Nevada Historic Markers in Elko County: West End of Hastings Cutoff
Nevada Historical Marker 3
West End of Hastings Cutoff
I-80 Exit 292
Across the Humboldt Valley southward from this point, a deeply incised canyon is seen opening into the valley. Through that canyon along the South Fork of the Humboldt ran the disaster-laden route called the Hastings Cutoff. It joined the regular Fort Hall route running on both sides of the Humboldt here.
The canyon was first traversed in 1841 by the Bartleson-Bidwell Party, the earliest organized California emigrant group. In 1846 Lansford Hastings guided a party through this defile of the South Fork and out along the Humboldt. The ill-fated Reed Donner Party followed later the same year.
By 1850 the dangers of the cutoff route were recognized and it was abandoned.
Nevada Centennial Marker No. 3