California Trail (Raft River to Humboldt River)

The main California Trail is broken into 2 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 California Trail and many of those photos are incorporated here as well.


The Google map below shows all of the California Trail T-Marker locations from Raft River in Idaho to Wells, Nevada. There is also a map associated with every other marker description that shows the locations of the previous pair of markers.

Marker C-1


PARTING OF THE WAYS

"The Oregon road takes up the bluff and follows the course of the Snake river while we keep to the left and follow the creek [Raft River] nearly to its source... Crossing the creek we folowed up the bottom" - Byron McKinstry, August 1, 1850


Byron's diary is not currently available in digital form but may be available in libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) and from rare book dealers. You can learn more about his story in the Byron McKinstry Plaza Tour.

Marker C-2


RAFT RIVER RECROSSING

"Arrived at Raft river, crossed, and nooned.... Traveled five miles up Raft river and camped after recrossing it. Grass in abundance and plenty of wood" - Cyrus Loveland, August 3, 1850


Cyrus' diary is not currently available in digital form but may be available in libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) and from rare book dealers.

Marker C-3


RAFT RIVER VALLEY

"We traveled up Raft river 16 miles The road, water and grass, good, but entirely destitute of timber, except a little willow on the streams, and the wild sage." - Chester Ingersoll, August 13, 1847


Chester's diary can be viewed at Hathitrust.

Marker C-4


CASSIA CREEK

"We came onto the Subletts cut off road [Hudspeth Cutoff], or rather that cut off comes into our road which is the old and longest road." - Henry Anable, August 7, 1852


Henry's diary is held by the Bancroft library at UC Berkeley. No electronic access is available.

Marker C-5


LEAVING CASSIA CREEK


"After crossing [Cassia Creek] we crossed a swamp, which required considerable persevering to get through safely. Three miles farther we encamped on the side of a hill, between two range of mountains" - William [Wakeman] Bryarly, July 18, 1849


Wakeman Bryarly's diary can be viewed and downloaded from the Internet Archive.

Marker C-6


SUMMIT CREEK

"By an easy ascent reached a summit and as gradually descended to a valley [upper Raft River valley] of sage and sand sloping to the south east. The streams running towards the [Great] Salt Lake." - Byron McKinstry, August 3, 1850


Byron's diary is not currently available in digital form but may be available in libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) and from rare book dealers. You can learn more about his story in the Byron McKinstry Plaza Tour.

Marker C-7


NEARING CITY OF ROCKS

"We enter a gorge of the hills which in a short time brings us into a large ampitheatre surrounded with rock of every kind of fanciful character." - Joseph Middleton, August 26, 1849


Joseph's papers are held in the collection of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. No electronic access is available at this time.

Marker C-8


SILENT CITY OF ROCKS

"The gray granit rocks stand in pyramid monument & dome forms, here & there towering aloft. The road winds along between them. Emigrants names are written ... on these curious structures" - Augustus Ripley Burbank, August 4, 1849


No electronic access for this diary is available. The diary is held by the University of Oregon.

Marker C-9


PINNACLE PASS

"A ride ... brought us to the outlet of this romantic vale. A very narrow pass - just wide enough for a wagon, and on either side very high, jagged, and thin walls of granite ... called the 'Pinnacle Pass'" - J.G. Bruff, August 29, 1849


Bruff's original trail notes are held in the collection of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. His published works are available in various editions at booksellers and libraries (including the research library of the CTIC).



Marker C-10


TRAIL JUNCTION

"About one mile from the last of these granite spires we came to the junction of the northern Salt Lake road to California." - John Steele, August 8, 1850


John Steele's diary, Across the Plains in 1850, can be viewed on Hathitrust.

Marker C-11


PRAIRIE VALLEY

"The moon just rising above the mountains, throwing a mild light over the valley & opposite mountain, formed a beautiful scene of prairie mountain life." - Hugh Brown Heiskell, September 3, 1849


A preview of Heiskell's diary, A Forty-Niner from Tennessee, can be viewed on Google Books.

Marker C-12


GRANITE PASS

"At the entrance of the pass was a pleasant little spring & fine branch." - Wakeman Bryarly, July 20, 1849


Wakeman's diary can be viewed on the Internet Archive.

Marker C-13


THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL

"The long dangerous descent from Granite Pass reached Birch Creek at this point - 1843 and later."

Once the emigrants reached the bottom of the slope at Birch Creek, they could breathe a sigh of relief. The trip ahead to Goose Creek was going to be much easier. Trails West photo by Bob Black

Marker C-14


DESCENT TO GOOSE CREEK

"We crossed a high, red-colored ridge, and descending by a rocky ravine, camped in the valley of Goose Creek." - John Steele, August 9, 1850


John Steele's diary, Across the Plains in 1850, can be viewed on Hathitrust.

Marker C-15


GOOSE CREEK

"Following up Goose Creek in order to avoid sloughs and marshes, our road kept close to the bluffs on our left." - John Steele, August 10, 1850


John Steele's diary, Across the Plains in 1850, can be viewed on Hathitrust.

Excerpt from Steele's diary

Marker C-16


GOOSE CREEK

"Trail of 1843 and later continued south along Goose Creek."

