• Chimney Rock was an important emigrant landmark in western Nebraska

    California

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

Directions

Those portions of the California National Historic Trail authorized by Congress include nearly 2,000 miles of historic trail that was once the primary "road" taken by farmers, enterprising business managers, gold-seekers and fortune hunters who chose to make a new life on the California frontier. The route passes through ten states from Missouri to California.

Auto Tour Route driving directions take visitors along modern highways that approximate or closely parallel the historic route taken by emigrant wagon trains during the 1840s to the 1870s.

The Links and Resources page will provide useful contact information for local land and/or site managing agencies and organizations along the route.

The page of Suggested Trail Sites to Visit will also be of value for first time visitors.

Eventually, state by state Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides (ATR Interpretive Guide) will provide an interpretive history of the trail through each state along with directions to sites where trail related interpretive media and/or educational programs may be found. As they are developed, the Interpretive Guides will be available at trail related sites, state Welcome Centers, and museums in each state. Electronic copies of these Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides are also available on the website to download to your computer as Acrobat Reader PDF documents.

Did You Know?

Donner Springs and Pilot Peak in the west desert of Utah.

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...