The Oregon-California Trails
Missouri • Kansas • Iowa • Nebraska • Wyoming • Utah • Nevada • California • Idaho • Oregon
Printable Oregon-California Trails Map
The Cherokee Trail
Oklahoma • Kansas • Colorado • Wyoming
The Southern Emigrant Trails to California
Kansas • Arkansas • Oklahoma • Texas • New Mexico • Colorado • Utah • Arizona • California • Mexico
1) Independence – Today’s pioneers can start their trail adventure at the National Frontier Trails Museum, the only museum in the nation devoted to the history of the Oregon, California, Santa Fe, Lewis and Clark and Mormon Pioneer Trails. Colorful exhibits, an award-winning film, artifacts, diaries, interactive exhibits and even a covered wagon ride give visitors a greater appreciation of the pioneer spirit. The Harry S. Truman sites include the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, the Truman Home, and a walking trail with inspiring plaques along the way. Visitors can also enjoy covered wagon tours of Independence historic sites, and tours of the 1827 Log Courthouse, the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum, the Vaile Victorian Mansion, and the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, home of famed Civil War Artist George Caleb Bingham. Fun-seekers and bargain hunters will enjoy the Independence Center with over 150 shops and restaurants and a play area with a full-sized carousel.
2) Kansas City, MO – Kansas City’s Westport District was a primary trailhead for the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails.
3) St. Joseph – The legendary Pony Express originated from St. Joseph. The Pony Express National Museum chronicles this exciting history with exhibits, film and artifacts.
- Independence Department of Tourism
4) Kansas City, KS – Lewis and Clark Park at Kaw Point offers visitors a beautiful view of downtown Kansas City at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. The Grinter Place State Historic Site, built in 1857 on a scenic location overlooking the Kansas River, includes seven restored rooms for a firsthand look at frontier living. Kick it with the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Champs Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. For thrills and spills nothing beats Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City. For NASCAR fans there is the Kansas Speedway and the Nascar Racing Experience. Village West is a shopper’s paradise that includes Legends Outlets of Kansas City with more than 100-brand name stores. The Great Wolf Lodge, the Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabela’s outfitters and the Hollywood Casino are nearby.
5) Leavenworth is the “First City of Kansas” incorporated in 1854. Leavenworth became nationally known as the “jumping off point” for the opening of the West. View vintage homes dating from the mid-1800’s and tour the 1882 Carroll Mansion. Experience the self-guided historic Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth interactive waysides tours, stroll along the Missouri River at the Leavenworth Landing. At the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum visitors can ride on the restored 1913 carousel. Leavenworth’s 28-block historic downtown shopping district features a wide variety of unique stores, boutiques and restaurants.
6) Olathe – Visitors can ride in a stagecoach and see a working 19th Century farm at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm State Historic Site.
7) Hillsdale State Park – Located southwest of Olathe and I-35, this 12,000-acre park and wildlife area includes 4,500-acres of lake and 51 miles of shoreline for fishing, wildlife and bird watching.
8) Pomona State Park – Located 30-miles south of Topeka on the south shore of the Pomona Reservoir is where the prairie meets the eastern woodland. This 490-acre park is known for shady campsites and a great family atmosphere for great wildlife viewing, fishing and waterskiing.
9) Eisenhower State Park – Located off I-335 at the Osage City exit. This 1,785-acre park features 1,000 acres of tallgrass prairie and the 6,930-acre Melvern Lake and includes utility and non-utility campsites, swim beach, sailboat beach and equestrian campsites.
10) Clinton State Park – Four miles west of Lawrence, the park offers one of the state’s largest marinas. The park features include campgrounds, 6 cabins, boat launch and swim beach areas and a 25-mile hike/bike trail.
11) Perry State Park – Located between Lawrence and Topeka. The heavily forested park offers shaded camping at Perry Lake, 25-miles of horse trails, 20-miles of hike/bike trails and excellent channel catfishing.
12) Topeka – At the Kansas State Capitol and the Kansas History Museum visitors can see a Cheyenne tipi, a Wichita grass lodge, an 1880 steam locomotive and exhibits that portray the state’s colorful frontier history. The Great Overland Station Museum and Education Center features exhibits on the early Kansas railroads, the Santa Fe Trail and even a Model G Gauge train display.
13) Kaw River State Park – On the south bank of the Kansas River in west Topeka, this park features hiking and mountain bike trails and access to the Kansas (Kaw) River with boat ramps.
14) Council Grove – One of the eight wonders of Kansas State history because the town was used as a gathering point for the Santa Fe Historic Trail with 13 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. There is also the restored 1851-54 school for Kaw (Kansa) Indian boys.
15) Tuttle Creek State Park – Located northeast of Manhattan, this 1,200-acre park offers a variety of hike/bike routes to view the scenic Flint Hills. The four units of this park include utility and primitive campsites, cabins, nature trails, picnic areas, a disc golf course and volleyball courts.
16) Manhattan – The Goodnow House State Historic Site features two floors with historic artifacts telling the story of a “free-stater” who founded Manhattan and Kansas State University. The First Territorial Capitol State Historic Site near present-day Fort Riley features the restored first capitol building originally built in 1855.
17) Milford State Park – South of Manhattan and northwest of Junction City, this park on the southwest shore of the 15,709 surface-acre Milford Reservoir offers great fishing and wildlife viewing.
18) Marysville – Historic Trails Park features a larger-than-life statue of a Pony Express horse and rider, the Pony Express Home Station Number 1 Barn and Museum, and the Lifetiles interactive murals depicting Kansas history.
19) Alcove Springs Park – Located six-miles south of Marysville. This scenic park was once the campsite for Oregon and California Trail pioneers who carved the name “Alcove Spring” on the surrounding rocks and trees. Today the park features the natural springs, easy-to-follow trails, pioneer names carved into the rocks, trail markers and interpretive panels.
20) Hanover – The Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site is a restored Pony Express station. Today the site includes a visitor’s center and a historic frontier home. Hollenberg Farm State Park is adjacent to the historic site.
- Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
- Visit Kansas City Kansas
- Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau
21) Montrose – The Mormon Trail across Iowa begins at Montrose, across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, IL. Riverfront Park features an interpretive panel on the Mormon Trail and a view of the new hilltop Mormon Temple across the Mississippi River. The Linger Longer Rest Area features a pavilion with Mormon Trail history panels.
22) Villages of Van Buren – Twelve picturesque historical villages in Southeastern Iowa. Nearby scenic Iowa State Parks include Shimek State Forest – Farmington Unit and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, both offering scenic lakes for fishing, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing.
23) Bloomfield – The Davis County His-torical Museum Complex includes an 1848 Mormon cabin, a one-room schoolhouse, a church and more. Nearby is Lake Wapello State Park, home to several CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) structures built in the 1930s, including an elegant beach house. The park features trails, a swimming beach, kayak rentals, fishing and more.
24) Honey Creek State Park and Honey Creek Resort – Near Moravia, these parks are a gateway to Iowa’s second largest reservoir, Rathbun Lake. Honey Creek Resort features a picturesque lodge and conference center with guestrooms, restaurant, waterpark, cottages, 18-hole golf course and activities for the entire family.
25) Corydon – Nine Eagles State Park is one of Southern Iowa’s most scenic parks for picnics, hiking and camping.
26) The Mormon Pioneer Historic Trailside Park – Is west of Garden Grove, memorializing the site of a pioneer settlement and the first temporary way station on the Mormon Trail.
27) Mt. Pisgah Park – West of Thayer on US 34, the park marks the site of a semi- permanent settlement or way station along the Mormon Trail.
28) Lake of Three Fires State Park – This scenic park offers hiking, equestrian trails, beach, boat launching ramp, camping, cabins, fishing and kayaking.
29) Viking Lake State Park – East of Red Oak on US 34. This park’s campground offers a beach area for swimming, fishing, bait and boat rental, and features full hookup or non-electric camping, hike and bike trails, picnic shelter, playground, rest rooms and showers.
30) Waubonsie State Park – Six miles south of Sidney on IA 2. Nestled in the unique Loess Hills, the park amenities include hiking, camping, picnic area, playground, restrooms, showers and wildlife viewing.
31) Council Bluffs – The Western Historic Trails Center features great exhibits on the Lewis and Clark, Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer Trails. The Kanesville Tabernacle is a restored site where in 1847 Brigham Young became president of The Church of Latter Day Saints.
32) Lake Manawa State Park is 2.5 miles south of Council Bluffs Exit 3 off I-80. The park features a 772-acre lake with a beach offering swimming, boating, a boat launch ramp, boat rental, bait and canoe rental. Additional amenities include hiking, biking, picnicking, shelters, restrooms and playground.
33) Preparation Canyon State Park – Five miles north of Pisgah on IA 183. This beautiful park is nestled in Iowa’s beautiful Loess Hills and is surrounded by ridges to the north, south, and west. The 344-acre park features secluded hiking trails, picnic tables, a shelter, and hike-in camping areas and is named after the town of “Preparation” which was established by 60 Mormon families and ceased to exist after 1900.
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources
34) Omaha – The downtown area features the Pioneer Courage Park and Spirit of Nebraska Wilderness Park featuring inspiring sculptures of a Westward pioneer wagon train and wildlife of the Great Plains. The National Park Service’s Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center is adjacent to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge spanning the Missouri River. Joslyn Art Museum features historic Western art and artifacts. The Mormon Trail Center museum at the site of the historic Winter Quarters in North Omaha.
35) Fort Calhoun – This historic community overlooking the Missouri River includes Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, a re-created 1820’s frontier fort overlooking the site of Lewis and Clark’s First Council with Native Americans. Today the fort features historic reenactments and exhibits. The Washington County Museum also features exhibits on the early frontier history.
