Bidwell / Bartleson Trail

The Bidwell / Bartleson Trail is not currently described in a Trails West guidebook but T-Markers have been placed along this trail in Idaho and Utah. The Bidwell / Bartleson party was the first overland emigrant party to attempt to take wagons and families to California. They traveled to Soda Springs, Idaho along the Oregon Trial and then branched off on their own to try to find a way to California. While they ended up abandoning their wagons in present-day eastern Nevada, they still were able to complete their journey using pack animals.

Marker BBID-1


"Having traveled about 6 miles this morning the Company came to a halt - the Oregon Company were now going to leave Bear river for Ft. Hall,... here concluded to go into Oregon so that the California company now consisted of only 32 men and one woman and child, there being but one family. The two companies, after bidding each other a parting farewell, started and were soon out of sight." - John Bidwell, August 11, 1841

Bidwell's Addresses, reminiscences, etc. can be downloaded from the Library of Congress.

Marker BBID-2


"I, in company with another man [J. John], went some distance below the camp to fish in the river; fished sometime without success - concluded we could spend the afternoon more agreeably. ... We concluded to ascend the mountain, where were two spots of snow in full view, in order to enjoy the contrast between a scorching valley and a snowy mountain. Supposed the snow not more than 4 miles distant; set out without our guns knowing they would be a hindrance in ascending the mountain." - John Bidwell, August 11, 1841

Marker BBID-3


"August 13th - Today we traveled about 10 miles and encamped for the balance of the day on the bank of the river [Bear River]." "August 14th - This morning we passed by a hot spring near the encampment. It is constantly boiling and smoking and is strongly impregnated with soda." - James John, August 13-14, 1841

Marker BBID-4


"Left the river on account of the hills which obstructed our way on it; ... Road uncommonly broken, did not reach the river; distance about 14 miles." - John Bidwell, Saturday, August 14, 1841

"We traveled about 15 miles today over hills and mountains and encamped on a small brook about 4 miles from the river." - James John, August 14, 1841

Marker BBID-5


"Continued our journey over hills and ravines, going to almost every point of the compass in order to pass them. ... Having come about 15 miles, we encamped on a small stream proceeding out of the mountains at not great distance from us. But we were surprised to see it become perfectly dry in the course of an hour; some of the guard said there was plenty of water in it about midnight." - John Bidwell, Sunday, August 15, 1841

Marker BBU-1


"Travelled about ten miles and camped on Bear River near a place called Cash [Cache] Valley." - James John, August 16, 1841

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"Today we travelled about 20 miles... Here the river runs through a deep cut in the mountain which is narrow and nearly perpendicular and about 300 feet high." - James John, August 17, 1841

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"Traveled but a short distance when we discovered that a deep salt creek prevented our continuing near the river. In ascending this stream in search of a place to cross it, we found on its margin a hot spring, very deep and clear." - John Bidwell, August 18, 1841

Bidwell's Addresses, reminiscences, etc. can be downloaded from the Library of Congress.

Marker BBU-4


"Marched off in a N.W. direction, and intersected our trail of Thursday last, having made a complete triangle in the plain." - John Bidwell, August 21, 1841

Marker BBU-5


"21st. Travelled about 12 miles and came to a large Salt Spring where we camped. ... 22nd. Stayed in camp on account of Oxen straying... The men who went to Fort Hall... returned today." - James John, August 21, 22, 1841

Marker BBU-6


"At evening we arrived in full view of the Salt Lake; water was very scarce. Cedar grows here both on the hills and in the valleys. Distance 20 miles." - John Bidwell, August 23, 1841

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"We now skirted the north end of the lake, sometimes traveling in a valley and again along the shore of the lake when the mountains jutted down nearer its shores." - Nicholas "Cheyenne" Dawson, Narrative, August 26, 1841

Marker BBU-8


"... 5 miles took us to this place, where we found, to our great joy, an excellent spring of water and an abundance of grass. Here we determined to continue 'till the route was explored to the head of Mary's river ..." - John Bidwell, August 27, 1841

Marker BBU-9


"Left the camp that we came to on the 27th of August and went about 6 miles and camped in a Cedar grove near a spring of water and in sight of the Plain which borders on the Salt Lake." - James John, September 5, 1841

Marker BBU-10


"We traveled about 10 miles today in a south west direction and we killed a rabbit and an antelope, game being scarce. Here we were compelled to kill oxen." - James John, September 6, 1841

Marker BBU-11


"The part of the Company that remained yesterday went on and overtook the 2 wagons. Capt. Bartleson & Hopper returned, bringing intelligence that they had found the head of Mary's river - distant about 5 days' travel..." - John Bidwell, September 9, 1841

Marker BBU-12


"This morning left two waggons belonging to B. Kelsey, their oxen being worn down from fatigue. They were compelled to leave their waggons and pack their baggage on horses and mules." - James John, September 12, 1841

Marker BBU-13


"Today we traveled about 15 miles on a south course, leaving large salt plains [on] our left and high mountains to the right and camped at a spring of good water this evening." - James John, September 13, 1841

The Bidwell/Bartleson Route continues as the Pack Trail Route in Nevada.