Truckee River (to Donner Lake)

The Truckee River Route (along with the Nevada City Road) is described in a Trails West guidebook which may be available for purchase in the CTIC gift shop or you can purchase it directly from Trails West on their website. They have an online photo tour along the Truckee River Route.

Marker T-1


FORKS OF THE TRAIL

"Continued along a slue to the foot of a small hill here the roads fork, the left had being the Carson rout. The right the Truckee ... bidding adieu to the Humboldt & sink passed up the hill to the right." - D.B. Andrews, August 4, 1852


Andrews' diary can be downloaded from the OCTA website.


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled HRR-12. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-HUMBOLDT RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. H.R.R. 12 - SITE OF LAST SULPHUROUS WATER ON WEST HUMBOLDT BRANCH ROAD SPLIT HERE FOR CARSON OR TRUCKEE ROUTES"

Marker T-2


HUMBOLDT BAR

"Got ... to the forks of the road; ... the right across the desert to Trucke River. We took the right ..., riseing over a high ridge covered with fragments of thin black rock, & then descending, one mile found us on a new bottom" - James P. Yager, August 28, 1863


Yager's diary was published in the Nevada Historical Society quarterly in six parts, from Spring 1970 to Summer 1971. This reference comes from the Winter 1970 edition.


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-1. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL FORTY MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE - STARTING POINT MARKER NO. T.R.R. 1 - DIKE OF OLD HUMBOLDT LAKE ON EDGE OF DESERT."

Marker T-3


FORTY MILE DESERT

"Long before sunrise our teams were on the trail marching forward on the desert very little to note save the dusty brightness of the glittering sand now & then a grave, little donage & dead stock" - John Clark of Virginia, August 21, 1852


John Clark's guide, from which this quote is taken, can be downloaded from the OCTA website.

Marker T-4


ALKALI PLAIN

"Passed over a dreary ... dusty alkaline road passed many cattle & mules which had given out & were dead or left to die - having had no sleep for some nights ... almost fell from my mule frequently" - William E. Chamberlain, August 5, 1849


The first part of Chamberlain's diary (through July 2) can be downloaded at the OCTA website, but it does not continue through this reference.


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-2. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 2 - WHITE PLAINS ALKALI FLAT - OLD C.P.R.R. ROADBED"

Marker T-5


NARROW AVENUE

"Piles and towers of rocks stand on the right & left as we neared the desent of a ridge. We then passed through a narrow avenue with low mountain ridges on both sides." - Augustus Ripley Burbank, August 31, 1849


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-3. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 3 - THE PASS FROM WHITE PLAINS TO HOT SPRINGS PLATEAU"

Marker T-6


NEARING BOILING SPRINGS

"We could see the steam arrising from the springs at the distance of five or six miles." - Edwin M. Primes, September 25, 1850


Marker T-7


NEARING BOILING SPRINGS

"Halted and took supper fed and watered our stock on the high dry desert as soon as supper was over we started on and intend to travel all night soon after starting we came to the great boiling spring" - John C. Thorniley, August 11, 1852

Marker T-8


BOILING SPRINGS

"Reached the hot spring ... this is the most dreary desolate looking place we ever saw. ... the water bubbles & boils up from the fissures in the rocks & forms into a small lake quite clear but so hot that it scalds." - Samuel J. Tutt, August 4, 1849


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-4. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 4 - THE BOILING SPRINGS LOCATED HERE WERE A LIFE SAVING MIRACLE OF THE DESERT"

Marker T-9


BAD WATER

"The exceptionally bad water of the sink and the water which I had drunk from the hot springs was beginning to show its effect upon me, causing sharp cramps in my stomach followed by continuous diarrhea." - Heinrich Lienhard, Sep 25, 1846



T.R.R. - 5


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 5 - TABLE MOUNTAIN POINT OF TRUCKEE RANGE"

Marker T-10


SAND RIDGE

"We are now seven miles from the Truckee River, but the road here becomes very sandy and heavy. After ... three miles the teams begin to give out. So we had to unhitch them ... and send them on to grass and water." - Eliza Ann McAuley, September 5, 1852


Eliza's diary is published in the Covered Wagon Women series of books (volume 4) and may be available for purchase in the CTIC gift shop.

