James Beckwourth discovered what is now known as Beckwourth Pass in the spring of 1850, and immediately set about establishing a trail to Marysville. He worked on the trail in the summer and fall of 1850 and the spring of 1851, and in the late summer of that year led the first wagon train of settlers along the trail into Marysville.
The Beckwourth Trail was used heavily until about 1855, when the railroad supplanted the wagon train as the preferred method of travelling to California.
The Beckwourth Trail Rivers and Streams Modern Roads
Mouse along the Beckwourth Trail for expanded views. (NN 3 & 4 or IE 4 only.)
The trail left the California Trail from the Truckee River about where Reno, Nevada is now situated. The trail went north and west from there (roughtly along the route now followed by Highway 395), then turned west through the Beckwourth Pass.
In the valley west of the pass, Beckwourth established his ranch and trading post. The trail then went north and west along Grizzly Creek. From there it went west to American Valley (now Quincy), turned southwest past Buck's Lake and Mountain House, and on to Bidwell's Bar at the confluence of the three forks of the Feather River. Bidwell's Bar now lies under Lake Oroville. The trail then proceeded southward to Marysville.
The Beckwourth Trail did not follow the Feather River canyon, which is far more rugged terrain. The Oroville-Quincy Highway (which is gravel road for a stretch) follows the routh of the Beckwourth Trail fairly closely.
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