From the camping area, the emigrants followed Goose Creek on down the valley for about ten miles to Marker C-16. Trails West photo by Bob Black The trail is close to the present driving road in many places and is marked with white Carsonite markers.

Marker C-17


LITTLE GOOSE CREEK

"We passed on up the [Goose] creek a few miles to where the main stream divurges to the right. We passed to the left up a small tributary & through a canyon walled with craggy rocks." - Augustus Ripley Burbank, August 7, 1849


No electronic access for this diary is available. The diary is held by the University of Oregon.

Marker C-18


ROCKY DESCENT

"Left the valley and turned to the right and ascended a hill very barren and sterile, composed of black, hard porous ... looking rocks." - Andrew Lopp Murphy, August 11, 1849


No electronic access of this diary is available. It is held in the collections of The State Historical Society of Missouri.

The trail continued on down Goose Creek about another ten miles to the entrance to Little Goose Creek canyon. The trail goes about four miles through the rugged, rocky canyon and then climbs up to the divide between the Snake River drainage and the Great Basin. Trails West photo by Bob Black

Marker C-19


THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL

"California Emigrant Trail between waters draining into Snake River and Great Salt Lake Basin."

Marker C-20


ROCK SPRING

"We passed on over a ... barren road ... to the Rock Springs. The springs rises on the right from under a ledge of rock at the point of a mountain ridge. ... it is generally crowded with footmen, horses, cattle & wagons." - A. R. Burbank, August 7, 1849


No electronic access for this diary is available. The diary is held by the University of Oregon.

After following Little Goose Creek to its head, the emigrants struck across a sage plain for about ten miles to Rock Spring. This beautiful spring issued from the foot of a cliff of rocks, ran across the trail and then disappeared in the sand. However, it was a not a good place to camp as there was no feed. Trails West photo by Bob Black

Marker C-21


EMIGRANT SPRINGS

"Emigrant Springs campsite on California Emigrant Trail."

Marker C-22


CHICKEN SPRINGS

"Road passes over some low hills into Thousand Springs Valley." - James Shepherd, July 13, 1850


No electronic access to this diary is available. It may be found in libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) or rare book collections.

Marker C-23


THOUSAND SPRINGS VALLEY

"Left the creek [Rock Springs Creek] and crossing a low point we camped on a creek [Thousand Springs Creek] that joins the former at right angles." - Byron McKinstry, August 7, 1850


Byron's diary is not currently available in digital form but may be available in libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) and from rare book dealers. You can learn more about his story in the Byron McKinstry Plaza Tour.

Excerpt from McKinstry's diary

Marker C-24


THOUSAND SPRINGS CREEK

"We came to some stinking water in pools in the bed of a small creek whose direction is towards us if it ever has any current. We continued up this ... valley, to a narrow part and camped - having rather bad water." - Elijah Preston Howell, August 4, 1849


No electronic access is available for this diary. It is held in the collections of The State Historical Society of Missouri and also in some libraries (including the research library of the CTIC) and rare book dealers.

Marker C-25


HOT AND COLD SPRINGS

"We ... came to springs that were boiling hot. Only five feet from them was another as cold as ice. Here were men engaged in washing their clothing." - Margaret Frink, July 21, 1850


Margaret's diary can be viewed at Hathitrust Digital Library. It is also reprinted in the Covered Wagon Women series of books (Volume 2, or "Best of" Volume 1) which may be available for purchase in the CTIC gift shop.


You might also be interested in exploring Margaret's diary in our plaza tour.

Marker C-26


HUMBOLDT DIVIDE

"From 1843 on, the emigrant trail came through Thousand Springs Valley, passed over the dividing ridge southeast of this marker, and forked. One fork went west along Bishop Creek. The other south to Humboldt Wells. Both rejoined at the Humboldt River."

Marker C-27


WEST BRUSH CREEK DRAW

"There is water in several places up the glen, and appearances of good grass, but it is very bare at present." - Joseph Middleton, August 31, 1849


Joseph's papers are held in the collection of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. No electronic access is available at this time.

Marker C-27A


FORK TO HUMBOLDT RIVER

"Came over a long summit ... decended into a vally and in a short distance came to the fork of the two roads the right leading through the kanyon ... the left [to Humboldt Wells] ... affording a better road." - Caroline L. Richardson, August 9, 1852


Caroline's diary is in the collection of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. No electronic access is available.

Marker C-28


BISHOP CREEK ROUTE

"Soon the road enters a canyon & follows it for 4 or 5 miles. This is the ruffist & most rugged canyon that we have passed." - Charles Cummings, August 10, 1859


Charles J. Cummings' diary is held in the collections of the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts at Yale University. His diary is also included in a set of three documents available from the OCTA Journal website.

Marker C-28A


HUMBOLDT WELLS ROUTE

"At the right [on the Humboldt Wells Route] about 200 yards is a fine spring [Town Creek Spring]. Good grass & sage for fuel. The emigration seems to be hurrying on to reach the Humboldt River." - Jotham Newton, August 3, 1853


Newton's papers are held in the collections of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. No electronic access is currently available.