Pony Express

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

The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail using relays of horse-mounted riders that operated from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861, between Missouri and California in the United States of America. The Pony Express route was designated the Pony Express National Historic Trail August 3, 1992, by an act of Congress. Its route goes through eight states and includes substantial sections of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

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).

Official Utah Highway Map. Published by the Utah Department of Transportation.Utah State - Highway Map

Official Utah Highway Map. Published by the Utah Department of Transportation.

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 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

Map of Pony Express National Historic Trail (NHT) in New Mexico and Texas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Pony Express - Map

Map of Pony Express National Historic Trail (NHT) in New Mexico and Texas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

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/poex/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail using relays of horse-mounted riders that operated from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861, between Missouri and California in the United States of America. The Pony Express route was designated the Pony Express National Historic Trail August 3, 1992, by an act of Congress. Its route goes through eight states and includes substantial sections of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph. You can visit many sites of the Pony Express National Historic Trail over the 1,800-mile historic route that crosses 8 states. Visitor Centers vary from state to state The Pony Express National Historic Trail passes through seven states. A variety of visitor facilities are available along the trail. See our Things to Do page for recommendations. Simpson Spring NPEA rider, Utah A rider in a red vest on a horse in a grassy patch surrounded by sagebrush with clouds in the sky. A National Pony Express Association rider poses at Simpson Springs in Utah. Devil's Gate, Wyoming A tall rock buttress with a cleft in the center sits behind a sagebrush covered valley. Devil's Gate was an important landmark on the trail in Wyoming. Schelbourne Station, Nevada A footbridge leads to a dark steel silhouette of a Pony Express rider. A Pony Express rider silhouette can be found at the Schelbourne Station site in Nevada. Fort Laramie NHS monument, Wyoming A tall obelisk monument with bronze plaques sits on a paved pathway in front of a building. A monument and plaque about the Pony Express can be found at Fort Laramie in Wyoming. Stables at St. Joseph A large brick historic stable. Visit the historic stables in St. Joseph, Missouri. 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. 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. 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. 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. A Socially Distanced Excursion to Original Pony Express Stations in Nevada Two original Pony Express stations still stand, windblown and lonesome, along US 50 between Fallon and Austin, Nevada. In the winter, especially, a visitor can explore those places in solitude and experience a bit of what the Pony riders and station-keepers endured out there some 160 years ago: biting cold and cutting wind. A ruins of a stone wall with distant desert mountains. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides: Pony Express 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, UT, and NV. The cover of a travel guide that has an illustration of a large, wide canyon with a wagon train 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. The First Ride on the Pony Express With only two months to make the Pony Express a reality, the team of William H. Russell, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell had their hands full in January 1860. Over 100 stations, 400-500 horses and enough riders were needed - at an estimated cost of $70,000. But on April 3, 1860, the first official delivery began at the eastern terminus of the Pony Express in St. Joseph, Missouri. A man dressed in a historic pony express rider uniform, on horseback. The Pyramid Lake War Of the many potential problems facing the Pony Express - weather, supply difficulties, rider fatigue, etc. - the biggest one was unforeseen. The Pyramid Lake War crippled the operation of the Pony Express starting in May 1860, and continued to do so for many months following. A case of white mineral-seekers encroaching on traditional Indian lands led to the war. A map showing topography of western Nevada and the California border. 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. 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. 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. Biking the Pony Express Trail Riding the Pony Express National Historic Trail on an off-road bicycle, such as a gravel or mountain bike, is as close as you can come to seeing and experiencing the original trail as it was back in 1860. Follow along with Scott Alumbaugh as he describes his experiences and tips for planning this epic adventure. A bicycle sits in front of a historic brick barn. 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. 