California Trail Interpretive Center

California Historic Trail Interpretive Center

Learn the stories of the pioneers who endured the 2,000 mile trek from Missouri to California, and the route that defines Nevada's history.


Elko, NV 89801

(775) 738-1849

The California Trail Center is not a museum, but it interprets the California Trail experience (1841-1869), its related themes, and provides educational and cultural enrichment to the general public. Through the interpretations, the Trail Center contributes to the appreciation and preservation of historic and cultural sites.

The Center is open five days per week (Wednesday through Sunday) and offers a variety of movies and programs on the Donner Party, the Gold Rush, Native Americans, the Forty Mile Desert, and more. There are easy hiking trails adjacent to the Center which offer views of the beautiful, rugged Ruby Mountains, the historic South Fork Canyon and the Humboldt River. Several portions of the trail are ADA compliant. The Center also has a great gift shop offering a variety of books, children’s gifts, apparel, candy, and other miscellaneous Trail-related items.

A great time to visit is during California Trail Days in May/June. Visit the 1850 Wagon Encampment and experience various musical performances, historic displays, special presentations, and fun for the whole family. Explore just what it was like to live and survive on the California Trail 170 years ago.

The California Trail Center is physically located just off I-80, at Hunter Exit 292, two miles north of the west end of the Hastings Cutoff (which made the Donner Party one of the most famous overland groups of all time) and two miles east of the Greenhorn Cutoff on the California Trail, eight miles west of Elko, Nevada.  


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