California

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

Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.

location

maps

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Rock Springs

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rawlins Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Rawlins

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rawlins Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Pinedale

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Lander

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Kemmerer

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

A topographical map of the entire California National Historic Trail (NHT). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).California NHT - Map

A topographical map of the entire California National Historic Trail (NHT). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail route across Iowa. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Iowa

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail route across Iowa. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route from Western Missouri through Northeastern Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Missouri and Kansas

The National Historic Trail route from Western Missouri through Northeastern Kansas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route from Nebraska through Northeastern Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Nebraska and Colorado

The National Historic Trail route from Nebraska through Northeastern Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route along the Snake River through Idaho. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Idaho

The National Historic Trail route along the Snake River through Idaho. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Wyoming

The National Historic Trail route across Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Utah

The National Historic Trail route across Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

The National Historic Trail route across Nevada. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).NHT Auto Tour Guides - Nevada

The National Historic Trail route across Nevada. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/cali/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Trail Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons. Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons. 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. Camping varies along the trail by site The California National Historic Trail passes through 10 states and numerous landowners. Inquire with local land managers. Wagon at Register Rock in City of Rocks National Reserve A white canvas wagon sits in front of a large rock buttress with mountains in the distance. Wagon at Register Rock in City of Rocks National Reserve A creek in Carlin Canyon, Nevada on the California Trail A still creek winds through brown rolling hills. A creek in Carlin Canyon, Nevada on the California Trail Trail ruts on through Humboldt Wells in Nevada A dirt road passes through sagebrush and a white post with a mountain in the background. Trail ruts on through Humboldt Wells in Nevada Devil's Gate, Wyoming A rock buttress with a notch in it surrounded by sagebrush flats. Devil's Gate was an important emigrant landmark in Wyoming. View of West Pass on Carson Route Pine trees partly obscure a distant mountain lake with snow-capped mountains. View of West Pass on the Carson Route of the California NHT. California NHT: Chinese Immigration For many Americans, overland migration along the California and Oregon trails offered the promise of a better life. Although they arrived by ship and not by wagon, many emigrants from around the world sought the same thing. Thousands of Chinese immigrants flooded into California, driven from their homeland by civil unrest and natural disasters and lured to new shores by the promise of “Gum Saan,” or “Gold Mountain.” A Chinese immigrant stands on the corner of a street in historic San Francisco. The Lands of the Overland Trails: Protests against the Mexican American War Almost every movement in American history has a corresponding counter movement. The Mexican American War (1846-48), which resulted in Mexico ceding much of the modern-day American Southwest to the United States, is a good example. With the stroke of a pen, parts of the Santa Fe, California, Oregon, Pony Express, Mormon Pioneer, and Old Spanish trails, as well as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, suddenly became American territory. A dirt road snakes down a steep cliff face in the desert. Fourth of July on the Overland Trails For many travelers on the overland trails, the Fourth of July was just another day of trekking through sand and sagebrush. For some it was a day of melancholy, thinking of how their loved ones at home might be celebrating. For others, especially the Fortyniners, it was fun a day of celebration, usually involving the firing of “salutes” with their handguns and rifles, energetic flag-waving, and a feast. A covered wagon sits in front of a vast rocky landscape The Pioneer Line to California: An Adventure in Transportation Some Gold Rush entrepreneurs