold camps contributes generously to the narrative and Illustration of a self-portrait of a goldminer. Bridget “Biddy” Mason, the California Trail On 22 January 1856, Bridget “Biddy” Mason and twelve members of her extended family left the Los Angeles courtroom of Judge Benjamin Hayes as free people. She had lived as an enslaved person in California, a supposedly “free” state, for nearly five years. Her story is testament to the many obstacles that Black Americans faced in securing basic civil rights—even in states that technically prohibited slavery. Historical portrait of a woman. Mifflin W. Gibbs, the California Trail Gibbs, like so many thousands, left the East for San Francisco in 1850, convinced that his own “judicious temperament, untiring energy, lexicon of endeavor, in which there is no such word as ‘fail,’ [was] the only open sesame” to the opportunities that awaited him in the “new” country. He may have been a “gold rusher,” but Gibbs had no interest in becoming a miner. Eliza Donner Houghton, the California Trail On 14 April 1846, three-year-old Eliza Donner left Springfield, Illinois, and set out for California in a covered wagon with fifteen members of her extended family. The family name would soon go down in history for the tragedy that overtook them on the long trail to California. Historical portrait of a girl. Archy Lee, the California Trail California entered the Union as a free state, but that did not mean that enslaved people were magically emancipated upon entering. Take, for example, the case of Archy Lee, who reached Sacramento in October 1857 with his enslaver, Charles Stovall. Despite California’s anti-slavery status, the eighteen-year-old Lee ended up in an all-out fight for his freedom. Series: Death Came A-Knockin’: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Everyone who’s ever played the Oregon Trail game know that emigrants stood a good chance of dying from disease or drowning at a river crossing before ever reaching the Willamette Valley. Of course, there were other common ways to die on the way to Oregon, Utah, or California. These were the possibilities people knew and worried about as they loaded up their wagons and started their oxen westward. But there were other ways to end one’s trip early. Unexpected ways. Freak accidents. Steam rises from a small pond in a desert setting. Birdwatching on the California Trail Emigrants on the California Trail were introduced to many new plants and animals as they made their journey west. With over 2,000 miles of trail, through countless habitats, there are a number of places where you can have a similar experience. Check out these places along the trail which are noted for their birdwatching opportunities. A picture of large bird with a long beak. The Lander Road, California National Historic Trail The year 1857 saw the first US government sponsored road (trail) for the emigrant routes to Oregon and California. This road was a cutoff that provided trail travelers with a new, and 60 miles shorter, route between South Pass, Wyoming and Fort Hall, Idaho. It only took one year to make this 256 -mile route, which soon became named after the person in charge of constructing it - Frederick W Lander. Grassy field with small shrubs. Significant Figures of the Pony Express, California, Oregon, and Mormon Pioneer Trails Stories collected as part of a 2016–2018 collaborative project of the National Trails- National Park Service and the University of New Mexico’s Department of History, “Student Experience in National Trails Historic Research: Vignettes Project.” This project was formulated to provide trail partners and the general public with useful biographies of less-studied trail figures—particularly African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, women, and children. Four images of historic portrait from the mid-19th century. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2023 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). Image of an online newsletter with text and pictures. Series: People of the California Trail Learn more about significant figures of the California National Historic Trail. Historical illustration of a mn. Alcove Spring Exhibits Audio Description Interested in the Oregon and California Trails at Alcove Spring? Take a look at these interpretive exhibits and listen to their audio descriptions. Wayside interpretive exhibit, full audio description is available. National Trails Coloring Pages Stretching for 28,000 miles over 26 states, the national historic trails are home to many different animals. Learn more about the trails and the animals that people encountered with these great coloring pages. This is fun for all ages, just download, print, and color! Coloring page with outline of a deer fawn. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Summer 2023 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). Oregon and California Trails Newsletter Summer 2023 Reconstructed Fort Laramie Emigrant Register, 1850 Nineteenth-century overland migration is one of the best documented processes in American history. Journals, letters, sketches, and guidebooks paint vivid pictures of the varied landscapes and emotions that migrants experienced on their way west. Yet despite this rich body of evidence, there is no official count of how many people undertook the journey. Some of the best data we have comes courtesy of officers at Fort Laramie, who counted passing travelers in the year of 1850. Line graph showing the number of westbound men and wagons passing Fort Laramie. Reflecting on 55 years of the National Trails System Act: A Journey Through the Establishment of National Scenic and Historic Trails In celebration of the 55th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, learn more about these significant trails and their history. Mormon Pioneer, California, and Pony Express Trails: Echo Canyon Itinerary Explore Echo Canyon in Utah, for a combined three trails experience! Use this trip itinerary to plan a driving day trip along historic trails, visiting multiple sites, and learning as you go! Mormon Pioneer Trail: Salt Lake City Itinerary Salt Lake City, a pioneer way-station as well as a destination, is rich in the combined history of the Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, and California national historic trails. This itinerary starts at This Is The Place Heritage Park for an overview of the three trails at one tour stop. From there, this itinerary becomes a walking tour downtown and focuses on the Mormon Pioneer Trail. A grassy park, with a sidewalk that splits through the center. Distant statues. Myrtle Creek Ruts Exhibit Audio Description Interested in the California Trail at Myrtle Creek Ruts? Take a look at this interpretive exhibit and listen to the audio description. Wayside interpretive exhibit, full audio description is available.
