Saturday 05/18/2019    
10:00 am-4:00 pm


California Trail Interpretive Center
1 Trail Center Way, Elko, NV, 89801

Event Type

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Td Gif 500 X 375

The California Trail Interpretive Center will present the 16th annual pioneer reenactment, California Trail Days, on May 18-19, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The family friendly event is free and open to everyone.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the pioneer encampment and Shoshone summer camp. Young visitors can learn how to shoot a bow, pan for gold, play pioneer games, and much more.

Program Schedule

Saturday, May 18


10:00 a.m.: Mysteries of the Plaza Tour

The plaza in front of the California Trail Interpretive Center holds many secrets left behind by its designers. Did you know that the plaza represents a giant map of the West? Former California Trail Interpretive Center Manager Dave Jamiel will reveal the many unique design features of the plaza during this guided tour.

11:00 a.m., South Fork Room: Lessons Learned:  From the California Trail in Nevada, to Paradise, California

Last September, teacher and living historian Dave Vixie and his students, from Paradise, Calif., took a modern day trip on the California Trail in northeast Nevada. For five days, they lived like pioneers:  They wore pioneer clothes, and walked beside wagons as they endured the heat and dust of the Trail.

But then in November, tragedy struck Paradise and nearby communities, as the most destructive wildfire in California’s history devastated the area. Vixie and his students will share their experience of walking in the footsteps of California Trail emigrants in Nevada. Then they will discuss the lessons they learned from the Trail, and how these lessons help them cope and rebuild following the catastrophic wildfire.

12:00 p.m., Lobby: The Anatomy of a Wagon:  How a Wagon Works

Wagons were indispensable for thousands of emigrants. Join Frank Tortorich to learn how a wagon works. Tortorich is a historian, author, and member of the California Trail Heritage Alliance.

1:00 p.m., South Fork Room: Ten Thousand Faceless Workers of the Transcontinental Railroad: The Chinese Workers

From the first use of a small group of Chinese workers on the Central Pacific Railroad to the peak of nearly 10,000, this single group provided the majority of the construction force. Chis Merritt will discuss the contributions of the Chinese to the Transcontinental Railroad. Merritt is the deputy state historic preservation officer for the Utah Division of State History.

2:00 p.m., Shoshone Summer Camp:  Eagle Warriors Youth Drum

The Eagle Warriors Youth Drum is a singing and drumming group from Owyhee Combined School in Owyhee, Nevada.


3:00 p.m., South Fork Room: Avoiding the Donner Route: The Nobles and Lassen Trails

Join Ken Johnston and learn how the Donner Tragedy motivated Peter Lassen to establish his trails into northern California. Presenter Ken Johnston is a retired park ranger with the National Park Service, educator, and author of “Legendary Truths, Peter Lassen and His Gold Rush Trail in Fact and Fable.”

7:00 p.m., Pioneer Dance

Learn traditional and pioneer dances, and enjoy live music by Southwind.

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