• Chimney Rock was an important emigrant landmark in western Nebraska

    California

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

Things To Do

Photo image of the landmark feature known as the Devil's Gate.

The Wagner Perspective

There are a number of ways to enjoy the California National Historic Trail, including auto-touring, visiting interpretive sites, hiking, biking or horseback riding trail segments, and visiting museums. Depending on which segment you would like to explore, some or all of these activities may be available.

Although the word "trail" is used in the name, the California NHT is not a true hiking trail. With 2,000 miles of the original route now in the hands of various private and public entities, access to trail segments depends upon the permission of the land owner. Some segments are open to the public for hiking and other means of recreation, while others are not.

Following is a list of recommended pages for visiting for the California NHT. Inquiries about segments not listed are best made locally. For more information, see the Links and Resources, Places To Go, and the pages for the Auto Tour Route driving directions.

 

Camping

The National Park Service does not offer any camping facilities along the trail. Inquire with local land managers (see Links and Resources page for contact information).

Short Hikes (usually less than 300 yards) to trail ruts or historic sites

Long Hikes (extensive trail segments)

  • South Pass Segment: Independence Rock to Parting of the Ways, 125 miles
  • South Pass near South Pass City, WY
  • Lander Road: LaBarge Creek Ranger Station to Smith's Fork, WY, approx. 10 miles
  • Bear River Divide Segment: US 189 to WY 89, 31 miles
  • Little Emigration Canyon: Mormon Flat to Big Mountain, 4.5 miles
  • Red Lake Pass to Carson Pass: Carson Route Hwy 88, CA

4x4 and Horse Access (extensive trail segments)

  • Oregon Trail Road: Mills, WY to WYO-220 just north of Independence Rock, 41.5 miles
  • South Pass Segment: Independence Rock to Parting of the Ways, 125 miles
  • Lander Road: Burnt Ranch, WY to Fort Hall, ID, approx. 250 miles
  • Parting of the Ways: end of the South Pass segment
  • Bear River Divide Segment: US 189 to WY 89, 31 miles
  • Fort Bridger to Muddy Creek: approx. 14 miles
  • Skull Valley UT Segment: Timpi Spring to Aragonite Exit on I-80, approx. 45 miles
  • California Trail Backcountry Byway: Goose Creek to Hwy 93, in northeast NV, approx. 50 miles

Trail Museums

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...