U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
1849 & 1850
Several emigrant parties that included both whites and members of the Cherokee Nation journeyed to California in the first two years of the Gold Rush. Starting in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, they blazed the first wagon trails through the Rocky Mountains that didn't use South Pass.
The 1849 wagon trains chose a route across the Laramie Plains and the Red Desert that closely parallels present Interstate 80, connecting with the Oregon-California trail at the junction of Hams Fork and Blacks Fork rivers.
The 1850 parties pioneered a completely different route that hugged the Wyoming-Colorado border until reaching Fort Bridger. Some combination of both routes would be used to create Ben Holladay's Overland Trail in 1862.
The Cherokee Trails are not well marked. They involve private lands as well as National Forest and BLM public lands.