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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Elko in Elko County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The End of the Hastings Cutoff

 
 
The End of the Hastings Cutoff Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
1. The End of the Hastings Cutoff Marker
Inscription. Across the valley you can see the canyon of the South Fork River, a major tributary to the Humboldt River. This portal is also the western end of the infamous Hastings Cutoff, which rejoined the main California Trail not far from the California Trail Center.

Lansford W. Hastings was an early entrepreneur who thought he had found a shorter route to California, claiming that his "cutoff" would save emigrants 400 miles and several days of travel. He promoted this route with an Emigrant Guide. Although he had not actually traveled the route, he persuaded a number of 1846 emigrants to travel with him, leaving the established California Trail at Fort Bridger, Wyoming.

Hastings and his initial group ran into difficulties almost from the start. First, they had to find their way west through the punishing geographical maze of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, and then endure 80 miles without water across the desert and salt flats west of the Great Salt Lake. This was followed by the high desert of eastern Nevada and a long detour around the Ruby Mountains. After these hardships, they had to travel through South Fork Canyon, making 14 crossings of the river before they could rejoin the California Trail.

The Donner-Reed party of 1846 had also been persuaded to follow Hastings. After much travel and loss of livestock,
California Trail Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
2. California Trail Markers
At entrance to the California Emigrant Trail Interpretive Center
furniture, and wagons on the Salt Flats, they found upon rejoining the California Trail that they had actually added 125 miles to their journey. They also spent three additional weeks of travel time. Just a few days short of reaching the Sierra Nevada pass that would eventually be named for their group, the Donner-Reed party was trapped by an early snowstorm and suffered tragic consequences through the winter of 1846-47. Their tragedy put an end to travel on the Hastings Cutoff.

(Drawing Caption)
"Never take no cutoffs and hury along as fast you can."
Virginia Reed, in a letter to her cousin, May 16, 1847
 
Erected by Bureau of Land Management.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the California Trail marker series.
 
Location. 40° 46.026′ N, 115° 55.354′ W. Marker is near Elko, Nevada, in Elko County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 80 at milepost 292, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. To visit the marker, exit I-80 at Exit 292 (Hunter) and follow the directional signs to the California Emigrant Trail Interpretive Center; the marker is at the gated entrance to the Center. Marker is in this post office area: Elko NV 89801, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of
Canyon of the South Fork of the Humboldt River image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
3. Canyon of the South Fork of the Humboldt River
this marker, measured as the crow flies. About Your Journey ... (here, next to this marker); The Humboldt River Highway (here, next to this marker); The California Emigrant Trail Interpretive Center (here, next to this marker); Marking Time (a few steps from this marker); California Trail - Greenhorn Cutoff (a few steps from this marker); West End of Hastings Cutoff (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hoppe-Lienhard Wagon Group (approx. 0.2 miles away); Elko Airport (approx. 8.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elko.
 
Also see . . .  California Trail Interpretive Center Website. (Submitted on August 10, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.)
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 345 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.   3. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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