36) Eugene T. Mahoney State Park – West of Omaha off I-80, the park overlooks the historic Platte River and features a modern lodge, dining, conference facilities, cabins, camping, hiking, a family aquatic center, and many other family activities. Visitors can also enjoy the Platte River valley’s scenery, recreation, camping and fishing at nearby Schramm State Recreation Area, Platte River State Park and the Louisville State Recreation Area.
37) Lincoln – Nebraska’s Capital City’s downtown area includes the Nebraska History Museum, with exhibits and artifacts on Native American and pioneer history. Visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation, camping, boating and fishing west of Lincoln at Pawnee, Branched Oak and Conestoga Lake State Recreation Areas.
38) Nebraska City – South of Omaha on US 75 or off I-29. Nebraska City was once a major freighting center for the Overland Trails. The downtown area features many historic homes and museums, including the Old Freighters Museum, an important jumping off place for Russell, Majors and Waddell’s overland freighting operations. The company also started the Pony Express. Today’s visitors who tour the museum will discover the role the Overland Trails and Nebraska City had in the settlement of the Western Frontier. The Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center offers an expansive view of the Missouri River. Nebraska City is also the home for the J. Sterling Morton Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard and the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum. The Riverview Marina State Recreation Area offers camping and boating access to the Missouri River.
39) Beatrice – The Homestead National Monument of America, a unit of the National Park Service, commemorates passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed any qualified person to claim up to 160 acres of federally owned land in exchange for five years of residence and the cultivation and improvement of the property. The park includes a restored cabin from 1867, a museum, informative videos, historic structures, 3 miles of trails, and more. The Gage County Historical Museum is at the site of the 1906 Burlington Train Station and offers colorful exhibits on the railroads, pioneers and former residents who became famous movie stars. The Flowing Stone Art Gallery features the work of local artists.
40) Rock Creek Station State Historical Park – Seven miles southeast of Fairbury. Established as a stage and Pony Express station in 1857 that became famous when James “Wild Bill” Hickok began his career there in 1861. Today visitors can still see the deep ruts cut by many Oregon and California bound wagons. The park also includes a visitor center, the re- constructed Pony Express barn and cabins, and 350-acres of scenic prairie. The adjacent Rock Creek Station State Recreation Area features a 40-acre campground with camping pads, horse corrals, shower and restrooms building, and 6-miles of trails that include the nearby scenic creeks and historic sites plus a museum with displays, gift shop, and living history presentations.
41) Kearney – The international award- winning Archway spanning over I-80 is a one-of-a-kind heritage attraction that takes visitors on an immersive journey though realistic environments with audiovisual highlights to portray the experiences of the Oregon, California and Mormon Trail pioneers, the Pony Express, Overland Stage, America’s first transcontinental railroad and Lincoln Highway across the Great Platte River Road, the pioneers’ “super highway.” Visitors also won’t want to miss the nearby Nebraska Firefighters Museum and Education Center, the Museum of Nebraska Art, Cabela’s Outdoor Outfitters and the Classic Car Collection.
42) Fort Kearny State Historical Park – Visitors can step back to the days when the fort was a safe haven for Overland Trail pioneers and Pony Express riders. The historic fort has been reconstructed and hosts historic reenactments on the grounds that in-clude a blacksmith and carpenter shop, parade grounds, powder magazine and a visitor center. Visitors can also picnic, camp and hike at adjacent Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, which is also one of the best places to see the annual crane migrations.
43) Lexington – The Dawson County Museum provides the chance to explore the Lincoln Highway Classic Cars display, Willow Island Depot, #485 1903 Baldwin Locomotive, Art Gallery and 15,000-year-old Columbian mammoth. The Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles is a hands-on museum to see, touch and even sit in vehicles that have been restored and are operational from World War II to present day. Displays also include World War I items as well. Mac’s Creek Vineyards and Winery is located on the north edge of Lexington and provides guests the opportunity to sample award winning wines in a prairie setting while relaxing along the banks of Spring Creek. Johnson Lake State Recreation Area, 10 miles south of Lexington on US Hwy 283 is a beautiful 2,016-acre lake that’s perfect for camping, fishing and water sports.
44) Cozad – South of Cozad is the Gallagher Canyon State Recreation Area that offers some of the state’s best fishing.
45) Gothenburg – Visitors can visit an original Pony Express Station.
46) North Platte – The Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park includes the home and barn of the world famous Wild West showman.
47) Ogallala – Front Street and Cowboy Museum is a recreated 1880’s Main Street. Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala State Recreation Areas encompass the state’s largest and most popular reservoir offering modern and primitive camping, boating and fishing.
48) Ash Hollow State Historical Park, west of Lake McConaughy on US 26, marks a major stopover on the Oregon Trail. Today visitors can still see covered wagon ruts etched in the rugged and scenic bluffs. Ash Hollow also features a visitor center complete with educational exhibits and artifacts, and a gift shop. Visitors can hike several miles along the original Oregon-California Trail and experience the beauty, vastness, and isolation of the landscape.
49) Chimney Rock National Monument and Visitors Center, the most recognized landmark along the Pioneer Trails, can be seen today near Bayard. The visitor center features Captain John C. Fremont’s original exploration maps for the Oregon Trail.
