Photo: Del Albright

As early as the 1840’s, farmers and gold seekers loaded their possessions, a few women, children, dogs and cats in covered wagons and began what would become an arduous journey toward the Pacific Ocean.  The trickle of emigrants beginning in 1841 would turn into hordes of dreamers after the discovery of gold in California in 1848.  The overland emigrant trek would take five to six months crossing mountains, deserts, rivers, and some of the most hostile country in the world.

Now SUV and other four-wheel drive owners can relieve the gold rush era as they travel the famous Lassen-Applegate Emigrant Trail, marveling as such sights as the beautiful Black Rock Desert, the majestic High Rock Canyon, Double Hot Springs, Soldier Meadows and so much more.

This exciting 200-mile journey begins on Friday, July 18 through Monday, July 21 and is hosted by the High Rock Trekkers Four-Wheel Drive Club.  The trip begins near Imlay, NV and followed the same wagon train route used by Peter Lassen in 1849.  The trip concludes in Surprise Valley, CA near Cedarville in Modoc County.  This was also an alternate route used by early pioneers to reach central Oregon.

“For me, this trail is very special and as a historian, I get to relive the past by thinking of John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, and Thomas “Brokenhand” Fitzpatrick and many other brave men and women as they made this difficult journey from small towns throughout the Midwest,” explained Warner Anderson, trail boss from the High Rock Trekkers.  Anderson said the trip is open to all four-wheel drive enthusiasts and their families. It is not a difficult route; however, there are a few places where four-wheel drive will be required or where trail committee instructions must be followed.

“The emigrants wrote in their diaries such good descriptions of their trip that we can identify the majority of key points of interest in the history of this route,”  Anderson said.

Camping the first night will be at Double Hot Springs, former camping area for all of the pioneer wagon trains and the second night participants will spend the evening at Stevens Camp, which provides toilets, spring water, and possible hot showers.  Participants will need to bring their own tents and sleeping bags.

Cost for the trip is $275 per adult, $150 for children seven through 14 and children under seven are welcome free of charge.  The cost includes all meals from breakfast on Saturday through breakfast on Monday.  In addition to tents and sleeping bags, participants are encouraged to bring a CB radio, camera, folding chairs, snacks, refreshments, and drinking water.

The trip in fully insured and operates under a permit from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Proceeds from the event help support the California Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs’ Conservation and Education Foundation.

The trip is limited to the first 25 vehicles on a first-registered, first-served basis.  To register for this exciting trail ride, contact Warner Anderson at (775) 629-9232 or or Ron Vance at (775) 246-4099 or  Registration is also available online at


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