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 Wildfire Destruction along the Pony Express NHT Trail partner Jim Swigart, of the National Pony Express Association (NPEA), hiked out recently to check damage to the Pony Express National Historic Trail (NHT) resulting from last summer’s ferocious Caldor Fire in California. The wildfire burned 221,835 acres, along with some 20 miles of the Pony Express NHT. A man in a burgundy jacket stands in front of large tree that lies across a recreational trail. 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 Kansas Find things to do in Kansas. Single story square building in the distance partially obstructed by a field of golden grass. 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. Pony Express Rider's Graze With Death One Rider's Graze with death on the Pony Express 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. Pony Express Trail Timeline Spreading the news! For millions, email and the Internet have replaced letters and newspapers. But, how did we communicate 50, 100, or 600 years ago? Learn more about the highlights of some key people, inventions, and technologies that changed how we spread the news, including the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Pony Express Trail Junior Ranger Interested in becoming a Pony Express Trail junior ranger? Use this information to complete your worksheet and earn your badge! Johnson William Richardson, the Pony Express Historians and enthusiasts of the Pony Express have argued about the identity of the first rider ever since his departure from St. Joseph. A variety of sources tell the story of the first ride in rich detail, but without documentation to support their claims. Many historians, however, agree that Johnson William Richardson, also known as “Billy Richardson,” was the rider that rode to the Patee House, picked up the waiting mochila, and began the first Pony Express run. Historic image of four men sitting for a portrait in 1860s western American clothing. Henry Avis, the Pony Express Henry Avis got his start with “the horses” at an early age. His horsemanship, youthful vigor, and endurance (as well as his small stature) made Avis an ideal rider for the newly-minted Pony Express when it started running weekly mails service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, in April 1860. A Pony Express Home Station located in western Nebraska aslo served as an Overland Stage Station. Jules Beni, the Pony Express Jules Beni was hired to be the stationmaster at Upper Crossing, and it was already known as Julesburg—a nod to Beni’s influence. The small trading post had grown to include a stagecoach station, a stable, a store, and a blacksmith’s shop. Beni quickly developed a reputation for corruption. An illustration of a man on horseback. Melville “Mel” Baughn, the Pony Express In some ways, the historical record shows Melville Baughn to be the prototypical Pony Express rider: fearless, energetic, and resolute. In other ways, however, his story challenges this narrative. 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. Series: People of the Pony Express Learn more about significant figures of the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Four men dressed in horse riding gear. 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. 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. The Pony Express Re-Ride Each June, members of the National Pony Express Association recreate the Pony Express in a Commemorative Re-Ride over a 10 days period. Letters are carried in a mochila over the original trail. The 1,966 mile, eight state event is conducted 24 hours a day until the mail is delivered to its destination. This national event is an opportunity for all young and old to ride the Pony Trail and to receive mail via the Pony Express! Learn more about the event and how you can join in! Two horseback riders with flags, in a street lined with historic buildings. 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! Weekly Trinity Journal Interview with a Pony Express Rider Read an interview from 1861 with a Pony Express Rider! "We had a few moments’ conversation, the other day, with one of those daring, hardy fellows who are employed as riders on the Pony Express route, from Goose Creek mountains into the sink of the Carson – a distance of one hundred and four miles – about the longest route on the road. He describes his life there in the following manner, which may be taken as a fair sample of the rest..." An image of a historic newspaper from 1861. 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. Kansas Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Kansas station listings, from east to west. White Kansas Pony Express Stations Text on a blue background. Utah Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Utah station listings, from east to west. Missouri Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Missouri station listings, from east to west. Colorado Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Colorado station listings, from east to west. California Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the California station listings, from east to west. Wyoming Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Wyoming station listings, from east to west. Blue background, white text, Wyoming Pony Express Stations Nebraska Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Nebraska