• 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?

Visitors at Alcove Spring along the Blue River in Northeastern Kansas.

Emigrants often camped for days at Alcove Spring in Northeastern Kansas as they waited for Spring floods to subside. The location was very peacful and had good water and grass for livestock. The ill-fated Donner & Reed wagon train had their first casualty here in 1846 when Sarah Keys died. More...