Applegate Trail (Lassen Meadows to Goose Lake)

The Applegate Trail is broken into 3 segments by the Trails West guidebooks. One or more of these books may be available for purchase in the CTIC gift shop or you can purchase them directly from Trails West on their website. They have an online photo tour along the Applegate Trail and many of those photos are used here as well.


The Applegate Trail was opened in 1846 by a group of men on horseback led by Jesse Applegate. Starting in Oregon, they sought a better wagon road. Working their way east and south they eventually intersected the California Trail below the big bend of the Humboldt River. They then headed on to Fort Hall to lead incoming wagons back along their new route.



Nevada Historical Marker 49

Located on the I-80 frontage road 1 mile west of the Imlay exit (exit 145). This is also at the beginning of the road which goes to Marker A-1.


Jesse and Lindsay Applegate headed south from Willamette Valley, Oregon, June 29, 1846, seeking a less hazardous route to that region from the east. On July 21, they came to a large meadow on the Humboldt River, what is now the nearby Rye Patch Reservoir. Thus they established the Applegate Trail.


During the remainder of 1846 and for the next two years, Oregon emigrants successfully traveled this trail.


In 1848, Peter Lassen, hoping to bring emigrants to his ranch, acted as guide to a party of ten to 12 wagons bound for California. He followed a route from here to Goose Lake where he turned southward over terrain that was barely passable. The emigrants suffered great hardships; many lives and livestock were lost. It became known as the "Death Route."

Marker A-1 / C-67


APPLEGATE TRAIL JUNCTION

"The trail then crossed a sandy ridge, one mile, to the river again. Two miles more, along the river, brought us to a road which turned to the right, and was called a 'cut-off'" - Joseph Sedgley, August 25, 1849


Joseph's diary can be viewed on Hathitrust.

Marker A-2


LEAVING LASSEN MEADOWS

"Leave California road for Oregon on the Lawson cut off. This road turns off at a large bend in river. The river and California road turning south and the Oregon road keeping near a direct west course" - William C. Stoddard, August 25, 1852



Marker A-3


HAYSTACK BUTTE

"From the road is seen a round mound that appears to be in or near the center of the valley and is eight or ten miles ... from the Humboldt River. By that mound, the bend in the river, the cut-off may be known" - Israel Hale, August 22, 1849


A copy of Israel's diary is held in the OCTA collection and can be downloaded here.

Marker A-4


WILLOW SPRINGS

"On the right hand of the road ... are some willows and singular rocks, where water has been lately found by digging about four feet" - Israel Lord, September 14, 1849

Marker A-5


ANTELOPE SPRINGS

"Took the Lawson Road ... to a spring of good water on the left of the main road about a mile with a good road leading to the spring and then back into the road ... the water runs out of a bluff at the foot of the mountain" - J. D. Randall, August 13, 1852

Marker A-6


ANTELOPE SUMMIT

"From [Antelope] Spring the road is somewhat uneven a few miles then there is a long hill to ascend when at the summit it is descending for several miles Good wheeling the entire distance" - Stillman Churchill, August 30, 1849


Stillman's diary is held in the collections of Brigham Young University and can be viewed here. This diary entry is found in volume 2, pp. 129-130.

Marker A-7


WITHOUT A DROP OF WATER

"About the center of this basin, we overtook a wagon. Standing by the road-side, when we begged for a drop of water; but, alas! They had none for themselves, and we were obliged to go on without." - Alonzo Delano, August 16, 1849


Alonzo's book can be downloaded from the Library of Congress.

Marker A-8


PAINTED CANYON

"Descending a couple of miles through a defile, we passed the most beautiful hills of colored earth I ever saw, with the shades of pink, white, yellow and green brightly blended" - Alonzo Delano, August 16, 1849


Alonzo's book can be downloaded from the Library of Congress.

Marker A-9


RABBIT HOLE SPRINGS

"Got to Rabbit Hole Spring about dark and campt this water is not good to drink the boys had to dip up water in pails to water the stock had no grass only a little hay with us" - Phoebe Terwilliger, September 16, 1854

Marker A-10 / N-1


APPLEGATE TRAIL AT FORK OF NOBLES TRAIL

"Started early found the rodes to fork [to Nobles Trail] about a mile from the [Rabbit Hole] spring. We of course took the Oregon Rode known as the Applegate Rout" - Charles J. Cummings, August 25, 1859


Charles' diary (along with two others - with pages out of order) can be downloaded from the OCTA website.

