The California Trail began along the Missouri River and ended at points in California, the Sierra Nevada and Oregon. It was used during the 1840s and 1850s and more than 250,000 farmers and gold seekers to the West Coast used the route. The trail passes through the states of Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and California.
The first to use the trail was John Bidwell, who led the Bidwell-Bartleson party in 1841. After gold was found in Sutter's Mill in Coloma, Calif., the numbers of emigrants drastically increased. The movement along the California Trail is considered the country's greatest mass migration. As of 2014, the California Trail system includes 5,665 miles and more than 300 historic sites.