organized commercial wagon trains to carry passengers to the California gold fields. The best known of these (thanks to the writings of passengers) was the so-called Pioneer Line, which suffered disaster after disaster on the trail. Twenty-two of its passengers died along the way or shortly after reaching Sacramento. An old handbill advertising an Express Passenger Trail to California. Sagebrush and Salt Flats along the Overland Trails The Great Basin, that Big Empty between hither and yon, is a raw and merciless land. Many 19th century emigrants, after several months trudging from the Missouri River with ox and wagon, stopped at its hither edge to settle near the Great Salt Lake. Many others, gazing west into that alien expanse, wanted urgently to meet its yon side at the Sierra Nevada as quickly as possible. Very few stopped permanently, willingly, in the thirsty in-between. A salt flat, covered in shallow water, stretches out to distant mountains. Cholera: A Trail Epidemic In the early years of the California gold rush, cholera struck each spring at the thronging jumping-off towns along the Missouri River where thousands of gold seekers and Oregon-bound emigrants gathered to outfit. The deadly disease claimed many lives before the victims even had a chance to start across the prairies of Kansas or Nebraska. It claimed many more along the trail corridor to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and in American Indian encampments and villages, as well. A stone grave monument, stands in a field of tall grass. Wind Damage to Historic Fort Douglas Post Cemetery Hurricane level winds measured at up to 112 mph knocked down hundreds of big trees in Salt Lake City on Sept. 8. Some fallen trees damaged graves and headstones at historic Fort Douglas Post Cemetery, near the University of Utah campus. Trees fallen near granite headstones in a green grass cemetery. 1857 Mormon Defensive Breastworks at Mormon Flat, Utah Fearing an invasion by the approaching US Army in 1857, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young evacuated Salt Lake City and ordered the Mormon Militia to prevent the soldiers from entering the valley. The federal troops would come through Fort Bridger, a trading post in in present-day southeastern Wyoming, and pass through Echo Canyon, about 50 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, before following the California-Mormon Trail up Big Mountain. A row of piled rocks, in a grassy field, with a distant hill. Oregon and California Trails Fall 2020 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. Death-Winds in the Sierra Nevada Hurricane-force winds struck parts of the western US in September 2020, knocking down huge trees and tearing shingles from roofs. Emigrants traveling west in covered wagons encountered severe windstorms, too--some with deadly outcomes. An illustration of a canvas tent in a forest with downed trees. Visit to Hastings Cutoff 2020 State chapters of the Oregon-California Trails Association often lead field trips along the trails. Recently, fall of 2020, the Crossroads Chapter of Utah led a group along the Hastings Cutoff -- the route followed by the Donner-Reed Party--west of Salt Lake City. What Happened to the Bison? Crossing the Southern Plains in 1806, Zebulon Pike described herds of bison that “exceeded imagination.” Yet by the 1850s, many of the Native nations that relied on bison for sustenance—such as the Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes—were seeing fewer bison than ever before. What happened? A bison stands and eats grass. The Platte Experience Otoe Indians called this region “Nebrathka,” meaning “flat water,” and the French word “Platte” means the same. The defining flatness of the broad Platte River Valley, which averages five to seven miles wide, made it ideal for animal-powered travel on both sides of the stream. The long Platte River also provided plenty of water and native grasses for game and livestock. Many emigrants later recalled it as the easiest, most pleasant part of their westering journey. A statue of a bison in front of a large museum. Gateway to the West: National Historic Trails Across the Continental Divide The Rocky Mountains stretch like a jagged spine between Alaska and Mexico, splitting North America into East and West. The Continental Divide is not a simple line of peaks, easily threaded by tracks and roads, but a complex of overlapping mountain ranges and treeless sagebrush steppe, hundreds of miles wide. In the days of covered wagon travel, the Rockies were an imposing barrier to the movement of people, commerce, and communications. South Pass was the gateway to the West. Historic image a covered wagon train meeting tall mountains. War on the Oregon & California Trails Once-friendly Western tribes watched with mounting anger as emigrants helped themselves, often wastefully, to their game, grass, water, and wood. Indian agents warned of bloody conflicts ahead if the issues between native peoples and emigrants were not soon resolved. In response, the U.S. government called for a treaty conference to be held near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in September 1851. Some 12,000 members of 11 different Northern Plains tribes