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Emigrant Trails of Northeast California Between the 1840s and 1870s, Euro-Americans sought opportunity and traveled throughout this area. Pioneers emigrated from the eastern United States and were motivated by economic incentives including gold, undeveloped lands, and the promise of a new life. Four major emigrant routes traversed northeastern California and northwestern Nevada within the boundary of the Applegate Field Office. These included the Applegate Trail to Oregon, the Lassen Trail to the upper Sacramento Valley, the Burnett Cutoff from Oregon to California, and the Yreka Trail to the Yreka mines in Siskiyou County. These routes, among other lesser local trails, were traveled upon by Native Americans, fur trappers of the Hudson Bay Company and explorers such as John Frémont and Kit Carson. Applegate Trail and continuing on to northern Sacramento Valley in the vicinity of present-day Chico. The Applegate Trail was named after the Applegate brothers - Jesse, Lindsay and Charles - who pioneered the trail in 1846. This trail diverged from the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall, Idaho, and traveled through the Great Basin, the formidable Black Rock Desert, High Rock Canyon, the lush Surprise Valley, and over the Warner Mountains. The trail was advertised as a shorter and more efficient route than the California Trail, but in reality it was neither. One anonymous Lassen Trail traveler noted it was, “the rockiest road ever.” Burnett Cut-Off Jesse Applegate, Courtesy of OSU From the Warner Range it traversed the Devils Garden north of Alturas, “where wagon wheels rarely touched the earth,” according to travelers who faced the rocky, volcanic terrain before continuing on to the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon. Lassen Trail In 1848, Peter Lassen, pioneered the Lassen Trail route by leading a group of 12 wagons off of the Applegate Trail, at the southern end of Goose Lake, In 1848, en-route to the rich farmlands and the California gold fields, the Peter Burnett-led party left the Applegate Trail in the Tule Lake Basin and joined the Lassen Trail near Lookout, California. With Hudson Bay trapper Charles McKay as guide, they headed south toward Big Valley near present day Bieber. Peter Burnett eventually became the first elected governor of California (1849-1851). Yreka Trail The Yreka Trail left the Applegate at lower Klamath Marsh and headed west to the Yreka mines and the rich Klamath River gold country of Siskiyou County. This trail was also a supply route during the Modoc War and used as recently as the 1950s. California National Historic Trail The California National Historic Trail passes through lands in California and Nevada managed by the BLM Applegate Field Office. Designated in 1992, the California Trail System commemorates all associated trail branches that brought settlers to this part of the American West. Today, these trails have associated auto tours, educational programs, and visitor centers. Visit the History of the Modoc Plateau To learn more about the Pit River, Modoc and Klamath tribes, visit the local museums, read the many historical publications or visit online to www.pitrivertribe.org, www.modocnation.com and www.klamathtribes.org. Lava Beds National Monument 530 667-8100 Modoc National Forest 530 233-5811 Alturas Chamber of Commerce 530 233-4434 For Emergencies call 911. You can learn about prominent historical figures such as Modoc Leader, Kintpuash (Captain Jack), Pit River Chief, Istet Woiche (William Hulsey), Peter Lassen, John Frémont, the Applegate brothers, General George Crook, and Peter Burnett. Wagon Ruts, Photo by Bob Black You can learn about the tragic Modoc War and Battle of Infernal Caverns and the experiences of early pioneers as they traveled west. Refer to the map on the opposite side of this brochure for locations of each panel and related Trails West markers. Leave No Trace Dispose of Waste Properly: The emigrants only packed what they needed. Pack it in, pack it out. Properly dispose of all food scraps and trash. Respect the Rights of Others: Be aware of private property; leave gates as you find them, and don’t let your dogs harass wildlife or livestock. Respect Natural and Cultural Resources: Driving off road is prohibited. It is illegal to damage archaeological sites or take cultural artifacts. Keep informed of weather and route information just as the emigrants used guides and trail mailboxes along the trail. Do not rely on your cell phone, service is intermittent. Be Informed: Find Out More: Klamath County Historical Museum Modoc Historical Museum 600 S Main St, Alturas, CA 96101 (P) 530-233-2944 Fort Crook Museum 43030 Fort Crook Museum Rd, Fall River Mills, CA 96028 (P) 530-336-5110 U.S. military forts, such as Fort Bidwell, were established to protect settlers and emigrants. Despite changes and adversities over generations, local tribes maintain strong ties to their respective cultural lifeways and customs. Lassen National Forest 5
