National Register of Historic Places in Placer County

Michigan Bluff-Last Chance Trailhead 26 February 2008
(Click Photos to Zoom)
National Register #92000854
Michigan Bluff-Last Chance Trail
Trailhead at Intersection of Michigan Bluff and Turkey Hill Roads
Michigan Bluff

The interpretive display reads in part:

Michigan Bluff-Last Chance Trail

The Michigan Bluff to Last Chance section of the Western States Trail was built in 1850 and later became a maintained toll-trail, perhaps one of only a few toll-trails in the state.

As early as 1850 pack-trains carried supplies down the trail connecting the mining camps of Michigan Bluff, Deadwood, and Last Chance. During this period these camps were dependent upon local freight companies who supplied the camps with foodstuffs, clothing, mining tools, drugs, and other supplies, particularly during the winter months, when access in and out of the camps was difficult. Supplies were brought in by large pack-trains of mules rather than by wagons which could not negotiate the circuitous narrow trail. By 1852 this trail was in full use and cut in half the time it took to reach Deadwood and Last Chance from the Foresthill Divide.

In California Place Names, Erwin Gudde notes that California has more than twenty places with Last Chance in their names, not counting saloons, bars, gas stations, diners, and fruit stands.

Placer County tradition holds that the miners who staked a claim here were out of food and down to their last bullet when they shot a deer.

The annual Western States Endurance Run, a one-hundred mile race along the Western States Trail from Squaw Valley to Auburn, takes place on the last Saturday of June. According to the WS100 website: the trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet)....From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850's, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.

The Western States Trail Ride is another popular event which has been held annually since 1955. Just east of Auburn, both of these events cross the Mountain Quarry Cement Bridge which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Michigan Bluff is California Historical Landmark 402.

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