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 80 runs over much of it, but there are still places where the trail remains untouched except by the forces of nature since the last wagon passed over them. Many of these trail remnants are on public land, so it is still possible to walk in the footsteps of the pioneers.

Is There a Way to View the Trail Without Venturing Into the Outback?

Yes!  The Humboldt High Roads, a trail preservation group, in cooperation with the State of Nevada has installed a series of California Trail wayside exhibits along the
I-80 corridor. Each wayside presents trail information relevant to that area and provides a map of all wayside locations.

What do I Need to Know?

Many of the remaining California Trail segments are in remote parts of the Northern Nevada desert. Access is on un-maintained roads winding into remote areas with no services, limited cell phone coverage, and little, if any, traffic. Road conditions change with the weather and time of year. Good map reading skills are essential to locate the trail and to avoid trespassing on private land. Be prepared for desert conditions when driving in the back country or hiking the trial. Have plenty of water (at least 1 gallon per person), food, sunscreen, hat, sun glasses, and a first aid kit.

What Can I do to Protect the California Trail?

Follow the California Trial Etiquette:

  • Refrain from driving on the trail
  • Walk side by side. This will preserve the historic width of the trail
  • Take only pictures. Please leave any artifacts where they lie

Get Involved!
Threats to the Trail are many. Remains of the Trail are lost every year often because those causing the damage are unaware of the historic significance of what they are destroying. Become and advocate for historic trail preservation; future generations will thank you!

Trails West and the Oregon-California Trail Association are two national organizations dedicated to marking and preserving historic trails and their stories.