National Trails System National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide The Mormon Pioneer Trail Across Iowa in 1846 Leaving Nauvoo and “Crossing the Mississippi on the Ice,” by C. A. Christensen Reconstructed Latter-day Saints Temple at Nauvoo, Illinois. NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE The Mormon Pioneer Trail Across Iowa in 1846 Prepared by National Park Service National Trails Intermountain Region 324 South State Street, Suite 200 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 Telephone: 801-741-1012 www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/poex www.nps.gov/mopi NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR April 2007 Second Printing September 2010 contents Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 A New Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Clash of Cultures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Exodus From Nauvoo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Winter Retreat Across Iowa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Places to Pause, To Rest…To Die. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 A Far Reaching Impact. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Sites and Points of Interest Nauvoo, Illinois to Council Bluffs, Iowa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Credits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Regional Map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Iowa - Nebraska Introduction T he Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail follows the route Auto Tour established by Brigham Young Route to bring his followers from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been based for more than 160 years. That first migration of Latter-day Saints to the Great Basin occurred in two stages: in 1846, from western Illinois to the Missouri River in the area of today’s Council Bluffs, Iowa; and in 1847, from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City. This Auto Tour Route interpretive guide covers the 1846 segment of Mormon Trail from Illinois through Iowa. Because they have not been designated by Congress Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Iowa - Nebraska as part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, routes and sites used by later Mormon wagon trains and handcart companies are not included in this guide. Individual Auto Tour Route interpretive guides such as this one are in preparation for each state through which the trail passes. As you follow the guide, watch for Auto Tour Route highway logos marking the general route of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. In addition, a National Park Service brochure with a map of the entire Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail is available at many trail-related venues, and also can be requested from the trail’s administrative office at 324 South State Street, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, Utah. Historic Nauvoo, pioneer wagon ruts, emigrant camps, and other places of interest along or near the trail corridor are listed within this guide. Driving directions are also provided. Entrance and parking fees may be charged at some locations; hours may vary at the discretion of the managers —you may want to call ahead. Large groups are encouraged to make prior arrangements for tours, where available. 2 Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Iowa - Nebraska A New Faith M ormons, as Latter-day Saints are popularly called, practice a unique religion that arose in 1830 from the teachings of church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. Early converts to the new faith followed their prophet from New York to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois through the 1830s and ’40s. They were driven from each state by threats and violence. The reasons for the Latter-day Saints’ early troubles still are debated, but religious, political, economic, and social practices all were at issue. Because Mormon beliefs about God and family differed in important ways from mainstream Christianity, they drew criticism and scorn. Because the Latter-day Saints created their own separate towns, religion-based governments, and security forces, their neighbors became uneasy and fearful. Resentment grew as the church became involved in local, state, and eventually, national politics. Disagreements led to legal battles and, in cases, violence
National Trails System Office Intermountain Region National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Interpretive Auto Tour Western Missouri Through Northeastern Kansas “Westport Landing” — by William Henry Jackson Courtesy—William Henry Jackson Collection at Scotts Bluff National Monument . R Driving directions to the sites are provided from major highways and nearby towns. To follow overland trail routes between sites, follow the Auto Tour Route highway signs. Generally, local brochures and guides are also available. Entrance and parking fees may be charged at some locations, and hours may vary at the discretion of site administrators. Large groups are encouraged to make prior arrangements for tours, where tours are available. Please respect private property by staying in public areas, and help protect our national heritage by leaving trail resources undisturbed. National Trails System Office 324 South State Street, Suite 200 P.O. Box 45155 Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0155 Auto Tour Route oadside Auto Tour Route signs mark the general routes of the Oregon, California, and Pony Express national historic trails through western Missouri and northeast Kansas. Actual wagon wheel ruts, emigrant camps, Pony Express stations, and other places of interest can be visited at the sites listed in this guide. Interpretive Auto Tour Western Missouri - Northeast Kansas ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI ON THEIR OWN T N he story of the American West is not simply a tale of pioneer courage and vision—of prairie schooners swaying westward to the strains of heroic music. Rather, it is a complex weave of plots and subplots, of romance and religion, of politics and money, and of personal and national tragedy. Traces of