NoeHill Travels in the American West: Nevada

Points of Historic Interest in Washoe County

Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park Near Verdi 28 February 2008
The park before the markers were erected
Points of Historic Interest in Washoe County: Truckee/Donner Trail 18 March 2016
(Click Photos to Zoom)
Truckee/Donner Trail
Henness Pass Road (Dog Valley Road) at the California/Nevada Border
Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park
Near Verdi

Truckee/Donner Trail

In 1844 the Townsend-Stephens-Murphy Party became the first wagon train to reach California over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Their rugged route through the Truckee River Canyon was hazardous to the pioneers and their animals, so in 1845 mountain man Caleb Greenwood blazed an alternate trail north of the river. It runs from what is now Verdi, Nevada, past Dog Valley and on to Donner Lake.

This trail was later used by the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846 and by Gold Rush pioneers after 1848 and is marked on either side of Dog Valley Road, west of this marker. In the terrible winter of 1846-47, the Donner Party was entrapped by a series of snowstorms at what is now Donner Lake and at a campsite at Alder Creek. Of the 81 men, women, and children at the high camps only 46 reached their destination in the California settlements. Some survivors resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.

Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park has four interpretive markers in addition to the Truckee/Donner Trail marker: Overview, California/Nevada Boundary Marker, Henness Pass Road and the Town of Crystal Peak.

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