HELPING YOU DISCOVER THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL
Look left, look right, look straight ahead - the land has a story to tell. Swells and swales, creek crossings and river routes, dips and ruts: all these signify an international highway of the past! You can follow the paths of emigrants, pony express riders, forty-niners, entrepreneurs, and stagecoach drivers. Imagine these long-ago times as you travel to historic rendezvous points and scout natural landmarks across the countryside.
These tell-tale signs will help you find and explore the many places and stories of the California National Historic Trail.
family of roadway signs
Auto Tour Route signs guide you along all weather roads that more or less follow the historic route of the trail. Look for Historic Site Name signs that clue you into places to experience on the trail. Did James F. Reed pass this way on his long journey to California?
Local Tour Route signs direct you over varied terrain following local low speed, rural, and even dirt roads. They follow a number of historic trail sites or segments in a small geographic area. Take the time to visit sites that today remain similar to how emigrants saw them, such as Alcove Spring, Kansas.
Crossing signs alert you to locations where the historic trail crossed an existing road. But what crossed the road? Will you see evidence of an old wagon wheel path?
Original Route signs are exclusive. These signs tell you that you are on roads well documented as being the original trail. Travel past Independence Rock and Devil's Gate in Wyoming and you will intersect and align with the main route that four historic trails followed over the Continental Divide.
Historic Site Name signs steer you to historic trail sites or segments. Emigrants carved their name on rock faces while passing by on what we now call Register Cliff in Wyoming.
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...