station listings, from east to west. Blue backgroun, white text, Nebraska Pony Express Stations Pony Express Stations The Pony Express traversed over 2,000 miles and had 197 stations during its existence. Some of these stations are still places that can be visited to take a step back in time, while others are either lost to time, or not accessible by the public. You can learn more about the importance of the stations and their tenders, as well as the history of the stations themselves. Read on to also find information about how to plan a visit to the stations that are open to the public. Nevada Pony Express Stations The Pony Express route went through a number of changes over time, to adjust to ground conditions, seasonal weather or other circumstances. Maximum efficiency was a priority. Not all the stations listed were used all of the time. Stations were added or deleted when necessary. Explore the Nevada station listings, from east to west.
E NG n io at St ’s io at gs rin Marshall Ferry n io at St Marysville Pony Express Barn ve r Hollenberg Station MARYSVILLE er R iv GRAND JUNCTION iv e t te P la Mount Elbert 14433ft 4399 LEADVILLE Guittard’s Station Swales Ri ve r Blue Mesa Reservoir o MOUNTAI N S NG RE DE tio H ta COLORADO SPRINGS Walnut Creek CR TO 25 LA JUNTA A r k a n s as R iv e r GARDEN CITY DODGE CITY EMPORIA 135 GREAT BEND C r eek PUEBLO IS so sa 35 K A N S A S Ra t tl e sn a Ark an sa s Ri ver ke WICHITA KANSAS CITY as SALINA 70 LEAVENWORTH it rS JUNCTION CITY P aw ne e R iv e r TS JUAN SA M er A Ri v SAN as GUNNISON o Pikes Peak 144110ft 4302m ns R iver 70 C O L O R A D O S G u nn i s o n M Tutle Creek Lake MISSOURI ATCHISON 70 h R GOODLAND ut do r iv e R S ra GLENWOOD SPRINGS lo Ri n ee Gr T E A U ST. JOSEPH n Junction of the St. Joe and Independence Roads St. Joseph Riverfront Ferry Landing Pony Express Stable Patee House 29 ou Ri er n L i t t l e B l ue R i v e r Riv se n io Bl le The Narrows r DENVER i k n io at St St at rm ue Fa y rt tt be Li R e p ub l i c a n 35 ur te BOULDER Rock Creek Station Li er sso K St en at ne io ku n n io at St nd la Is ow ill n ’s ilm G ve Sand Hill Station Fort Kearny Mi as 70 Plum Creek Station NEBRASKA CITY nc R iv e r Thirty-two Mile Station La o KEARNEY LINCOLN v ai Ri v R iver Ri Ch h P l at te Wood e g S ou t Bl u 80 Lo GREELEY Bi g GRAND ISLAND an nd Longs Peak 14255ft 4346 O STERLING io St at JULESBURG e Ri ve r W d on m D ia Pl at t O’Fallon’s Bluff Ci ty NORTH PLATTE rla ad r ve Sp at St k Cr ee S P ou St lat th at te io n 80 OMAHA L ou p R i v e r St io n Sp ud M C r eek Lake McConaughy le L o d g ep o l e P l a tt e R i v e r n rin gs St at io n lin Courthouse Rock/Jail Rock 25 N E B R A S K A Po r Be a U AT PL H TC ck Gr ee n R ive r G RAN GE r ve Ri Ri ve r RAN EA St n ño SA A W g St Va at lle io y n rin Sp n at k Cr ee p Ca e A nt el op ee Sp St k Cr ee ll he Sc n io at St an Eg D at rin g io n St at St io at n io n M Y B U R io O er R iv e es Re BE T r ve Ri Hu ER RN er Ri v r L A O ad Ri v e r er S P lo r Pl a tt e Chimney Rock C r ee k FORT COLLINS ka ke Co r lo 80 o rn Riv 76 MOAB Co El k h Ar al LARAMIE STEAMBOAT SPRINGS N n Lake Powell Fi RA N e TO ak TE WYOMIN ST TS M GE C ER AR C S A R iver r R iver SIOUX CITY er te Ri v e r I N hi I O W A ur i A to H o r se N or t h CHEYENNE I O SIOUX FALLS L en tte N io b r a r a P t he Pla Medicine Bow Peak 12013ft 3662m NGE RA F ea A rt h T ON FR am No SCOTTSBLUFF Scotts Bluff/ Mitchell Pass A L D Fort Laramie ROCK SPRINGS E cr RAWLINS G Sa BASIN ie N io MTS R iv er L ar a m A at WHITE C O R A 90 Ri v e r R i ver Guernsey Ruts R St D se in Jo a q u ou R iver Mount Ritter 13140ft 4010m DIVIDE T H M er c e d TONOPAH TORREY 10272ft 3132m Laramie Peak R Seminoe Reservoir 70 Mono Lake A e Y EM OS Y VA L L E ITE G R E AT Pacific Springs R iver GREEN RIVER SALINA V tt S an ye R iver Devil’s Gate K E Fa SONORA S t an i s l a u s South Pass LA Bessemer Bend/ Red Buttes Crossing Pathfinder Reservoir R R iver FILLMORE Prospect Hill Three Crossings Rocky Ridge Flaming Gorge Reservoir W er Fort Caspar/ Guinard’s Bridge R iver N St Walker Lake NEPHI Independence Rock Split Rock er N or t h P l a t t e R i v e r U m Sevier Lake twat S we e O N Burnt Ranch Kings Peak 13528ft 4124m D u c h e s ne Mount Nebo 11877ft 3621m Wh i t e M is s o CASPER n I n S PROVO Utah Lake 15 io A n B io A T at at E S e vi Rocky Ridge Station VERNAL St St N n io at r n St ve oc Ta ur on n io at or om an n m io ts at or St Sp lle n rvi tio ace Pl R ay gs St G Faust’s Station w rin y ELY Wheeler Peak 13063ft 3983m io ug Sp rr Sand Springs Station E LANDER Indian Ford U T A H D sh Boyd Station at Willow Springs Station Fi CALLAO ut ko ion oo tat tL S gs n rin io Sp at d St on gs in on pr ati r S St IBAPAH G Little Sandy Crossing 80 E in m hu Simpson Springs Camp Floyd/ Stagecoach Inn N Willow Springs M O U N TA I N S U I N TA St DESERT Cold Springs Station Woodford’s Station 80 GRANGER Fort Bridger er S A LT L A K E SALT LAKE CITY RAPID CITY Harney Peak 7242ft 2208m Avenue of Rocks RA M G R E AT WENDOVER K W Y O M I N G r P eb W N A RANG U T Po ia lp AUSTIN Fort Churchill W k ee n Cr io ’s at rt St Carson Sink CARSON Riv e r rson CITY Ca Mormon Station r R ive EVANSTON Bear River Crossing Little Mountain Summit D be LE Ro YM I l el W on ’s ati bb St F O RT RT ru RENO ta D ls M Fo n r R i ve r Unio
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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