History & Culture
"If we never see each other again, do the best you can, God will take care of us." - Patty Reed of the Donner-Reed Party 1846.
Before railroads or automobiles, people in America had to travel by foot, horse, boat or wagon. Some of these routes from our nation's early days still remain today as reminders of our historic past. A National Historic Trail (NHT) such as the California NHT is an extended trail that closely follows the original routes of travel of national historical significance.
Modern-day Auto Tour Routes follow or closely parallel the historic road(s) with state map images and driving directions that provide opportunities for discovering the remnants and significant resources of the trail. Examples of the fascinating stories and incidents from emigrants, entrepreneurs, missionaries, and fortune seekers can be found all along the trail.
Did You Know?
This spring provided the first source of fresh water for emigrant wagon trains after traveling the long hard, waterless drive across nearly 100 miles of Utah Desert. It is named in honor of the ill-fated Donner-Reed party which stopped at the springs on their way to California in the fall of 1846. More...