California National Historic Trail (Nht), Bidwell-Bartelson Route

Bureau of Land Management, Utah.

The Bidwell-Bartelson Route of the California National Historic Trail was used by the first overland emigrant party to travel to California in 1841. At Fort Hall, near present-day Pocatello, Idaho, about half of the original party changed their plans and decided to take the easier trail to the Oregon territory. The remainder of the Bartleson-Bidwell party determined to continue to California and headed west along the north shore of the Great Salt Lake. The route was entirely unknown and water sources were scarce. Finally crossing the desert west of the lake near Wendover, Nevada, they were forced to abandon their wagons. Accompanied by their surviving animals, they eventually found their way through the Ruby Mountains to the Humboldt River and ascended the Sierra Nevada Mountains near the Walker River into California. Most of them were nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by the time they made it back to civilization.

Nearby Activities


Interstate 84, Exit 5 Curlew Junction, drive west on SR 30, turn southeast on Dove Creek Rd