Why Visit the California Trail Interpretive Center?

The California Trail experience was not just a formative period in the history of the United States; it is, arguably, the formative event in the development of the American personality and culture. The California Trail story is one of individuals and families making very personal decisions to leave their homes, perhaps never to return, and travel to an unknown place. The fact that we are here today and that the United States exists from Sea to Shining Sea is a testament to the success of these individuals and families.

How did these rugged individuals become so successful? They formed wagon trains, elected leaders, agreed on rules and regulations, and some even wrote constitutions. When the arrived in California, they formed mining and grazing associations and developed schools and churches. In short, they worked together cooperatively. It is this juxtaposition of rugged individualism and personal freedom with the spirit of cooperation and community responsibility that is so uniquely American. This is a story that all Americans should know and tell to the world.

What We Provide

  • Education programs that augment the Nevada State Education Standards
  • Hands-on and interactive learning
  • Life size dioramas
  • Listening stations where emigrant’s journals come alive
  • Accessible hiking trails
  • Wagon encampment
  • Shoshone summer camp