answered the call. A green lawn stretches back to a distant historic fort. A Gathering Storm: American Indians and Emigrants in the 1830s As American settlers surged westward across the eastern woodlands and prairies in the early 19th century, they pushed American Indians out of their ancestral homes. The U.S. government resettled many of those displaced Eastern tribes —the Kickapoo, Delaware, Potawatomi, and others— in congressionally designated Indian Territory west of the Missouri River and south of the Platte. The resettled Eastern tribes were among the first Indians encountered by emigrants through Kansas. Hike on a National Historic Trail Hiking a National Historic Trail isn't always what people expect. Like the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails pass through multiple states and travel across a variety of land ownership. Unlike the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails can't be traversed on one long walking trail. You can plan a weekend adventure or an afternoon outing on a National Historic Trail. The following trips will give you the opportunity to hike pieces of the historic trail routes. A brown trail sign stands next to a trail that leads through the forest. “Thicker than Stars in the Firmament”: Bison along the Platte River Corridor Emigrants heading west along the Platte River in the early years of the overland emigration wrote excitedly in diaries and journals about their first sightings of buffalo and the wild hunts that typically followed. Some wagon trains got caught in buffalo stampedes, and some lost cattle that ran off to join the unimaginably enormous herds of wild bison. But as commercial hunters and sport-slaughter thinned those herds that part of the overland experience changed. An illustration of a group of covered wagons and American Indians on horseback. Traveling the Emigrant Trails Learn a little bit about what life was like for the emigrants traveling west by covered wagon. Wagons on the Emigrant Trails Emigrants along the western trails had several options when it came to wagons. Three covered wagons are seen in front of a distinctive rock formation. Places to See Oregon Trail Ruts Over the years, thousands of wagon wheels and hooves churned the earth as they traveled west. Their traces are often referred to as wagon ruts and they can appear a variety of ways depending on the type of soil and the continued effects of water erosion. One of the best ways to experience the Oregon Trail is by taking a step back in time while visiting a trail rut. Luckily, there are still places where you can have that experience today. Take a look and plan your visit today! A highly eroded channel through thick, light colored rock. Death and Danger on the Emigrant Trails There were many life-threatening challenges for the emigrants who traveled the emigrant trails to California, Oregon, or Utah. A watercolor painting of wagon trains approaching Chimney Rock. Bloomers on the Trail Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a suffragist and women's magazine editor from New York, kicked off a dress-reform movement in 1851 by appearing in public wearing puffy pantaloons under a short skirt. Although she was ridiculed for her attire, some young women happily adopted the practical and comfortable "bloomers" outfit for their trip west across the overland trails. An illustration of a woman in period dress, showcasing her long short pants. Women Traveling West The Oregon and California trails traverse lands where women challenged traditional gender roles. In the early 1840s Americans began heading west in large numbers, many traveling in family groups. Women in the nation’s more settled areas were supposed to excel at domestic work, like cooking, cleaning, and raising children; however, as part of a wagon train, women got to showcase a wider range of skills. An illustration of a string of covered wagons, with an encampment scene in the foreground. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides: California Trail Download one of these booklets and begin your state by state trail adventure! The Auto Tour Route (ATR) guides provide an overview of local trail history while giving driving directions to suggested points of interest along the trail. There are auto tour route guides available for the trail across MO, KS, NE, CO, WY, ID, UT, and NV. The cover of a travel guide that has a picture of an expansive, sandy desert. Become a Junior Ranger for National Historic Trails Learn about the National Historic Trails and earn junior ranger badges! These activities can be completed virtually or after visiting a site along the National Historic Trails. Booklets can be submitted either electronically or by mail. Take a look and start exploring the trails today! small photos of different trail sites with junior ranger badges. Color the National Historic Trails Express yourself and learn more about the trails with these coloring sheets! Download, print, color, and then share with us! Do you want to know what pioneers thought about bison? Elk? Salmon? Pick an animal, learn more, and download your coloring sheet today. A coloring sheet with an image of a wolf walking. Historic Valentine's Day Cards Valentines day cards rose to popularity in the United States in the mid-1800s. Victorian cards were elaborate, decorative, often-lace trimmed, and mass-produced. Not everyone could afford such cards, so handmade cards were very popular with pioneers and others who couldn't buy an expensive card. You can take your Valentine back in time by making a historic card! Use the provided template, or make a handmade card, and return to the 1800s with your love. A historic valentines day card with a rose illustration. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2021 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. Hogsback Summit Winter Views Winter view of the Wasatch Mountains from Hogsback Summit, near Henefer, Utah, on the Donner Party route of the California Trail. The Donner Party reached this point on July 19, 1846, having been directed by Lansford W. Hastings to cut their own trail through these mountains. Here they had their first glimpse of what that would mean for them. Enjoy a virtual visit with a few different views of this significant trail location. a wintery landscape leading to distant snow-covered mountains. Series: National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides Interested in planning a trip along a national historic trail? Use these guides to follow the historic routes while learning more about local and trail history. The cover of a travel guide that has an illustration of a covered wagon train in the plains. Series: The Emigrant Experience Have you ever wondered what the experience was like for the emigrants who traveled west on the Great Platte River Road? A man dressed in period clothing leans on a covered wagon. Poetry on the California Trail Dr. Israel Lord, an Iowa physician who headed to California to dig for gold in 1849, composed 17 stanzas about a suffering, worn-out ox he watched die in the deserts west of the Humboldt River in today’s Nevada. Here are three of the verses he recorded in his journal: "Too sure they’ve left me here to die...An old and hungry ox;..." An oil painting of people next to a covered wagon next to a dying oxen. A Gunslinger’s Tale: Johnny Ringo "And now Oh God comes the saddest record of my life for this day my husband accidentally shot himself and was buried by the wayside and oh, my heart is breaking…" The fatal accident of July 30, 1864, near present-day Glenrock, Wyoming, left William Ringo’s family fatherless on the California Trail, some thousand miles from their destination. He is also know as Johnny, Johnny Ringo. That Johnny Ringo. A historic image of a man from the 1880s National Historic Trails: Historical Routes of National Significance Wondering about National Historic Trails? Check out this infographic with basic information about the trails, their purpose, and where you can go for more information! Infographic about National Historic Trails featuring a map. Full description available at link. Skull Valley and Hastings Pass: Backcountry Route Take an auto tour off of Interstate 80 in Utah to explore the National Historic Trails! This 46-mile backcountry route follows pavement south along the trail corridor for about 17 miles from exit 77 to Iosepa, Utah. Beyond Iosepa, the route follows 29 miles of unpaved road along the original route of the Hastings Cutoff through the Cedar Mountains at Hastings Pass. Plan ahead and prepare! Backcountry travel requires the right equipment and knowledge. Hastings Pass: Optional Backcountry Route xxx Child’s Play: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Laudanum is a tincture made from powdered opium, morphine, and codeine. Today it is available in the US only by prescription, but in the 19th century it was an inexpensive patent medicine used to quiet agitated minds, ease fever and pain, and relieve diarrhea. An overdose causes the victim to stop breathing, lapse into coma, and die. That’s what happened to six-year-old Salida Jane Henderson, called “Lettie,” while she camped with her family in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. A small green glass bottle with a cork topper. Mail and the National Historic Trails Communication between loved ones has always been an essential part of life when you are separated from each other. During the Gold Rush, miners and other folks out west depended on the mail as a connection to their family back home and to find out news from around the country. Mail service in 1849 was different than it is today! Learn more about this important history. Miners working in a stream, in a forest setting. Can I Eat This: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails In 1849, many companies of gold seekers decided to follow the Applegate Trail to a new cutoff, said to be a quicker way to the goldfields. Lassen’s Cutoff turned out to be 200 miles longer than the established routes, extending the trip by weeks. Long before reaching the mines, most companies ran out of food. Starving men desperately filled their empty bellies with anything they could chew- rotting livestock lying trailside, boiled bits of leather, and plants, some poisonous. Clusters of small white flowers. Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Edwin Bryant, traveling overland to California in 1846, had only briefly studied medicine, and he never claimed to be a physician. But somewhere along Nebraska’s Platte River, a little boy from another party had gotten his leg crushed under wagon wheels. The child, eight or nine years old, survived but desperately needed medical attention. There being no doctor nearby, Bryant reluctantly agreed to examine him. A wooden wagon wheel with spokes radiating out from the center. Mother’s Mortal Mistake: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Joel Hills Johnson started along the trail in April 1857, on his way to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Big Mountain, less than 20 miles from the city, his group overtook a party of “apostates” – former Mormon converts who had abandoned their church and were leaving the Mormon realm. As was common practice, a mother of that party had stirred together a pan of bread dough in the morning and set it to rise in the wagon during the day... A risen bread loaf in a tin pan. Fatal missteps, Part 2: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Emigrants on the Truckee Route to California typically started across Nevada’s Fortymile Desert in the evening in order to avoid the heat of the midday sun. The one reliable place to find water along the desert trek was a place called Boiling Springs, where travelers could dip out and cool the precious water for their livestock to drink. Steam rises from a small pond that sits in a desert setting void of much vegetation Thunder Road: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails First comes a sudden stillness, then an unexpected cool breeze. Sunshine dims to darkness as growling, green-black clouds pile overhead, flickering with lightning. The wind rises. A brilliant bolt splits the air with a deafening crr-ACK, followed by momentary silence and then a violent, crashing boom that makes the living earth tremble... Lightning bolt in a dark sky. Fatal missteps, Part 1: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Devil’s Gate, near Independence Rock in south-central Wyoming, is a deep, V-shaped cleft cut through a granite ridge by the Sweetwater River. Curious emigrants, including the younger brother of pioneer Ezra Meeker, made side-trips to explore the scenic feature. A river squeezes through a narrow passage between two sheer rock walls Elko Hot Hole Exhibits Audio Description Listen to the audio descriptions for the Elko Hot Hole exhibits. An interpretive exhibit depicting a geothermal geyser. National Historic Trails Scrapbooks Imagine if early travelers on the National Historic Trails had a polaroid camera... what would their scrapbooks look like? Though we have many journals describing their experiences, there are obviously very few or no photos at all from these journeys. Cameras didn't exist! Well, we took a crack at it and created scrapbook pages for them! Take a look at what we imagine a trail traveler's scrapbook would like! A scrapbook page depicting multiple scenes from the trail, and relevant icon images. Mill Creek Exhibits Audio Description Listen to the audio descriptions for the exhibits at Mill Creek in Independence, Missouri. Wayside exhibit audio descriptions for Mill Creek. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Fall 2021 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). National Historic Trails Fashion Inspiration During NPS Fashion Week, we are exploring some ways fashion inspiration may be found on National Historic Trails (NHTs). On NHTs you’ll find intriguing colors, shapes, textures, histories, and stories. From golden sunsets to feathered hats, NHTs have diverse natural and cultural environments that can inspire the fashionista in us all! A red rock cliff with a path winding through it Christmas on the Emigrant Trails Series Most emigrants reached the end of their long overland journey weeks or months before December 25 rolled around. A few, though, stranded or lost along the way, spent their first Christmas in the West in winter camps many miles from the settlements. Here’s how they observed the holiday. A large granite outcrop, about 10 feet high, gray with flecks of green moss. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1846 at Donner Lake, California The Donner-Reed Party were much less fortunate than the Walker wagon train. They were on a tried-and-true wagon trail, the 1844 Truckee Route, not lost but late. These emigrants attempted to cross the central Sierra Nevada in early November 1846 but became trapped by blizzards near present-day Truckee, California. By December, the emigrants were living on boiled bone and strips of ox hides from the dead livestock they dug from beneath the snow. The wrote of their Christmas... Old black and white photography of a man sitting on a fallen log among tree stumps. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1849 at Bruff’s Camp, California On the Lassen branch of the California Trail, ‘49er J. Goldsborough Bruff celebrated a rustic but more pleasant Christmas in the Cascades Mountains, north of the Sierra Nevada. Bruff, a professional draftsman and a strong-willed individual, ended up stuck in the mountains at Christmas largely due to his own pride and stubbornness. Self portrait in ink and watercolor. Bearded man, shown from head to waist. Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1849 at Death Valley, California The Rev. James W. Brier, a Methodist preacher from Ohio, wanted to reach the California gold fields in the worst way, so that’s exactly what he did. He chose the very worst way imaginable: a “shortcut” across the untracked badlands of southern Nevada. Black and white engraving of a line of people and livestock marching single file . Christmas on the Emigrant Trails: Christmas 1843 at Peachtree Valley, California An 1843 emigrant party of about 17 emigrant men, women, and children, led by famed mountain man Joseph R. Walker, hoped to get their eight wagons through the Sierra Nevada and into the California interior. Theirs would be the second wagon train to attempt the feat. Black and white studio portrait by Matthew Brady. A seated, stern-faced man holds a rifle. Young Man Alone: Snowbound in the Sierra Nevada, 1844 Are you “sheltering in place” because of the Covid pandemic? Feeling lonely, bored, and sad? Consider the plight of 17-year-old Moses Schallenberger, stranded alone in the Sierra Nevada for three months with no smartphone, cable TV, social media, energy drinks, snack foods, or central heating. The year was 1844—still very early in the overland emigration era. Moses, orphaned at age six, was heading to California with his sister, Elizabeth... Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2022 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). A Hike to Roller Pass on the California Trail Take a five-mile roundtrip hike along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail near Truckee, Cal., to explore one of the California Trail’s more difficult passages through the Sierra Nevada! Find out how trail travelers surmounted the pass and how you can visit today. A hiker stands at the summit of a mountain overlooking a rocky pass Things to Do in Nebraska Things to do and trip ideas in Nebraska national parks. Steep bluff with pink sky above and yellow leaves below. Things to Do in Missouri Things to do and trip ideas in Missouri national parks. Purple flowers bloom on a grass-covered landscape under a partly cloudy sky. Things to Do in Kansas Things to do in Kansas national parks. Single story square building in the distance partially obstructed by a field of golden grass. Series: Things to Do in Midwest National Parks There is something for everyone in the Midwest. See what makes the Great Plains great. Dip your toes in the continent's inland seas. Learn about Native American heritage and history. Paddle miles of scenic rivers and waterways. Explore the homes of former presidents. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, discover the stories that shape our journey as a nation. Steep bluff with pink sky above and yellow leaves below. Girl in a Sugar Barrel: Mary Elizabeth Snelling Could a 12-year-old girl fit inside a sugar barrel? And why on earth would she want to? Not much seems certain about Mary Elizabeth Snelling’s childhood circumstances except that she was African American and born in Johnson County, Mo., on February 4, 1839. Also this important fact: Mary Elizabeth, daughter of a Black woman and a white man, had light-colored skin. Learn more about her journey west on the California Trail. Faded image of the head and shoulders of a slightly smiling woman wearing wire-rimmed glasses. Introduction - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Introduction to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Preface - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Preface to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Captivity and Independence: Race and Enslavement in the Trailhead Towns Along the Missouri Trailhead towns like Westport were particularly inhospitable to Black Americans, even those that were not enslaved. Yes, jumping-off places were diverse communities that offered economic opportunities for people of color, such as Hiram Young and Emily Fisher. However, trailhead towns along the Missouri River carried the same anti-Black attitudes as much of the United States. Learn more... Methodology - Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869 Methodology to Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869. This study examines African American participation in the great overland trails emigrations that occurred in the nineteenth century. It focuses on the history of African Americans on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails from 1841 to 1869, when the transcontinental railroad was completed. Sweet Freedom's Plains, Chapter 1: Race, Slavery, and Freedom Race, Slavery, and Freedom: Chapter 1 Sections, Sweet Freedom's Plains, African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841 - 1869, Sweet Freedom's Plains, Chapter 2: The Jumping-Off Places Chapter 2 Sections, The Jumping-Off Places, Sweet Freedoms Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841 - 1869. California Trail Junior Ranger Interested in becoming a California Trail junior ranger? Use this information to complete your worksheet! Oregon and California National Historic Trails Fall 2022 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS).

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