Marker T-11


DEAD CATTLE

"There was deep sand for eight miles, and the road on both sides was strewn with dead cattle. A number in our train succumbed to the heavy travel and heat." - Helen Carpenter, September 16, 1857


Helen's diary can be downloaded from the OCTA website.


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-6. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 6 - TRAIL TURNING POINT AROUND PROMONTORY TO TRUCKEE RIVER"

Marker T-12


ACT OF MERCY

"I met an Indian with a little tin bucket containing about a gallon of water. He offered me a drink, but I refused, stating that there were men behind dying for water." - James William Evans, August 10, 1850


Evans' descriptions of his journey were published in the Missouri Historical Review, Volume 43 Issue 1, October 1948.

Use the button below to view the Wayside Exhibit about the Fernley Swales. The exhibit is located about 3/4 mile southeast of Marker T-12 adjacent to a Flying J Travel Center.

Marker T-13


TRUCKEE RIVER

"In the morning we struck Truckee River, beautiful, clear water and quite a large stream, a perfect godsend after the destitution and miserably unhealthy water we have had for hundreds of miles" - Marlett Foster Cummings, August 8 1852


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-7. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-40 MILE DESERT TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 7 - CAMPGROUND AND TRAIL CROSSING AT TRUCKEE RIVER"

Marker T-14


RIVER CROSSINGS

"Following up the Truckee, on a sandy road, in four miles an abrupt mountain shut out the valley, compelling us to cross the stream, which we found quite dangerous, because of the swift current and deep water." - John Steele, September 10, 1850


John's diary can be viewed on Hathitrust.


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-8. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 8 - TRAIL GENERALLY FOLLOWS RIVER FROM WADSWORTH TO RENO WITH NUMEROUS CROSSINGS"

Use the button below to view the Wadsworth Wayside Exhibit. The exhibit is located in the same rest area as Marker T-14.

Marker T-15


RED BLUFF

"The river here approaches a very high rock bluff ... leaving only room enough to admit of the passage of the team. Between the river on the left and high towering rocks on the right the road is ... very sideling." - D.B. Andrews, August 6, 1852


Andrews' diary can be downloaded from the OCTA website.

T.R.R. - 9


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 9 - EASTERN END OF LITTLE MEADOWS CAMPGROUND. ABANDONED C.P.R.R. ROADBED NEARBY."

T.R.R. - 10


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 10 - TRAIL LEFT RIVER TO PASS THROUGH THIS GAP TO BENCH AHEAD. ABANDONED C.P.R.R. IS ADJACENT"

Marker T-16


DESCENT TO 22ND CROSSING

"The road here winds up to the right, passes over some ledges of loose rock along the spur of the mountain & descends to the river down a steep & rocky descent." - Augustus Ripley Burbank, September 5, 1849

Marker T-17


RIVER CROSSING TO MEADOWS

"Road somewhat rough-fording ... after 22nd crossing we ascended and descended quite a steep hill and came on to grass valley [Truckee Meadows]. Crossed slough, traveled two miles and camped." - Edward J. Willis, August 21, 1849

Marker T-18


STEEP HILL TO MEADOWS

"Arose a steep hill about 20 rods. The descent of this hill at the top is very steep but clear of stone. In about 30 rods reached the bottom land along which we continued & emerged onto the Big Meadow" - D.B. Andrews, August 8, 1852


Andrews' diary can be downloaded from the OCTA website.

T.R.R. - 11


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 11 - JAMESON'S STATION. EMIGRANT TRADING POST. SITE OF FIRST SETTLEMENT IN TRUCKEE MEADOWS. - 1852"

Marker T-19


STEAMBOAT CREEK

"We came to the crossing of a miserable, deep slough, the bank of which was nearly perpendicular. Frightful enough to us it was, I assure you, but with our wagon box raised and our wheels locked, down we plunged." - Harriet S. Ward, September 28, 1853



T.R.R. - 12


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 12 - ORIGINAL TRAIL IN SAGE LEADING TO SLOUGH CROSSING, SPRINGS, AND MEADOWS CAMPGROUND."

Marker T-20 / B-1


NORTH SIDE OF RIVER

"Crossed to the north side of river, ... keeping on N. side of this crossing. The right hand road is the Beckworth Route, we keep up river fifteen miles here by taking [a new] dim road to the left and crossing the river twice." - Jacob O. Hays, August 30, 1854


Marker B-1 (Beckwourth Trail) is located on the reverse side of this rail marker.

