California National Historic Trail

The California NHT Triangular trail sign features a brown yolk used to secure oxen to a wooden cart against a yellow background


Established: August 3, 1992
Managing Nonprofit: Oregon-California Trails Association
Managing Agency: National Park Service


A map of the California NHT showing the varied course of the route across ten states, from Missouri and Iowa, westward to California and Oregon

Map of the California NHT courtesy of NPS.

The California National Historic Trail follows in the footsteps (and wagon ruts) of more than 250,000 emigrants who made their way across the continental United States during the 1840s and 1850s in search of riches during the California Gold Rush that began in 1848, or looking for land they could settle in order to start anew.

Eastern Terminus: 4 locations along the Missouri River in Missouri and Iowa .

Western Terminus: Several location in Central and Northern California, as well as Eugene and Portland Oregon.

The California Trail runs more than 5,000 miles through ten states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.