Nobles Emigrant Trail
The Nobles Trail, designated as part of the California National Historic Trail by Act of Congress in the 1992 Pony Express and California National Historic Trails Act, crosses the Eagle Lake Field Office.
The portion of the Nobles Trail within the field office, approximately 38 miles, is a cut off route from the Lassen Emigrant Trail, beginning at Rabbit Hole Spring, Nevada east of the Black Rock Desert and extending southwest along the Black Rock and Smoke Creek Deserts to Smoke Creek Canyon, then west to Susanville and Shasta City, west of Redding, California.
The Nobles Trail is managed as part of BLM's National Landscape Conservation System, an administrative designation that adds emphasis on management and protection of special areas such as nationally designated historic trails.
Trail preservation, including protection of physical trail traces and the surrounding landscapes, is strongly encouraged by the Oregon-California Trails Association and is called for in the Comprehensive Management Use Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement, prepared by the National Park Service.
In many areas where the Nobles Emigrant Trail is located, the surrounding landscapes remain largely undeveloped providing settings reminiscent of the historic landscapes. The undeveloped settings contribute to preserving the character of the trails as they appeared when experienced by pioneers, wagon road travelers and railroad travelers in the late 1890's and early 1900's.
Interested parties can view a trail marker placed on the east side of Highway 395 approximately 23 miles east of Susanville. This trail marker depicts approximately where the trail crossed the Viewland area and dropped down into the Honey Lake valley to the West. The location of the trail west of this marker has not been mapped. The trail east of the marker is located within ¼ of a mile east and south of the Smoke Creek Road. Much of the trail is actually drivable by 4-wheel drive vehicle but specific maps are needed. If you would like to try; then stop by the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office for help.
If you are interested in following the rough location of the trail; travel north on 395 approximately 1 mile from the trail marker and turn east (right) onto Smoke Creek Road. Travel East on Smoke Creek Road approximately 32 miles. The trail is located approximately ¼ mile south and east of the Smoke Creek Road for the entire distance. The landscape is very similar to that seen by the original emigrants. Turn north (left) on Sand Pass Road (Washoe County Road #7). The trail continues within ¼ mile on the south and east side of Sand Pass Road as it travels out of the field office and on into Nevada. The section of trail past the Old Heller Ranch is managed by BLM Nevada - Winnemucca Field Office.
The Nobles Emigrant Trail, and Smoke Creek Road, traverse many miles of rough, uninhabited country. Consider how the emigrants felt as they traveled the country in a covered wagon. Were they tough or what? Go prepared. Check your vehicle to ensure it is in good operating condition. Carry a spare tire and the appropriate equipment to change it as well as some basic tools. Ensure that you have extra water and food in addition to blankets and appropriate cloths for the weather.
Smoke Creek Road is a high-clearance vehicle gravel and dirt road where two-wheel-drive vehicles can operate, but small or large pickup trucks or utility vehicles are recommended. Smoke Creek Road is open year-round; however, wet weather closes it. The best months are from May to November.