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The byway begins 25 miles north of Wells off U.S. 93 and traverses 96 miles of gravel roads in extreme northeastern Elko County. More than 40 miles of the route from the Winecup Ranch to Little Goose Creek parallels the California National Historic Trail. Trail ruts are visible in many locations. Trail markers along the route allow visitors an opportunity to walk the same path blazed by nearly 250,000 emigrants 150 years ago. An information kiosk four miles into the byway near the Winecup Ranch provides insight into the history of the area.

Lured by the promise of easy riches and fertile land, this historic emigrant trail was traversed by over 200,000 people migrating to California between 1840 and 1870. The trail winds through Elko County with significant sites high-lighted by historical markers. Wagon ruts can still be seen across parts of the trail. Guide books available at Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko.