• Chimney Rock was an important emigrant landmark in western Nebraska

    California

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

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?

Photo image of a circa 1800s Union Pacific Railroad engine.

It is estimated that between 350,000 and 500,000 people emigrated to the west between the 1840s and 1870s. They came by ox drawn wagons, on foot, & pulling hand carts until the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads completed a rail line in May of 1869 at Promotory Point in Northern Utah. More...