California Trail

Many feeder branches of emigrant trails crossed the states of Iowa and Missouri.

The California Trail of about 3000 miles began near Kanesville, later named Council Bluffs, and Omaha, Nebraska.  Sections of the trail were discovered and developed by American Fur Traders like Kit Carson and Jebediah Smith.

To retrace a portion of the California Trail:

Getting across the Missouri River became easier mid-19th century by using steamboats and ferries to the Nebraska side of the river.

Trail Map

More Trails to Explore

Pioneer Trail

Follow along this trail and experience the arduous trek west for pioneers.

Wabash Trace Nature Trail

Take an amazing trip through Southwest Iowa, home to the Taco Ride.

West Nishnabotna River Water Trail

Float along this 27-mile water trail ideal for canoes, kayaks, and tubes.

Lewis and Clark Trail

Follow Lewis and Clark’s great journey west.

Freedom, Faith, and Fellowship: Historic County Churches Trail

Follow along the trail that illustrates the faith of our farming forefathers.

All Trails

Go back to our full list of trails!