the people, livestock, and wooden wheels that were part of those stories can still be found on the landscape. There are traces, too, of native peoples whose lives were changed by emigration. This guide will provide descriptions of the historic places where wagon wheels cut into soft stream banks and over rolling prairie, where lonely trailside graves lie, where missionary outposts were established for Native Americans, and where Pony Express stations were, and more. Pioneers gathered to prepare for their journey at Independence and St. Joseph, Missouri. From there, they would embark across the wide and muddy Missouri River into a strange, windswept land of unfamiliar wonders—and dangers. ot fit for farming, too windswept and exposed to attract homesteaders, the “Great American Desert” that unrolled west of the Missouri River was seen as landscape to be crossed on the way to a better place. That crossing, travelers of the mid-19th century knew, was, by turn, exhausting and exhilarating, and tedious and terrifying. Emigrants’ excitement and anxiety mounted as they prepared to launch their ox-drawn prairie schooners from St. Joseph and Independence, Missouri, bustling river ports at the frontier’s edge. To them, the great, gray ribbon of the Missouri was the western shore of civilized society. Once their wagons rolled off the ferry onto the Kansas side, emigrants embarked into unfamiliar country—trespassers on Indian lands, and beyond the protection of the government. On the trail, there were no markets, no hospitals, no laws, and no second chances. From there until they reached trail’s end some 2,000 miles later, the pioneer emigrants were on their own. Here we were, without law, without order, and without restraint; in a state of nature, amid the confused, revolving fragments of elementary society! Some were sad, while others were merry; and while the brave doubted, the timid trembled! —Lansford W. Hastings, . . . . I, like every other pioneer, love to live over again, in memory those romantic months, and revisit, in fancy, the scenes of the journey. —Catherine Haun, —California emigration of 1849 In the winter of 18 and 46 our neighbor got hold of Fremont’s History of California and . . . . brought the book to my husband to read, & he was carried away with the idea [of emigrating] too. I said O let us not go! —Mary Jones, —California emigration of 1846 Interpretive Auto Tour Western Missouri - Northeast Kansas DANGER, DEATH, AND DISAPPOINTMENT M ost emigrants lived in fear of Indian attack. Rumors of—even hoaxes about—trailside massacres drifted back to Eastern newspapers, and many travelers packed a virtual arsenal to protect themselves on the road. For the most part, though, their fears were unfounded. Historians conclude that more Indian people than emigrants were killed in clashes along the Oregon and California trails. A more serious threat to those gathering at the congested jumping-off places along the Missouri River was a mysterious killer that could neither be seen nor fought: cholera. In the mid-19th century, no one realized that this virulent and painful intestinal infection was caused by bacteria. Spread unknowingly from waterhole to waterhole by sick travel
National Trails System National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Nebraska and Northeastern Colorado “Approaching Chimney Rock” By William Henry Jackson Chimney Rock, in western Nebraska, was one of the most notable landmarks recorded in emigrant diaries and journals. Photograph is courtesy of The Wagner Perspective. NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE Nebraska and Northeastern Colorado Prepared by National Park Service National Trails System—Intermountain Region 324 South State Street, Suite 200 Box 30 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 Telephone: 801-741-1012 www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/mopi www.nps.gov/poex NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR August 2006 Contents Introduction • • • • • • • 1 The Great Platte River Road • • • • • • • From Path to Highway • • • • • • • “A Whiz and a Hail” — The Pony Express • • • • • A “Frayed Rope” • • • • • • • The Platte Experience • • • • • • • Natives and Newcomers: A Gathering Storm • • • • • • • War on the Oregon & California Trails • • • • • • • Corridor to Destiny • • • • • • • 2 4 8 11 15 18 21 24 SITES AND POINTS OF INTEREST • • • • • • • Auto Tour Segment A: Odell to Kearney • • • • • • • Auto Tour Segment B: Omaha-Central City-Kearney • • • • • • Auto Tour Segment C: Nebraska City-Central City-Kearney • • • • • • • Auto Tour Segment D: Kearney to Wyoming Border • • • • • • • 25 For More Information • • • • • • • 61 Regional Map • • • • • • • 26 35 41 43 inside the back cover Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Nebraska Introduction M any of the pioneer trails and other historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as National Historic Trails. While Auto Tour most of those old roads and routes are Route not open to motorized traffic, people can drive along modern highways that lie close to the original trails. Those modern roads are designated as Auto Tour Routes, and they are marked with highway signs and trail logos to help today’s travelers follow the trails used by the pioneers who helped to open a new nation. This interpretive publication guides visitors along the Auto Tour Routes for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails as they approach and parallel the Platte River across Nebraska and cut across the northeastern corner of Colorado. Siteby-site driving directions are included, and an overview