Marker A-10A


TO A SAND HILL

"The course is ... winding down and up and through and over the ravines and hills, not very bad nor steep, ... to the north side of a semicircular sand hill forty feet high." - Israel S. P. Lord, September 15, 1849


Israel's diary is available in book form, but also was published in The Western Christian newspaper in Elgin, Illinois. A photocopy of this newspaper publication is available in the OCTA collection and can be downloaded at https://www.octa-journals.org/merrill-mattes-collection/journal-of-isaac-s-p-lord

Marker A-11


ABANDONED WAGONS

"We soon begun to pass waggons abandoned, some with the loads in them and saw many oxen left unable to walk in the team. It became very warm and we had to rest our cattle often." - Elijah Preston Howell, August 24, 1849

Marker A-12


BLACK ROCK DESERT

"We resumed our journey, finding a worse state of things as we travelled on. Hundreds of dead cattle and mules, were lying along the road. The stench from them was almost intolerable, and could not be avoided" - Amos Batchelder, September 15, 1849

Marker A-13


QUINN RIVER CROSSING

"The route is perfectly a bare plain not producing even sage or grease wood ... came to a slough containing salt water bad crossing ... any amount of the banes and carcases of animals along the route." - Joseph R. Bradway, August 28, 1853


Bradway's diary is part of the OCTA collection and can be downloaded here.

Marker A-14 / N-1A


BLACK ROCK SPRINGS

"We found this to be an oasis in the desert. A large hot spring, nearly three rods in diameter, and very deep, irrigated about twenty acres of ground - the water cooling as it ran off" - Alonzo Delano, August 17, 1849


Alonzo's book can be downloaded from the Library of Congress.


Marker A-15


DOUBLE HOT SPRINGS

"At the noon halt ... were several boiling springs, two of which were great curiosities, like twins standing side by side ... they are ... about 30 feet in diameter ... here we did our washing. and cooked our beans in the spring" - Isaac Foster, August 31, 1849

Marker A-15A


BLACK ROCK DESERT

"Plenty of good grass, in patches. Here are also some tanks and springs of sulpher water ... there are many companies camped here." - J. G. Bruff, September 22, 1849


Bruff's handwritten diaries can be viewed here. This entry can be found on the image of p. 26-27.

Marker A-15B


TO MUD MEADOW

"This whole section has the appearance of a great mud plain, dried down and covered with sand which has drifted into ridges ... the road is for the most part heavy on account of the deep sand." - Israel S. P. Lord, September 18, 1849


Israel's diary is available in book form, but also was published in The Western Christian newspaper in Elgin, Illinois. A photocopy of this newspaper publication is available in the OCTA collection and can be downloaded at https://www.octa-journals.org/merrill-mattes-collection/journal-of-isaac-s-p-lord

Marker A-16


MUD MEADOW

"Some think it is Mud Lake though it is all grown over with rushes & not more than half leg deep. ... this lake is in a small valley and we found several warm springs perfectly circular fringed with rushes" - Pardon Tiffany, September 17, 1849

Marker A-16A


LEAVING MUD MEADOW

"The road is all dusty, and up ... the inclined plain it is rough and stoney: although all the large stones have been cast off the road by those who have gone before; ... it is a hard road on poor worn out cattle." - Joseph Middleton, October 1, 1849

Marker A-16B


ALTERNATE TRAIL BYPASSING FLY CANYON

"Some distance east of the pass a road turns to the right and passing round the other side of the hill, comes in again 2 miles ahead." - Israel Lord, September 21, 1849


Israel's diary is available in book form, but also was published in The Western Christian newspaper in Elgin, Illinois. A photocopy of this newspaper publication is available in the OCTA collection and can be downloaded at https://www.octa-journals.org/merrill-mattes-collection/journal-of-isaac-s-p-lord

Marker A-17


FLY CANYON

"Had some verry stony rodes One hill we locked both wheels & put on ropes to let our wagons down All got down safe. Saw some handsum sights along the rocks holes maid buy the wind" - Abram Minges, August 17, 1849

Marker A-18


ENTERING HIGH ROCK CANYON

"This cannon is enclosed in places by high bluffs of rocke some of them 4 or 500 feete high nearly perpendicular. ... whare thoes bluffs come so near together the rode vary bad so that it gave us some trouble to pass" - James Bardin, July 30, 1855

Marker A-19


LEAVING HIGH ROCK CANYON

"We next came to a beautiful meadow of fine grass and well watered. It was, indeed, a cheering sight. ... we could, once more, see daylight, which was pleasant after being shut up so long in dark defiles" - B. R. Biddle, August 18, 1849


Biddle's diary can be viewed at the OCTA website.

Marker A-20


UPPER HIGH ROCK CANYON

"2 miles through one of the roughest rockiest canyons ever travelled. Mr. Adams turned his wagon over, broke the axle out, but there was several broken wagons so they found another axel and put it in" - Welborn Beeson, August 12, 1853

Marker A-21


LEAVING CANYON

"After about three hours drive [through Upper High Rock Canyon] being behind some 40 or 50 teams we came out into a little valley. Found a good spring" - Henry St. Clair, August 29, 1849

Marker A-22


SINGULAR ROCK

"After we left [Upper High Rock] canyon we crossed over one or two hills and passed some water and grass and then took round a hill and encamped in a valley a short distance after passing some large rocks on our left" - Israel Hale, August 29, 1849

