A brown directional highway sign with a yellow and white logo sits in front of cottonwood trees, and large snow covered gray mountains with clouds and blue sky
A directional highway sign with the official California National Historic Trail logo helps visitors find New Fork River Crossing Historic Park in Wyoming.

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 (ATR) 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. ATR highway signs have been installed along these roads to guide your journey.

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.

Last updated: February 14, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Trails Intermountain Region
California National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(801) 741-1012

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