The mission of the California Trail Center is to interpret the California Trail experience, its related themes, and provide educational and cultural enrichment to the general public. Through interpretation the Trail Center will contribute to the appreciation and preservation of historic and cultural sites and, by forging strong community partnerships, and enhance sustainable tourism in the region.

Mountain Man Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith was born in New York in 1798 and would become the most extensively traveled mountain man in unknown […]

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Mountain Man FAQ

Mountain Men FAQ

What clothing did mountain men wear? Mountain men would often start off their trapping career in ordinary cotton pioneer clothes.  […]

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California Trail Mountain Man

Mountain Men

The California Trail Interpretative Center of Elko, Nevada is a fun, educational, and informative place to learn about the history […]

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Along the California Trail

Along the Trail

Native Americans, Mountain Men, and Pioneers lived, worked, traded, and traveled on the California Trail. Their stories are as varied […]

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Basin and Range Geology

Basin and Range Geology

If you’re driving to the California Trail Interpretive Center, you’ll notice the same thing the pioneers did more than a century […]

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City of Rocks Geology

City of Rocks

People have been continuously camping at the City of Rocks in Idaho for several thousand years, which is impressive in […]

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Independence Rock Geology

Independence Rock

Independence Rock, located in modern-day Wyoming, was the second big monolith the emigrants came across on their journey from the […]

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Chimney Rock Geology

Chimney Rock

You would think that the rocks along the California Trail would look exactly the same to us today as they […]

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Hike The Trails

Trail Geology

Discover the unique trail geology that guided early pioneers along the California Trail at the California Trail Interpretive Center in […]

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Grandkids Appreciating Our History

This article produced in partnership with TravelNevada. Immersion at the California Trail Interpretive Center We’re always overjoyed to have the […]

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Making History

Discovering and Making History

How the California Trail Center became part of our California Trail story This article produced in partnership with TravelNevada Exploring […]

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Pioneering Fun

Pioneering Fun on a Road Trip Stop

Educational fun at the California Interpretive Center This article produced in partnership with TravelNevada The warning bells of a backseat […]

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The Elephant

The Elephant

“I suppose,“ said Meek, that it comes from circus talk, like when you went to the circus folks’ll ask: ‘Well […]

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California Trail Center

The Plaza

This to-scale map of the Great Basin depicts the many trails pioneers took to cross the desert from Salt Lake […]

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View of the Ruby  Mountains and Hastings Cutoff in the background

Hike the Trails

Enjoy the easy hiking trails adjacent to the Trail Center, which offer spectacular views of the Ruby Mountains, the historic […]

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Gift Shop

California Trail Shop

The emigrants felt such relief and excitement upon entering John Sutter’s store at the end of their journey along the […]

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Original Art

Gain a greater understanding of the California Trail story through original sculptures, murals, and artwork. Learn more about the artists and […]

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Wagon Encampment

Encampments

Covered wagons, hand carts, and tents depict a typical pioneer encampment. Contrasted with this is the traditional Shoshone village. Learn about […]

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Foundation and Donations

Support the Trail Center

Donations The California Trail Interpretive Center encourages visitors to help support education and interpretation at the Trail Center. Through our partners, you […]

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Marking the Trail

Trail Management

Can I Visit the California Trail? Yes! Over the years most of the original California Trail has been obliterated. Interstate […]

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