map is located inside the back cover. To make the tour more meaningful, this guide also provides an historical overview of the four trails, shares the thoughts and experiences of emigrants who followed those routes, and describes how the westward expansion impacted native peoples of the Great Plains. Individual Auto Tour Route interpretive guides such as this one are in preparation for each state through which the trails pass. In addition, individual National Park Service interpretive brochures for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails are available at many trail-related venues, and can be requested from the National Trails System Office at 324 South State, Suite 200, Box 30, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. These brochures provide more detailed information about each of the trails. Additional information on each trail also can be found on individual trail web sites. Links are listed on the title page of this guide. 1 Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Nebraska The Great Platte River Road “Too thick to drink, too thin to plow, too pale to paint.” “A mile wide and an inch deep.” “A stream flowing upside down.” C overed wagon pioneers of the 19th century liked to joke about Nebraska’s Platte River, a stream unlike any they had known back East. But the Platte, strange as it looked, was no joke. A summer shower could send it raging over-bank and through camp; its soft quicksand bottom could swallow up an ox team. River crossings were ordeals to dread. The river’s setting, too, seemed strange. Surrounding prairie, frequently cleansed by wildfire, was burned bare of trees right up to the water’s edge, and a line of low sand hills, looking like a storm-wracked beach, rimmed much of the river valley. Yet the yellow Platte, that treeless “Coast of Nebraska,” was an emigrant’s lifeline—a water source that snaked 800 dusty miles between the Missouri River and the uplands of central Wyoming. Though a choked and sandy disappointment of a stream, the Platte always was and still is a natural east-west corridor across the central plains. Migrating game and moccasin-clad feet wore paths through the “Fort Kearny & the South Platte River” by William Henry Jackson. 2 Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Nebraska valley thousands of years before any white man ventured there. Like those first travelers, covered wagon emigrants and their slow, plodding oxen found water, grass, and fuel
National Trails System National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Along the Snake River Plain Through Idaho “Three Island Crossing” by William Henry Jackson “Great Falls” on the Snake River. Courtesy of Library of Congress. NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE The Tangle of Trails Through Idaho Prepared by National Park Service National Trails System—Intermountain Region 324 South State Street, Suite 200 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 Telephone: 801-741-1012 www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/poex www.nps.gov/mopi NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR October 2008 Contents Introduction• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 THE DESERT WEST• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2 THE SNAKE COUNTRY • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4 FINDING THE WAY • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7 WYOMING TO FORT HALL• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 11 THE RAFT RIVER PARTING OF THE WAYS• • • • • • • • • • 20 ON TO OREGON• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22 ‘O FOR MORE PATIENCE’: A SNAKE RIVER SOJOURN • • 29 ‘DEATH OR THE DIGGINS’• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 32 ‘OUTRAGES HAVE BEEN COMMITTED’• • • • • • • • • • • 35 YESTERDAY AND TODAY• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 41 SITES AND POINTS OF INTEREST• • • • • • • • • • • • • 42 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT A: WYOMING TO OREGON ON THE SNAKE RIVER ROUTE OF THE OREGON TRAIL • • • • 45 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT B: THE SOUTH ALTERNATE OREGON TRAIL ROUTE, GLENNS FERRY TO OREGON STATE LINE • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 78 FOR MORE INFORMATION: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 82 Credits: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 82 Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Idaho Introduction M any of the pioneer trails and other historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as National Auto Tour Historic Trails. While most of the old roads and routes still in existance are not open to motorized Route traffic, people can drive along modern highways that closely parallel the original trails. Those modern roads are designated as Auto Tour Routes, and they are marked with highway signs and trail logos to help today’s travelers follow the trails used by the pioneers who helped to open the American West. This interpretive publication guides visitors along the Auto Tour Routes for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails across Idaho. Site-by-site driving directions are included, and an overview map is located inside the back cover. To make the tour more meaningful, this guide also provides a historical overview of the two trails, shares the thoughts and experiences of emigrants who followed these routes, and discusses how the westward expansion impacted native peoples of Idaho. Individual Auto Tour Route interpretive guides such as this one are in preparation for each state through which the trails pass. In addition, individual National Park Service brochures for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails are available at many trail-related venues, and also can be requested from the National Trails System administrative office at 324 South State Street, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. Each brochure includes a map of the entire trail and an overview of trail history. Additional information about each trail also can be found on individual trail web sites. Links are listed on the “For More Information” page of this guide. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Idaho THE DESERT WEST A s covered-wagon emigrants crossed today’s Idaho, they found the romance of the road wearing as thin as the soles of their trailtorn shoes. The pioneers’ initial energy and excitement curdled into fatigue and crankiness after three or more months on the road. Nightly fireside dances got left behind back down the trail, next to Grandpa’s clock, Mother’s good china, and heaps of souring bacon. Highjinks and horse races grew rare, quarrels more frequent. Journal-keepers, when they “Freighters Grub Pile,” by William mustered the energy to write at all, Henry Jackson. Courtesy of Library of generally jotted terse complaints Congress. about fellow travelers, Indians, heat, exhaustion, dust, mosquitoes, aches and pains, and the “stink” of the never-ending sagebrush. It seems the nearer we approach Oregon the worse roads we have, and a worse more rough looking country. —Amelia Hadley, 1851 Oregon emigration Felt today like giving up in despair, the intolerable heat and dust, together with fatigue makes me almost sick at heart. —Esther Belle Hanna, 1852 California emigration [Men] are by turns, or all together, cross, peevish, sullen, boisterous, giddy, profane, dirty, vulgar, ragged, mustachioed, bewhiskered, idle, petulant, quarrelsome, unfaithful, disobedient, refractory, careless,
National Trails System National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Across Wyoming “Rendezvous,” by William Henry Jackson NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE Across Wyoming Prepared by National Park Service National Trails Intermountain Region www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/mopi www.nps.gov/poex NATIONAL PARK SERVICE US DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Third Printing December 2016 Historical marker on South Pass recognizing the first “white” women to make the trek to Oregon in 1836. CONTENTS Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Gateway to the West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Blazing the Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Approaching the Rockies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Sweetwater to South Pass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Beyond the Great Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Leapfrogging Across Wyoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Ho for California! Oregon or Bust! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Fire on the Plains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 God Speed to the Boy & the Pony! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The End of the Trail Era . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Sites and Points of Interest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Auto Tour Segment A —Nebraska State Line to Casper . . . . . . . Auto Tour Segment B —Casper to Seedskadee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Auto Tour Segment C —The Lander Road. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Auto Tour Segment D —Seedskadee to Idaho State Line. . . . . . . Auto Tour Segment E —Seedskadee to Utah State Line. . . . . . . . 38 50 68 70 71 For More Information/Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Regional Map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover Eastern view of the Sweetwater River Valley from atop Independence Rock, by William Henry Jackson. Image is courtesy of the Brigham Young University Online Collection. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Wyoming INTRODUCTION Auto Tour Route any of the pioneer trails and other M historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as national historic trails. While most of those old roads and routes are not open to motorized traffic, people can drive along modern highways that lie close to the original trails. Those modern roads are designated as Auto Tour Routes, and are marked with highway signs and trail logos to help today’s travelers follow the trails used by the pioneers who helped to open a new nation. This interpretive publication guides visitors along the Auto Tour Routes for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express national historic trails as they as they cross the state of Wyoming from east to west. Site-by-site driving directions are included, and an overview map is located inside the back cover. To make the tour more meaningful, this guide also provides a historical overview of the four trails, shares the thoughts and experiences of emigrants who followed those routes, and describes how westward expansion impacted native peoples of the Intermountain West. National Park Service interpretive brochures for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express national historic trails are available at many trail-related venues, or can be requested via email to ntir_information@nps.gov. Additional information on each trail also can be found on individual trail websites. Links are listed on the title page of this guide. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Wyoming GATEWAY TO THE WEST History is geography set into motion. —Johann Gottfried Herder, 18th century philosopher of history T he Rocky Mountains stretch like a jagged spine between Alaska and Mexico, splitting North America into East and West. The Continental Divide is not a simple line of peaks, easily threaded by tracks and roads, but a complex of overlapping mountain ranges and treeless sagebrush steppe, hundreds of miles wide. In the days of covered wagon travel, the Rockies were an imposing barrier to the movement of people, commerce, and communications. Early explorers probed the Northern Rockies looking for the fabled “Northwest Passage” that would open an easy route for transcontinental traffic. The men of Lewis and Clark’s Cor
