Wagon Train & Trail

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The Wagon Train

“The Fearful Crossing” wagon train and trail ride aims to re-enact (without the death and starvation part!) the Westward Migration Experience through the most brutal and deadly stretch of the Old Pioneer Trail, the infamous "Forty Mile Desert" between modern-day Lovelock and Fallon, Nevada. We pick up The Old California Trail just outside Lovelock, Nevada, where the Humboldt River begins to sink into the desert. We then travel over "The Forty Mile Desert" between the Humboldt Sink & the Carson Sink - a desolate and unforgiving area with absolutely no potable water (but some tantalizing but deadly alkali and arsenic-laden pools).

The total trip is approximately 70+ miles, which we travel over 3 1/2 days.

Although camp is "primitive" we do have showers, which are SO refreshing after a dusty day on the trail, as well as clean outhouses.

Many friendships are formed along the trail and in camp - generally we aim to have just a great time for all participants.

train1  Gene Glascock coming into Fallon Cool Mules

What kind of wagon can you bring?            What do you have?

IF your rig has historical value, that's ideal. However, we realize that you may have some other type of rig, and that's fine, too. Wagons and carts with modern wheels and suspension are welcome, and we know the pioneers would have used them is they could have!

   covered wagon

Our Wagon Train travels the "Humboldt to Carson" branch of the California Trail

It is important to remember that well over a quarter of a million people risked all they had on this route, in an effort to better their lives and the lives of their family members. We should be a bit humbled as we travel over a trail that proved to be very difficult and in many cases impossible for them.

While we travel we will pass many unmarked and unknown graves. We may see items they lost or left behind along the way. Please remember that we want to leave this famous desert as we found it. We should not pick up items or damage anything as we pass.

For many families this desert is a holy place where family members were strengthened or lost forever.

Click to enlarge: The California Trail forked at about the spot where we camp on Day 2. Either way, you had a long stretch of desert ahead, before reaching a river with potable water. The Truckee Route went to the Truckee River and over the Sierras along what is now I-80. Our route roughly follows, or parellels, US-95 South to the Carson River at modern-day Fallon.
We will travel in comfort with supplies that they could only dream about.

Our trip will only last a few days... they spent many months on the trail. As we look at what was one of the most famous, or infamous, deserts that proved to be very deadly to both men, women and animals, we should try to remember the struggle they had in just getting to this place.

We must remember that they could only eat or drink what they had left on their wagon or pack animal, or what they could catch or kill.

We will have it much better, and at the end of our trip we will go home to our nice warm house with some great memories and new friendships. The pioneers, however, still had a long journey ahead of them, including crossing the High Sierras, and many more challenges. 

  - Bill Adams, Wagonmaster

Here's a GOOGLE Maps collage of satellite images of our route.
The yellow line is approximate, based on the webmaster's
(possibly inaccurate) attempt to locate landmarks.

Home | Wagon Train & Trail | NEW FOR 2011 | Wagon Master | Daily Route | Participate | Preparations | Fearful Crossing DVD | Photo Gallery | Links | Contact
Website by Nancy Kerson Outfitters 4 CyberSpace

Home | Wagon Train & Trail | NEW FOR 2011 | Wagon Master | Daily Route | Participate | Preparations | Fearful Crossing DVD | Photo Gallery | Links | Contact
Website by Nancy Kerson Outfitters 4 CyberSpace