50) Scotts Bluff National Monument near Gering served as a natural landmark for Native Americans and Oregon, Mormon and California Trail pioneers. The Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering features exhibits on the Native Americans, pioneers and wildlife of the High Plains. Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area 10 miles south of Gering on NE 71 offers visitors a spectacular view of North Platte River Valley.
51) Lake Minatare State Recreation Area – 10 miles northeast of Scottsbluff off of NE 71 is the largest lake in the Nebraska Panhandle attracting anglers, campers, water skiers and swimmers.
- Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
FUNDED IN PART BY:
- Otoe County Visitors Committee
- Gage County Tourism
- Kearney Visitors Bureau
- Lexington Chamber of Commerce
52) Fort Laramie National Historic Site – On the Oregon Trail Scenic Byway in Goshen County where they invite visitors to experience the freedom to stop and get a sense of this historic place. Torrington is the home of the Homesteaders Museum, nestled one mile north of the Historic Oregon Trail in the old Union Pacific Train Depot. The community also features a European bakery, local boutiques, Eastern Wyoming College, a winery and much more. One thing that hasn’t changed with history is how big the sky is and how it defines the wide-open spaces. The view is endless with clear skies, wild game, geese in flight, cattle on the prairie, mountains in the distance, crops in the field, and cowboys on horseback.
53) Cheyenne – Wyoming’s State Capital, connects with the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails at Wheatland and Torrington. It is also the home of “The Daddy of ‘Em All” Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, the largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration in the world held the last full week in July. Cheyenne’s leading visitor attractions include the Historic Cheyenne Depot, the Big Boy Steam Engine, the Wyoming State Capitol and State Museum, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, the Botanic Gardens and Conservatory, the Historic Governor’s Mansion and the Terry Bison Ranch. The Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley Tours provide guided historic tours of the city. Visitors can also take their own walking tour from the Historic Cheyenne Depot.
54) Curt Gowdy State Park – 24 miles west of Cheyenne on Happy Jack Road (WY 210), this park offers more than 35-miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, three reservoirs for fishing and boating, twelve campgrounds and a free public horse corral. The Vedauwoo section of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest on Happy Jack Road (WY 210) features unique rock formations for climbing and picnics. The Pole Mountain section, also on Happy Jack Road also offers hiking, biking, picnicking, camping and rock climbing.
55) Guernsey – Trail travelers can see some of the best preserved wagon wheel ruts made by the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails pioneers at the Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site south of town. Larson Park is next to this historic site. Two miles south of Guernsey on US 26 is the Register Cliff State Historic Site, where many pioneers carved their names into the soft sandstone cliffs.
56) Wheatland – South on I-25, where visitors can see Western artwork inspired by the historic trails at the Wyoming Trails Gallery and discover area history at the Laramie Peak Museum. Lewis Park offers free camping, restrooms and a public swimming pool. The Grey Rocks Reservoir makes for a scenic day trip. Just down the road is Chugwater, once the site of a historic stagecoach station. Today visitors can find fun and refreshment at the Chugwater Soda Foundation, the oldest working soda fountain in Wyoming.
57) Glendo – North on I-25. The community serves as the gateway to Glendo Lake and Glendo State Park. The park is one of Wyoming’s most historic areas where Tipi rings and artifacts from Native American tribes can still be seen.
58) Casper – The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center features interactive exhibits and artifacts from the pioneer era.
59) Alcova – Visitors at the Mormon Handcart Visitors Center at Martin’s Cove can see exhibits documenting the perils of two Mormon pioneer handcart companies on the Mormon Trail.
60) Independence Rock State Historic Site – South of Casper on WY 220 and 487. Visitors can see more than 5,000 names of pioneers etched in stone.
61) The Sixth Crossing Visitor Center, between Lander and Jeffrey City, includes exhibits on Mormon pioneer experiences where visitors can pull a handcart and learn how the survivors of the Willie Handcart Company were rescued.
62) Lander – Trailhead to Wind River Country and the historic South Pass. The Museum of the American West and the Fremont County Pioneer Museum share a unique indoor and outdoor complex with a focus on the natural and cultural history of the Wind River, Sweetwater valley and South Pass Region. Lander is also the gateway to outdoor adventure including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and camping in the pristine Wind River Mountain Range. Eighty-five percent of Wind River Country is public land that includes beautiful Shoshone National Forest. Nearby Sinks Canyon State Park has unique geological formations with a famous disappearing river, scenic natural habitats and the chance to fish rainbow trout and enjoy outdoor recreation. The Wind River Indian Reservation is the home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes where visitors can experience a powwow, visit cultural centers and learn more about Native American culture. The gravesite of Sacajawea, famed guide for Lewis and Clark, is located at Fort Washakie.
63) South Pass City State Historic Site – South on WY 28, is a restored gold mining boom town where today visitors can tour 40 historical buildings, sip a cold sarsaparilla and even try their luck panning for gold. Nearby Atlantic City, a living ghost town, has historic restaurants and saloons. Visitors continuing south on WY 28 can view the famed South Pass, the historic route over the Rocky Mountains and Continental Divide.
64) Kemmerer – North on US 30, once the major pioneer route from the Lander Road to the Sublette Cutoff, today the town serves as the activity hub for Lincoln County. Where James Cash (“JC”) Penney founded his first retail store in Kemmerer. Visitors can visit and shop at the JC Penny “Mother Store” founded in 1902. Trail travelers can marvel at prehistoric fossils at Fossil Butte National Monument, Ulrich’s Fossil Gallery, Fossil Country Frontier Museum, and dig for fossils at the Fossil Safari at Warfield Fossil Quarries. The community also hosts two great summer events with Fossil Fest and the Oyster Ridge Music Festival.
65) Fort Bridger State Historic Site, southeast and off I-80, was the famous stop on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails, the Pony Express, Overland and Cherokee Trails, and on the old Lincoln Highway.
66) Evanston – The historic downtown district offers a fun variety of shopping, dining, special services and entertainment centered on Depot Square. Evanston is also a trailhead to outdoor adventures. Nearby Bear River State Park features a small herd of bison and elk and interpretive displays on Wyoming’s diverse wildlife. The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway south on WY 150 passes early Native American encampment sites and pioneer trails with outstanding views of the Uinta Mountains in northeast Utah.
- Visit Cheyenne
- Platte County WY Lodging Tax Joint Powers Board
- Go Goshen County
- Wind River Visitors Council
- Lincoln County Wyoming
- Evanston Chamber of Commerce
67) This Is The Place Heritage Park is the place where you can step back in time and see the West as it was in the early days of Utah. Located immediately east of Salt Lake City on I-80 at the Foothill Drive Exit. This unique park is fun for everyone, where visitors can pan for gold, ride ponies, ride one of four trains for a tour around the Park, make take-home crafts, interact with frontier shopkeepers, a blacksmith, tinsmith, and saddle maker and hear the Heritage Singers. You can also visit an early Native American village with authentic Navajo Hogans, America’s largest Teepee, and see Native American presentations of dance, storytelling and much more. The Gift Shop at the Visitor Center offers a variety of unique souvenirs. The Park is also home to the National Pony Express Monument and Mormon Battalion Monument and Museum. Open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
68) Salt Lake City – For Mormon pioneers journeying along the Mormon Trail from 1847 – 1869, the Salt Lake Valley in the Great Basin became their destination. One of the first things the Mormons did upon their initial arrival was designate a location for a majestic, sacred Temple to their God. Today, what has become Temple Square is Utah’s top tourist attraction. Visitors can stroll through the world-famous gardens that surround the Temple as well as experience the two visitor centers that tell the area’s rich history. The nearby Tabernacle is home to the world- famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is one of the most acoustically sound buildings in the world. Families can trace their own ancestry at the Family History Library, while the Church History Museum features interactive exhibits that tell the story of the Mormon Church, including the Mormon Trail. All of this is in the heart of Salt Lake City where visitors can find many opportunities for shopping, cultural events and every type of dining imaginable.
69) East Canyon State Park – East of Salt Lake City on SR 66, southeast of Morgan. This scenic park nestled around the East Canyon Reservoir and within the Wasatch Mountains is rich in pioneer history. The Donner Party was the first wagon train to pass through the area before crossing the Sierras to meet their tragic fate. Brigham Young and his Mormon Pioneers used the same route to enter the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 to establish a new home. Today the park is a popular destination for hiking, boating, fishing, and camping. Rentals include ski and fishing boats, pontoons, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, water trampolines and more. Park facilities include modern cabins, yurts with electricity, campground and hammock camping. The park hosts fishing competitions, festivals and interpretive events such as star parties.
70) Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park Museum – West of I-15 off UT 73 in Fairfield. Established by the U.S. Army because of a supposed “Mormon Rebellion,” Camp Floyd was the Nation’s largest military installation prior to the Civil War. It housed one third of the entire U.S. Army. Today visitors can see the only surviving Camp Floyd building, the Commissary Building, built in 1858, that now houses historic exhibits. They can tour through the authentically-restored and furnished adobe Stagecoach Inn, also built in 1858, and stroll around the town of Fairfield’s 1898 one-room school house. On Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends there are re-enactment festivals with lots of hands-on activities and period-dressed re-enactors. During summer there are many themed camps for children.
- Utah Department of Natural Resources
- Temple Square
- This Is The Place Heritage Park
71) West Wendover – The West Wendover Welcome Center is a great place to start your adventure in Nevada. The center provides travel information and a fascinating look at the area’s history with racing on the Salt Flats and the 509th Composite Group Memorial Monument honoring those who served in developing the atomic weapons to end World War II. Nearby are 5 major resorts: Peppermill, Wendover Nugget, Montego Bay, Rainbow and Red Garter Casino /Hotels. Visitors can’t miss “Wendover Will,” the iconic neon-lit cowboy sign welcoming everyone to the community.
72) Wells – This town is the gateway to the historic California Trail wagon ruts at Willow Creek to the north and to the south at Angel Lake and campground.
73) Elko – At Elko, visitors can “Discover the Historic West” at the California Trail Interpretive Center, the historic Sherman Station, the Western Folklife Center, and the Northwestern Nevada Museum. The historic Sherman Station Visitors Center, housed in a log home over 110 years old, is a good place to find out about all there is to see in the Elko area. The Western Folklife Center offers the unique opportunity to hear cowboy poetry, music and experience the area’s colorful western culture. The Northeastern Nevada Museum houses a large collection of Will James and Edward Borein western art, and Elko’s newest attraction, the Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum showcases the rich history, culture and traditions of the Cowboys of the American West. The Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum is located in the original GS Garcia Saddle Shop. Elko is also the gateway to the Humboldt National Forest, the largest national forest in the Continental United States.
74) Winnemucca – The Humboldt Museum is near the site where wagon trains forded the Humboldt River on their way to California. The modern brick museum building is adjacent to the historic church which is today a museum. The museum grounds also include the 1880’s Greinstein Building and the 1899 Richardson-Saunders House. The Winnemucca Visitor Center on Winnemucca Boulevard features a wildlife display and Buckaroo Hall of Fame. Visitors can try their luck at the local casinos, including the Winners Hotel Casino, Pete’s Gambling Hall, Dotty’s Casino, the Winnemucca Inn & Casino, the Model T Resort and Casino and the Sundance Casino. The town is also is a gateway for nearby ghost towns in the area. For those wanting to stretch their legs, Water Canyon, Bloody Shins Trail, or the Winnemucca Mountain Trail all provide a good hike or bike ride. And, don’t miss out on the sand dunes on U.S. 95 just north of town.
75) Reno – History buffs won’t want to miss the Nevada Historical Society Museum with its trail history.
76) Virginia City – South of Reno of NV 341. Trail travelers can step back in time to the days of the Wild West and Nevada’s silver mining legacy.
77) Carson City – Nevada’s Capital City offers fun, history and the gateway to breath- taking Lake Tahoe. The Nevada State Museum features exhibits on early Native American tribes, frontier firearms, mining and the minting of money. The Nevada Railroad Museum has beautifully restored steam engines, rail cars, artifacts and an old time depot. The Kit Carson Trail provides a walking tour of the historic downtown area. The Capitol Complex also provides a scenic walk that features historic statues. Families will enjoy the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada and Fiji Park. Five area casinos offer visitors a variety of gaming opportunities.
- West Wendover Tourism and Convention Bureau
- Elko Convention and Visitors Authority
- Winnemucca Convention and Visitors Authority
- Carson City Visitors Bureau
Plumas, Sierra & Nevada Counties North on CA HWY 70 & 49
78) Beckwourth Pass – Located 15-miles east of the town of Beckwourth on CA 70. Jim Beckwourth was the African American mountain man who opened one of four mountain passes through the Sierra Nevada range for emigrant wagon trains in 1851.
79) Plumas-Eureka State Park – South of CA 70 and five miles west of Blairsden. Visitors can see the one-time miner’s bunkhouse that today serves as a museum. This day-use park features an old-time five-stamp ore mill, a mine office, home and blacksmith shop with historical reenactments in the summer.
80) Sierra County includes Loyalton, on CA 49, featuring the Loyalton Museum where visitors can discover why the town changed its name for the Union cause. Sierraville is rich in timber and history. Sierra City, on CA 49, is a picturesque community established in 1850 as a mining boomtown. Downieville, on CA 49, is considered one of the least changed towns from its 1849 beginnings.
The Yuba River Scenic Byway is designated as a California State Scenic Highway for the 41-mile section from Tahoe National Forest southwest on CA 49 to Camptonville. This byway travels at river level along the North Yuba River providing scenic views of placer mining camps and towns with Native American, emigrant and heritage sites located along the route.
81) Nevada County includes:
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park – Off CA 49 at Tyler-Foote Road. Site of the state’s largest “hydraulic” mine where huge cliffs were carved by powerful streams of water. Park features and activities include picnic and camping sites, hiking, fishing and the visitor center with early mining exhibits.
South Yuba River State Park – Off CA 49 at Pleasant Valley Road, this park features the largest single-span covered bridge in the world. You can hike, swim and pan for gold along the Yuba River.
Nevada County also includes Nevada City, on CA 49, where Gold Rush days are on display at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, the historic Nevada Theater, the Firehouse Museum and the classic Bourn Cottage. Grass Valley, on CA 49, includes the classic Gold Rush-era Holbrooke Hotel and local mining history at the North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum.
Empire Mine State Historic Park – South of Grass Valley and CA 49. The site of the oldest, largest, deepest and richest gold mine in California. Today the day-use park features many of the mine’s buildings, a visitor center museum, guided tours, and beautifully forested backcountry with eight miles of scenic trails.