National Trails System National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Utah — Crossroads of the West “Wagons Through Echo Canyon,” by William Henry Jackson Pony Express Bible photograph is courtesy of Joe Nardone, — Pony Express History Association. Every Pony Express rider working for Russell, Majors, and Waddell, was issued a personal Bible to carry with them and obliged to pledge this oath: “I, [name of rider] - do hereby swear before the great and living God that during my engagement and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, I will under no circumstances use profane language, I will drink no intoxicating liquors; that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm and that in every respect I will I conduct myself honestly, faithful to my duties, and so direct my acts, as to win the confidence of my employers, So help me God.” NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE Utah — Crossroads of the West Prepared by National Park Service National Trails—Intermountain Region 324 South State Street, Suite 200 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 Telephone: 801-741-1012 www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/poex www.nps.gov/mopi NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR September 2010 Contents INTRODUCTION • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1 A NOTE ON STATE BOUNDARIES • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2 THE BIG EMPTY • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3 SAGEBRUSH AND SALT FLATS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4 FIRST WAGONS INTO UTAH • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7 ‘A NIGHER ROUTE’: The Hastings Cutoff • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 11 ‘THIS IS THE PLACE’: The Mormon Pioneers • • • • • • • • • • • • •18 A HALF-WAY HOUSE ON THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL • • • • • • • • • 28 THE UTAH WAR • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 34 ‘THE FORLORNEST SPOT’: The Pony Express Trail in Utah • • • 36 THE WARPATH • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 43 CROSSROADS OF THE WEST• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 47 SITES AND POINTS OF INTEREST • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 49 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT A: Wyoming Border To Salt Lake City, Utah — (Hastings Cutoff Of The California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express Trails) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 49 OPTIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROUTE: East Canyon/Little Emigration Canyon • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 65 SALT LAKE CITY PIONEER TOUR • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 77 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT B: Salt Lake City To West Wendover, NV • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 90 OPTIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROUTE: Skull Valley and Hastings Pass • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 95 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT C: Salt Lake City To City Of Rocks NR, ID (Salt Lake Cutoff of the California Trail) • • • • • • • • • • 105 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT D: Pony Express Trail National Back Country Byway • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 110 For More Information • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 122 Credits • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 122 Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Utah INTRODUCTION M any of the pioneer trails and other historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as National Historic Trails. While most of the trail ruts still in existence are not open to motorized traffic, people can drive along modern highways that either overlie the original route or closely parallel it. Those modern roads are designated as Auto Tour Routes, and they are marked with highway signs and trail logos to help today’s travelers follow the routes used by the pioneers who helped to open the American West. This interpretive publication guides visitors along the Auto Tour Routes for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails across Utah. Site-by-site driving directions are included, and an overview map is located inside the back cover. To make the tour more meaningful, this guide also provides a historical overview of the three trails, shares the thoughts and experiences of emigrants who followed these routes, and discusses how the westward expansion impacted the native peoples of what is now Utah. Individual Auto Tour Route interpretive guides such as this one are in preparation for each state through which the trails pass. In addition, individual National Park Service brochures for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails are available at many trail-related venues, and also can be requested from the National Trails System administrative office at 324 South State Street, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. Each brochure includes a map of the entire trail and a general overview of
