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Home > History > California Trail - Sierra Nevada Range

California Trail - Sierra Nevada Range

This is the eighth stop on the tour of the California Trail.
Sierra Nevada Range

Sierra Nevada Range

The Last Obstacle

The Sierra Nevada Range is almost entirely within California. Only a small section of the range lies in western Nevada, next to the Great Basin. Three national parks are contained within the range, as is Lake Tahoe, one of the most popular tourist resorts in California. The rugged Sierra Nevada range was the last obstacle for westward travelers on the California Trail. It was here, in November of 1846, where the Donner’s and other families (collectively known as the Donner Party) became stranded high in the mountains after a major snowfall blocked their path. Unable to travel past snow drifts that rose 5-10 feet high, the travelers quickly ran out of food, forcing some to resort to cannibalism after members of the party had starved to death. Of the 87 people originally with the party, 48 survived and made it to their final destination.

Next Stop: Sutter's Fort

California Trail Map

California Trail Stops

Great Plains
Chimney Rock
Fort Laramie
Rocky Mountains
Fort Hall
Great Basin
Sierra Nevada Range
Sutter's Fort


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