Interesting facts about the california trail

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interesting facts about the california trail

So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812–1848 by Will Bagley

The story of America’s westward migration is a powerful blend of fact and fable. Over the course of three decades, almost a million eager fortune-hunters, pioneers, and visionaries transformed the face of a continent—and displaced its previous inhabitants. The people who made the long and perilous journey over the Oregon and California trails drove this swift and astonishing change. In this magisterial volume, Will Bagley tells why and how this massive emigration began.While many previous authors have told parts of this story, Bagley has recast it in its entirety for modern readers. Drawing on research he conducted for the National Park Service’s Long Distance Trails Office, he has woven a wealth of primary sources—personal letters and journals, government documents, newspaper reports, and folk accounts—into a compelling narrative that reinterprets the first years of overland migration.

Illustrated with photographs and historical maps, So Rugged and Mountainous is the first of a projected four-volume history, Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails. This sweeping series describes how the “Road across the Plains” transformed the American West and became an enduring part of its legacy. And by showing that overland emigration would not have been possible without the cooperation of Native peoples and tribes, it places American Indians at the center of trail history, not on its margins.
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California. Interesting Facts about California

If you've never visited us at the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, you might be asking yourself, "What is the California Trail?.
Will Bagley

9 Things You May Not Know About the Oregon Trail

The California Trail was the southern counterpart of the Oregon Trail. When first established, it followed the same route as the Oregon Trail's eastern section until Fort Hall in modern Idaho. At that point, it broke away and crossed desert and mountains to reach California. The first passage was made in by the Bidwell-Bartleson group. Dividing at Fort Hall, one group made for California with only a general idea that it was to the west. Encountering many obstacles, they abandoned their wagons before reaching California. Later immigrants had the choice of using the Humboldt Valley, which provided better access to water and grass that were essential for the travelers.

Oregon Trail pioneers pass through the sand hills, painting by William Henry Jackson. They also brought along preserved foods. There were more fatalities from the accidental discharge of guns than from confrontations with Indians. Up till , a hired trail guide was deemed to be essential to the success of a wagon train. After the trails became more defined and trail traffic became heavier, guides were no longer seen as a necessity. Commencement of the overland journey usually occurred during a five-week window from the last week of April through the end of May. If they left too early, there would be no grass for their animals to eat, if they left too late, they would get caught by the winter snow.

Robert Munkres, our resident historical expert, who compiled them from various sources. These trail facts may be downloaded for personal reading convenience or to be used in the classroom. For all other uses you must first obtain permission. Contact: Artist: William Henry Jackson. Other questions to ponder: How long did the trek take, on the average?

A map showing the westward trail from Missouri to Oregon. While most Oregon-bound emigrants traveled a route that passed by landmarks in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon, there was never just one set of wagon ruts leading west.
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How Long Was The California Trail?

California for Kids - US States Learning Video

It was most heavily used in the s, s, and s. The length of the wagon trail from the Missouri River to Sacramento, California was about 1, miles 3, km. It normally took four to six months to traverse the length of the California Trail with covered wagons pulled by oxen. About , pioneers, the most of any American emigration trail , used it to reach California before the transcontinental railroad in An alternate California Trail route overlapped the Mormon Trail all the way. The trail ended at several destination places mostly in the gold fields in the mountains of northern California. Most settled in California.

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So, where is the California Trail? And where did the California Trail start? Open from to , the California Trail brought emigrants from many locations in the East. Starting points varied, but most began somewhere along the Missouri River and ran parallel with the Oregon Trail, heading west. One such cutoff led to the tragic events of the infamous Donner party.


  1. Waycredfitre says:

    California Trail - Wikipedia

  2. Kurt O. says:

    After it was established, the first half of the California Trail followed the same corridor of networked river valley trails as the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail , namely the valleys of the Platte , North Platte , and Sweetwater rivers to Wyoming.

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