National Trails Intermountain Region National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Across Nevada California National Historic Trail Pony Express National Historic Trail By the time they reached the Humboldt Sink, or Forty-mile Desert, many emigrant pioneers had little food, exhausted livestock, and broken wagons. [Cover photo] Forty-mile Desert NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAILS AUTO TOUR ROUTE INTERPRETIVE GUIDE Across Nevada on the Humboldt Route and The Central Route of the Pony Express Prepared by National Park Service National Trails Intermountain Region www.nps.gov/cali www.nps.gov/oreg www.nps.gov/poex www.nps.gov/mopi NATIONAL PARK SERVICE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR April 2012 Table of Contents ‘MOST CORDIALLY I HATE YOU’: THE HUMBOLDT RIVER •••••••••••••••••••• 2 THE GREAT BASIN •••••••••••••••••••• 4 SEEKING MARY’S RIVER •••••••••••••••••••• 5 APPROACHING THE HUMBOLDT • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 11 PRELUDE TO MURDER • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 15 THE HUMBOLDT EXPERIENCE • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 18 WEST TO STONY POINT • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 21 THE POLITICS OF HUNGER • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 24 A FLASH OF THE BLADE • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 27 ‘HEARTILY TIRED OF THE JOURNEY’ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 29 THE HUMBOLDT SINK • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 33 THE Forty-mile DESERT; or, HOW TO KILL AN OX • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 35 INTO THE SIERRA NEVADA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 42 THE PONY BOYS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 44 CHANGE IN THE GREAT BASIN • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 51 Sites & Points of Interest: Setting Out • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 53 Navigating the California Trail Across Nevada • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 54 Tips for Trailing Across Nevada • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 56 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT A: WEST WENDOVER AND JACKPOT, NEVADA, TO CALIFORNIA (California Trail) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 58 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT B: BLACK ROCK DESERT, RYE PATCH RESERVOIR TO GERLACH, NEVADA (Applegate and Nobles Trails) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 77 AUTO TOUR SEGMENT C: WEST WENDOVER, NEVADA TO CALIFORNIA BORDER (Pony Express Trail and Carson and Walker River-Sonora Routes of the California Trail) FOR MORE INFORMATION: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 86 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 102 Introduction M any of the pioneer trails and other historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as national historic trails. While most of those old wagon roads and routes are not open to motorized traffic, visitors can drive along modern highways that either retrace the original route or closely parallel it. Those modern roads are designated as Auto Tour Routes. They are marked with “National Historic Trails” highway signs to help today’s travelers follow the routes used by the pioneers who helped to open the American West. This interpretive publication guides visitors along the Auto Tour Routes for the California and Pony Express national historic trails as they cross the state of Nevada from east to west. Site-by-site driving directions are included, and an overview map is located inside the back cover. To make the tour more meaningful, this guide also provides a historical overview of the two trails, shares the thoughts and experiences of emigrants who trekked to California, and discusses how the westward expansion impacted native peoples of what is now Nevada. Individual Auto Tour Route interpretive guides such as this one are in preparation for each state that the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express trails pass through. In addition, individual National Park Service brochures for the four national historic trails are available at many trail-related venues and can be requested from the National Trails Intermountain Region Salt Lake City Branch Office at ntsl_interpretation@nps.gov. Each brochure includes a color map of the entire trail and provides an overview of information about each of the trails. Additional information can also can be found on individual trail websites. For links see page 102. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide Nevada ‘MOST CORDIALLY I HATE YOU’: THE HUMBOLDT RIVER T he four great rivers that led covered wagon pioneers into the far West each had a personality all its own. There was the gritty prairie Platte, cantankerous but dependable; the brooding, basalt-shrouded Snake, menacing as a stranger with a hostile stare; and the broad-shouldered Columbia, the Big River of the West, confident and athletic, striding purposefully toward the Pacific Ocean. But the Humboldt. The Humboldt was sullen and spiteful, a mocking mean joker that lured emigrants deep into the desert, swindle

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