I-80/Truckee Trail Route
82) Truckee – On I-80. Named for the Paiute Indian chief who helped guide emigrants through the desert and over the Sierras on their westward journey to Gold Country.
Donner Memorial State Park – East on I-80 at Truckee. This is the site of the ill-fated Donner–Reed Emigrant Party who were trapped by winter storms. The park today features scenic picnic sites, hiking, camping, fishing, waterskiing and a visitor center. The Pioneer Monument will be re-dedicated for its centennial celebration on June 9, 2018.
Placer & Sacramento Counties:
83) Auburn – On I-80 and CA 49. In 1849, gold was discovered in the Auburn Ravine and this picturesque town was quickly founded in 1850. Today visitors can enjoy a walking tour of the former Gold Rush boomtown at Old Town.
Auburn State Recreation Area – South of I-80 and Auburn on CA 49. Once teeming with thousands of gold miners, today this outdoor recreational playground covers 40-miles that include the North and Middle Forks of the American River. Park facilities include hiking trails, family, group and boat-in campsites, picnic areas, beach, swimming, fishing and gold panning.
84) Sacramento – Visitors won’t want to miss Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, located in downtown Sacramento at 26th and K streets. The fort is a re-creation of the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley, and the first stop for many early California Trail emigrants. Old Sacramento State Historic Park is off I-5 at the J Street exit in downtown Sacramento. Today this restored early California Gold Rush community features over 50 historic buildings that include a colorful assortment of museums, dining and shopping opportunities. The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento has fascinating exhibits and artifacts documenting the arduous task of building the first transcontinental railroad over the Sierra. Visitors can also tour the nearby California State Capitol Museum, located in the State Capitol at Capitol and 10th streets, to see the restored historic offices of the Secretary of State, Treasurer and Governor of the State of California.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area – East of Sacramento off Hwy 50. Located at the base of the Sierra foothills, the park offers hiking, biking, running, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, water-skiing, boating and fishing.
US HWY 50/Carson Trail Route from Lake Tahoe
85) South Lake Tahoe – Vikingsholm features classic Victorian grandeur on the scenic banks of Emerald Bay State Park. The park also includes the Tallac Historic Site, Baldwin Beach and Pope Beach.
South Lake Tahoe State Parks include:
Washoe Meadows State Park – This scenic meadow at the base of Echo Summit offers hiking and fishing in an alpine setting. Lake Valley State Recreation Area includes a championship 18-hole golf course ringed by the high Sierra Mountains.
D. L. Bliss State Park – Where visitors can look down one-hundred feet into the clear crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe. Park facilities include family, group and hike/bike campsites, restrooms, showers hike and bike trails, and beach area for swimming and scuba diving.
Sugar Pine Point State Park – Visitors can enjoy one of the finest natural areas on Tahoe with Lake Frontage. Park facilities include a museum, hike and bike trails, family programs, picnic areas, campsites, boat rental and beaches for swimming and scuba diving.
Ward Creek State Park – This daytime park features hiking trails and is a great place to view wildlife and geocaching.
Burton Creek State Park – This daytime park on the outskirts of Tahoe City offers hiking trails, beaches and wildlife viewing.
Kings Beach State Recreation Area – This day-use park features a large sandy beach and multiple picnic tables under the shade of Jeffery Pines. Park facilities include picnic areas, boat rentals, and fishing, beach area for swimming and windsurfing, and restrooms.
86) El Dorado County includes Pollock Pines, on US 50 at the western entry of Eldorado National Forest and the 64,000-acre Desolation Wilderness area west of Lake Tahoe, and Placer-ville, on US 50, featuring Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park, the El Dorado County Museum and the Placerville Historical Museum.
Coloma – is North of Placerville on CA 49. The Mother Lode River Center is an outdoor water park that combines recreation and Gold Rush fun. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is also located in Coloma on CA 49. Visitors can see where gold was first discovered in California and pan for gold on the American River. The park includes a replica of Sutter’s Mill, the Gold Discovery Museum and Visitor Center, picnic sites and hiking trails up to the Marshall Monument that overlooks the river.
87) Amador County – Further south on CA 49 and includes Plymouth, where visitors can discover Gold Rush history at the Shenandoah Valley Museum, Amador City with the historic Imperial Hotel and the Amador Whitney Museum, Sutter Creek that is 100% walkable, and Jackson, at the crossroads of Scenic Highways 49 and 88, that features a 150-year old Main Street with the renovated National Hotel and the Amador County Museum.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park – US 88 east of Jackson to Pine Grove, on the Pine Grove-Volcano Road. This day-use park includes great outcroppings of marbleized limestone with some 1,185 mortar holes – – the largest collection of bedrock mortars left by Native Americans. Park facilities include the Chaw’se Regional Indian Museum, Native American events and hiking trails.
88) Calaveras County – Made famous by Mark Twain, includes Mokelumne Hill on CA 49 that features Gold Rush charm at the Hotel Le′ger, San Andreas on CA 49 that features the historic buildings and period rooms in the Calaveras County Museum Complex, and Angels Camp on CA 49, best known from Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Today the famed author is celebrated at the Mark Twain Trading Post and the annual Mark Twain Wild West Fest.