T.R.R. - 13


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 13 - EMIGRANTS INCLUDING THE DONNER PARTY CAMPED IN THIS AREA TO REST AND REFRESH THEIR STOCK."

T.R.R. - 13A


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 13-A - TRUCKEE MEADOWS. THE CALIFORNIA BOUND EMIGRANTS RESTED HERE BEFORE ASCENDING THE SIERRAS TO THE WEST."

T.R.R. - 14


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 14 - TRAIL CROSSES TRUCKEE RIVER AT THIS POINT LEAVING VALLEY AND ENTERING RIVER CANYON."

Marker T-21


23RD CROSSING

"Came to another crossing of the river (here from the ... left flows down into the river one of the finest spring rivulets...). The 23d crossing... is quite difficult. Made so by the large round bolder rocks... in its bed." - Augustus Burbank, September 6, 1849



Marker T-22


RIVER CROSSINGS

"We crossed the river 3 times ... which has become almost a perfect torrent ... our men have had all kinds of sport at the crossings. The water sometimes taking them off their feet and rolling them over like a barrel." - James Godfrey, August 7, 1849

Nevada Historical Marker #62


This historical marker is located next to Marker T-22. The text on the marker is:


Native Americans settled for thousands of years in the Truckee Valley. Their camps were on these flats near the river. They used fish blinds near here and left petroglyphs on boulders in the area.


The Truckee River runs from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake, and was first discovered by Captain John C. Frémont in January 1844.


The Stephens-Murphy-Townsend party in 1844 also followed the Truckee River into the Sierra, and crossed the mountains via Donner Pass. Two years later, the ill-fated Donner party rested in the Truckee Meadows, at present Reno, but they tarried too long and were caught by the Sierra snows. Despite the Donner tragedy, many emigrant trains to California, particularly from 1849 until 1852, traversed the Truckee route.


In 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad followed the Truckee’s course. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the surrounding meadows echoed with the heavy exhausts of the giant Southern Pacific, cab-ahead, articulated, steam locomotives. During the same period, the Emigrant Trail, and the early toll roads, were developed into the Lincoln and Victory highways, and then into U.S. 40 and 1-80, today’s freeway.

T.R.R. - 15


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 15 - ORIGINAL TRAIL IN SAGE GENERALLY FOLLOWING RIVER TO VERDI AND A TURNOFF TO DOG VALLEY."

Marker T-23


LAST CROSSING

"Drove over a hill and came through a most beautiful pine forest to the [Truckee] river and crossed it for the last - 27th time. Camped on the opposite side by a spring." - Joseph Curtis Buffum, August 7, 1849


The first part of Buffum's diary (through South Pass) can be downloaded from the OCTA website. This version does not contain the segment along the Truckee River.

T.R.R. - 16


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 16 - TRAIL LEAVES RIVER IN THIS AREA AND ASCENDS WESTERLY ALONG CREEK BED TO DOG VALLEY."

Marker T-24


ROCKY RAVINE

"We took up the mountain side through a rough and rocky, but at first not very steep, ravine. Large pines, firs and cedars abound, ... some of which are fully six feet through." - Isaac J. Wistar, August 17, 1849

Marker T-25


PASSING THIRD ELEVATION

"Passed over two high elevations & passed to the north of the third & highest elevation. ... descending & passing through a very rocky ravine, we soon came to the mountain descent long & precipitateing." - Augustus Ripley Burbank, September 7, 1849

T.R.R. - 17


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 17 - EMIGRANT CAMPGROUND. TRAIL ASCENDS TO FIRST SUMMIT AND DESCENDS TO DOG VALLEY."

Marker T-26


DOG VALLEY DESCENT

"The trail wound up a long and difficult hill this morning [to first summit] and then led down a tremendous steep into a small valley where there was some grass and a fine cold spring." - Ansel James McCall, September 5, 1849

Marker T-27


DOG VALLEY CREEK

"We have now come over the mountain to a valey whare there is grass for the catle and now we stop to feede ... their is a small creek running here which answers for our use and for the catle" - Sarah Davis, October 8, 1850


Sarah's diary is held by, viewed, and downloaded from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It is also reprinted in the Covered Wagon Women Volume 2 book (her diary is not available in this preview) and may be for sale in the CTIC gift shop.

Marker T-28


TO SECOND SUMMIT

"After dinner [in Dog Valley] ascended a gradual rise of two miles to the top of the ridge [second summit] where we made for the firs, had a peep at the snowy mountains." - Cyrus C. Loveland, September 11, 1850

T.R.R. - 18


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 18 - SECOND SUMMIT. REACHED BY EMIGRANTS AFTER CLIMBING OUT OF DOG VALLEY. TRAIL CONTINUES WEST."

Marker T-29 / HP - 1


ROAD FORKS CLOSE TO CAMP

"Road forks close to camp. Right hand Downieville road, left hand Truckey road, took left hand. [In] 3 miles crossed little Truckey [River]" - Andrew Jackson Mothersead, September 13, 1855


The Henness Pass HP-1 Marker is on the other side of this T-Marker.

Marker T-30


LITTLE TRUCKEE CROSSING

"We came to and crossed a small but swift tributary of Truckies River [Little Truckee]. After crossing we ascended a long, rough hill. Kept on over rough road until ... we came to splendid feed in a valley." - Edward Harrow, August 20, 1849

T.R.R. - 19


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 19 - STAMPEDE VALLEY. TRAIL SECTION BETWEEN DOG VALLEY SUMMIT AND FIRST DONNER CAMP NEAR ALDER CREEK."

Marker T-31


RUSSEL VALLEY

"Came into pretty valley of grass where we encamped [Russel Valley]. ... very cold last night. Ice 3/8 in. thick. Left camp 5-1/2 o'clock. Traveled along little valley running S.W." - Edward J. Willis, August 23-24, 1849

Marker T-32


HEAVY TIMBER

"We travelled in a south course, over low hills and a rolling or undulating country, heavily timbered ... in the course of our day's march, we crossed a number of small branches, with green, grassy bottoms" - Edwin Bryant, August 25, 1846


Edwin's diary can be viewed and downloaded from the Library of Congress. You may also be interested in the Edwin Bryant diary tour of our outdoor plaza.

Marker T-33


TO PROSSER CREEK

"[In Russell Valley] This morning ice made 1/2 inch in thickness - overcoasts not at all out of place. ... In about 5 miles we made [Prosser creek] another branch of Truckee of considerable size" - T. J. Van Dorn, September 3, 1849

T.R.R. - 20


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 20 - DONNER CAMP AT ALDER CREEK. FIRST OF TWO TRAGIC CAMP SITES DURING WINTER OF 1846-47."

Marker T-34


PROSSER CREEK CROSSING

"We descended to a valley, crossed a beautiful mountain stream 10 feet wide [Prosser Creek] ... fair grass here. We passed a fine spring on 1/2 a mile & to the left. We ascended again" - Augustus Ripley Burbank, September 10, 1849

Marker T-35


MAGNIFICENT VIEW

"The road crossed a succession of ridges mantled with a dense pine forest, rising gradually as we neared the summit of the Sierra Nevada, whose snowy peaks rose in wild magnificence against the sky." - John Steele, September 15, 1850


John's diary can be viewed on Hathitrust.

Marker T-36


DESCENT TO TRUCKEE RIVER

"The road turned left, here, upon our left, distant some hundred yards from the road was Truckee River in all its glory again, splashing & dashing over the rocks." - Wakeman Bryarly, August 21, 1849


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

T.R.R. - 21


This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The marker reads

"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 21 - ALDER CREEK. TROUT CREEK TRAIL BETWEEN DONNER CAMPS AT ALDER CREEK AND DONNER LAKE."

Marker T-37


COLDSTREAM VALLEY

"Our road ... turns to the left for 1 mile then over a point of bluff & along a small valley [Coldstream Valley] ... for 2 miles where we commenced ascending the mountains which we found extremely rocky" - Justus Casner Lincoln, September 18, 1849


There is a plate on the reverse side of this marker labeled TRR-22. This was originally placed by the Nevada Emigrant Trail Marking Committee, Inc. (NETMC), the precursor to Trails West, Inc. The original marker read


"EMIGRANT TRAIL-TRUCKEE RIVER ROUTE MARKER NO. T.R.R. 22 - COLDSTREAM CANYON. THIS MOST USED COLDSTREAM PASS ROUTE WAS BLAZED BY CALEB GREENWOOD IN 1846"