Marker A-23


ENTERING LONG VALLEY

"We enter the E[ast] side of Long Valley. ... the road becomes deep with fine sand before entering Long Valley but it is down hill & smoothe. On the N[orth] side of this road there is a high butment or bluff" - Joseph Middleton, October 6, 1849

Marker A-23A


OPPOSITE PAINTED POINT

"I turned and looked back at the mountain we had left. On the west it presents a bold front of white rock, most singularly striped horizontally with yellow and orange. I never saw anything like it." - Israel Lord, September 25, 1849

Marker A-23B


FORK TO BYPASS 49 LAKE

"We came to the head of a lake from which the water had evaporated but was yet so soft that it was impasable for stock or wagons. A circuit of 3 miles brought us around it." - Simon Doyle, September 14, 1849

Marker A-24


SPRINGS AND EMIGRANT CAMPING AREA

"On the face of the hills above the springs are a row of singularly peaked whitish pyramids all shaped very much like a bishop's mitre." - Joseph Middleton, October 7, 1849

Marker A-25


ENTERING FORTY NINE PASS

Forty Nine Pass, two-and-one-half miles northwest, was known by emigrants as Little Mountain Pass

"Moved on by day break to the Little [Mountain] Pass and camped for the day" - Lester Hulin, September 26, 1847


Lester's diary can be accessed online at Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society.

Marker A-25A


FORTY NINE ROCK

"The number of foot and horse packers is increasing day by day and the road is lined with them" - John H. Benson, September 1, 1849

Marker A-25B


FORTY NINE CREEK

"Our road ... down a small ravine [of Forty Nine Creek] for 3 miles. The mountains on either side very high. From here on our road was over rockey points and very tedious, tiersom traveling [to Surprise Valley]." - Simon Doyle, September 15, 1849

Marker A-26


TO SURPRISE VALLEY

"Left camp ... and after descending the canon [of Forty Nine Creek] a short distance the wagon trail diverged to the right and crossing several rough and rocky ridges brought us to [Surprise Valley]" - Jonathan Clark, September 27, 1849

Marker A-26A


ENTERING SURPRISE VALLEY

"Brought us in full view of Surprise Valley and at first sight is apt to take the traveler by surprise to pass from a barren wilderness waste into a lovely valley lying at the eastern base of the Sierras." - Elias Davidson Pierce, August 14, 1849

Marker A-27


HOT SPRINGS

"Steam from boiling springs is visible in many places. Last night a company of 6 wagons from Galena, Ills., had their cattle all stolen by the Indians. I learn ... that they have recovered but three of them" - Simon Doyle, September 15, 1849

Marker A-27A


ALKALI LAKE BED

"Two miles more brought us to Mud Lake. The trail, here, turns to the left and courses around the lake. We saved four miles, by going straight across, the lake being dry. It is covered with a saline incrustation." - Joseph Sedgley, September 1, 1849

Marker A-28


BEGIN FANDANGO PASS ASCENT

"We moove up the mountain we follow up a small stream of water [Neasham Creek] some distance then come to a grove of large pines at the head of the branch here the mountain is more steep" - Jonas Hittle, September 2, 1849

Marker A-28A


FANDANGO PASS ASCENT

"We arrived at the foot of the summit ridge, the top of which lay one mile distant ... . Up we ascended, slowly but surely, by the toilsome climbing of the teams and by the lifting of the members ... at the wheels." - William Swain, October 11, 1849

Marker A-28B


FANDANGO PASS DESCENT

"Passing over the summit, which is a very narrow ridge, a broad, deep valley ... presented itself to our view, far below us. ... we immediately descended the mountain, which on this side, is fearfully steep" - Amos Batchelder, September 25, 1849

Marker A-29


FANDANGO VALLEY

"The road led ... to the end of the valley. Turned west over a pine ridge, very rocky in places" - Andrew Lopp Murphy, September 23, 1849

Marker A-30


THROUGH THE FOREST

"Trees hundreds of feet high and 4-5-6 feet in diameter. We can drive anywhere among the trees. Only the ground is covered with cobble stones" - E. W. Brooks, September 1, 1849

Marker A-31


DESCENT TO LASSEN CREEK

"Four miles to a beautiful little stream of pure cold water coming from the mountains to our left and emptying into Goose Lake .... Camped there. ... found plenty of ripe plums on the neighboring mountain sides." - Andrew Murphy, September 23, 1849

Marker A-32


DESCENT TO GOOSE LAKE

"Traveled ... to Goose Lake, the descent ... is siddeling and dangers. While we were nooning here 2 wagons of other trains were upset and mashed to atoms" - Simon Doyle, September 19, 1849

Marker A-33 / L-1


NEW ROAD TO YREKA

"We leave the old Lawson road for the new road to Shasta Vallley [Yreka] to day i seems as if the road is one stone pile we have to goe a foot in such places for fear of getting our heads nocked off" - Sophronia Helen Stone, September 13, 1852