Calaveras Big Trees State Park – On CR 4 east of Arnold. Established to protect a large grove of giant sequoias, including the “Discovery Tree,” also known as the “Big Stump.” Visitors can enjoy their own up-close look at these majestic giants on easily navigable trails through two groves.
89) Tuolumne County also includes Sonora on CA 49, featuring the Tuolumne County Museum and History Center, the Sonora Fire Museum and the Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum.
Columbia State Historic Park – Just east of CA 49 near Sonora, is a restored Gold Rush community featuring wooden sidewalks, stagecoach rides, costumed townspeople, eclectic shops and restaurants, old-time hotels for lodging and even live performances in the historic theater.
Jamestown – The gateway to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, a day-use park featuring an authentic railroad roundhouse, a repair shop for the still-functioning steam locomotives, and a depot store for one-of-kind gifts. The park combines rail history with Hollywood screen lore. From April through October visitors can enjoy a six-mile, 45-minute round trip old-time train ride up into the scenic foothills of the Sierras.
90) Mariposa County on CA 49 is the southernmost county in Gold Rush County at the southeast entry to Yosemite National Park. At Mariposa is the Mariposa County Visitor Center, the Mariposa Museum and History Center and the Mariposa County Old Stone Jail.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum – South of Mariposa on CA 49, is located at the site where explorers John C. Fremont and Kit Carson found the rich Mariposa Vein and opened the first ore mill. Today the museum contains over 13,000 objects including mining artifacts and rare gold, gem and mineral specimens. Visitors can walk through a mine to see how gold was mined in the 1880’s and visit the museum shop for unique and colorful gifts.
91) San Francisco – A good place to start is Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf for great dining, shopping and entertainment. Nearby is the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and Ghirardelli Square, famed for its chocolates and treats. To the south is China Town offering unique world market shopping, and the Cable Car Museum showcasing the history of the city’s iconic transit system. South of the China Town Gate is the Union Square District with the San Francisco Visitor Information Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. On Mission Street at the Civic Center is the Asian Art Museum. West of the Haight Ashbury District is Golden Gate Park with the de Young Museum showcasing American and European art, the Conservancy of Flowers with color in bloom year-round, the timeless Carousel, and the Japanese Tea Garden offering natural beauty. Visitors won’t want to miss the famous golden sunsets over the Pacific Ocean on the beaches of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
San Francisco-area State Parks include:
Benicia State Recreation Area – In Vallejo, south of I-80 on I-780, with 2.5 miles of hike and bike paths along the grassy hills and rocky beaches.
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park – Further south on I-780 in Benicia and features the restored, pre-Sacramento State Capitol building from the 1850’s.
McLaughlin Eastshore State Park – Adjacent to I-80/580 in Berkeley, with 8.5 miles of shoreline on San Francisco Bay with beach, restrooms, swimming, fishing, hike and bike trails and nature viewing.
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area – South of San Francisco off US 101, featuring sheltered picnic areas, fishing, fitness courses and bird watching overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
San Bruno Mountain State Park – South of San Francisco, offering excellent hiking with outstanding views of San Francisco and the Central Bay.
Mount Tamalpais State Park – Across the Golden Gate Bridge on the Marin Peninsula and next to Muir Woods National Monument, offering a breathtaking panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco with hiking and horseback trails, picnic areas, and camping.
- California Department of Parks and Recreation
- Sierra State Parks Foundation
- California Department of Transportation
The Oregon Trail enters Idaho at the Wyoming border on US 30 near Kemmerer and continues northwest to Montpelier that features the National Oregon/California Trail Center, then continues to Soda Springs, one of the astounding natural attractions on the entire trip. Fort Hall served as a welcome oasis for the pioneers. Other Idaho landmarks include Salmon Falls, where fish could be obtained from local Native Americans, Snake River Crossing near present-day Glenn’s Ferry, and the Hot Springs south of Mountain Home. Historic Old Fort Boise is located northwest of Boise.
The Applegate Trail route began at Historic Fort Hall and followed the California Trail into western Nevada and then turned northwest into Oregon just south of Klamath Falls, OR.
The pioneers sang about it, dreamed about it, and very often bet their lives on it… they were bound for Oregon…the Promised Land. The ruts from their wagon wheels can still be followed at sites all along Interstate 84 leading to Oregon City. As you follow the Trail, the incredible beauty of the ever-changing scenery makes it easy to understand why Oregon is the ultimate destination for trail travelers the world over.
When today’s trail travelers enter the lush Willamette Valley and see the beauty all around, most realize it wasn’t gold that lured the trailblazers on. It was the precious bags of seed that many had carried in their wagons all the way from Missouri that drove them over 2,000 miles to Oregon country.
The Applegate Trail was the pioneers’ Southern Route into Oregon. In the 1840’s it had its risks, but with this new route there would be no drownings in the then dangerous rapids of the Columbia River.
For information, go to: ORDiscoveryTrails.com