California Trail Interpretive Center

Spanning nearly 2,000 miles from portions of Missouri and the Iowa/Nebraska border to Northern California, the California Trail was one of the main routes taken by emigrants in search of a better life out West during the 1800s. The hardships pioneers endured along the four- to six-month journey are chronicled in Elko’s California Trail Interpretive Center in the form of exhibits, artifacts and more.

Visitors to the California Trail Interpretive Center experience:

  • hands-on, interactive learning exhibits,
  • life-sized dioramas,
  • hiking trails,
  • a Donner Party-era pioneer wagon encampment,
  • and a Shoshone summer camp, a nod to Elko’s reputation as a Native American cultural hub.

Pro tip: don’t miss the massive bronze elephant sculpture inside the museum!

Hike Through History

Hikers will enjoy the 4,500 feet of trails located next to the museum, where awe-inspiring views of the nearby Ruby Mountains provide many picture-worthy moments. All trails are ADA compliant. Finally, the museum’s plaza serves as tribute to both the pioneer journey and Nevada’s geological wonders all in one place. It’s a can’t-miss outdoor experience.

Visit the California Trail Interpretive Center

Located at 1 Interpretive Center Way, the center is found at the junction of the infamous Hastings Cutoff and the California Trail eight miles west of Elko on I-80 at Hunter Exit 292. An on-site gift shop sells water, candy, souvenirs, books, clothing and more.

For more information on the California Trail Interpretive Center: