Hayward's United States Gazetteer

Routes to California and Oregon


From New York to San Juan del Norte, at the mouth of the San Juan River, otherwise called Greytown, is 2000 miles. From New Orleans the distance is about 1400 miles. There is a good pier at Greytown, at which passengers can land without trouble, or they can pass directly into the river steamers, which ascend 52 miles to the Castillian Rapids. Here is a short portage of about 300 yards, the rapids not admitting the passage of steamers. Above the rapids to San Carlos, at the head of the river, is 27 miles. Thence across Lake Nicaragua to Virgin Bay is 42 miles. From Virgin Bay to San Juan del Sud. On the Pacific Ocean, is a land journey of 13 miles, to facilitate which a plank road has been constructed. The Transit Company have now on the river and lake seven small steamers, and others building, and the passage of the Isthmus, 135 miles in the whole, is accomplished in about 40 hours,--a time which will be considerably diminished when the new boats are ready. From San Juan del Sud to San Francisco is about 2800 miles, making the whole distance from New York about 5000 miles. This is accomplished in from 22 to 28 days, being the shortest and most expeditious route to California. Steamers by this route leave New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco once a fornight, on the 1st and 15th of each month.


From New York to Aspinwall or Navy Bay, a few miles eastward of Chagres, via Kingston, Jamaica, (the mail route,) is about 2300 miles. Via Havana the distance is about 2400 miles. From New Orleans to Aspinwall is 1400 miles, or via Havana, 1650. A fine pier has been constructed at Aspinwall, to which the steamers come, the passengers and freight being placed directly in the cars of the raiload which is to extend to Panama, 49 miles. About 30 miles of the road are already finished, and the whole will be by the spring’of 1853. From Panama, touching at Acapulco, San Diego, and Monterey, the distance is 3400 miles, making the entire route from New York to San Francisco. Via Kingston, 5750 miles, or via Havana, 5850. First class steamers employed on this route leave New York, New Orleans, and San :Francisco on the 5th and 20th of each mouth. Time, from 25 to 30 days. From San Francisco to Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, {distance 700 miles,) there is a semi-monthly mail steamer


From New York to California, via Cape Horn, is about 14,700 miles. This distance is made by clipper ships in from 100 to 130 days. Ordinary merchant ships are from one to two months longer.

The expense by all these routes for first class passengers is from $250 to $350 each ; steerage passengers $150 to $200.


There are two principal starting-places for this route, St. Joseph, Mo., a few miles above Fort Leavenworth, and Council Bluffs, a short distance N. of the entrance of the Platte into the Missouri. The road from Council Bluffs for 800 miles up the N. side of Platte River is the best natural one in the world. The elevation is less than 12 feet to the mile. The water coming from the high lands is fresh and cool. Grass is abundant, and on the river bottom two weeks earlier than on the route over the plains from St. Joseph, on the other side of the river. Timber, "buffalo chips," and mineral coal are found sufficient to supply travellers. The large amount of travel to California, Oregon, and Utah makes it a great national thoroughfare. Over 100,000 souls have already travelled this road since the discovery of gold in California. The passage from Council Bluffs can be safely made, with wagons drawn by mules or oxen, in from 60 to 90 days, at an expense of not over $100 for each passenger. If emigrants conduct themselves properly, no danger need be feared from any Indian tribes through which the road passes. All necessary outfits and supplies can be had at Kanesville and Council Bluffs. An accurate General Directory has been published by J. H. Colton, 86 Cedar Street, New York, and a Mormon Guide, by Mr. Clayton, which will give the emigrant all necessary information. The forts of the American Fur Company and of the United States are usually prepared to render any aid needed by travellers. Aid has also been furnished at the California end of the route at the expense of the state of California.

Buffalo Creek, 239239
Ptah Lake, 29268
Last Timber,38306
North Bluff Creek, 19325
Wolf Springs,18348
Duck Creek, 7350
Lone Tree,30380
Ancient Bluff Ruins,44424
Chimney Rock,21445
Scott's Bluffs, Capitol Hills,23468
Raw Hide Creek,41509
Platte River Ferry,11520
Miller's Peak,51573
Graystone Bluff,30603
Sandstone Bluff,9612
River Fourche Boisse,15627
Avenue Rock,64691
Willow Springs,9700
Devil's Gate,6727
Ice Springs,45772
Three Lakes,23795
Quaking Asp CreelS,8803
SOUTH PAss,20823
Big Sandy Creek,8855
Clay Mound,3858
Green River,47905
Lost River,14919
Quaking Asp Grove,40959
Fort Bridger Road,12971
Two Bluffs,8979
Cold Spring,12991
Bear River,161007
Same, via Fort Bridget Road:631034
Deep Creek,51012
Indian Creek121024
Beer or Soda Spring,201044
Or, via Salt Lake, City, 1074
Head of Humboldt River,2791329
Sink of Humboldt River,3311660
Summit of Sierra Nevada,2111871
Sacramento City,1402011
San Francisco,1502161
Big Sandy to Green River, without water, 49
From Big Sandy to Green River, without grass, 53
From a point on Humboldt River to a point on the same, without either,28
From Sink of Humboldt River to Carson River, without either,69
From a point on Carson River, to a point on the same, without either,26
Same as above to East Junction of Salt Lake Road, 847
Junction to Fort Bridger,111958
Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City,1131071
Salt Lake City to West Junction of California Road,1761247
Same as above to Junction of Oregon Road, 1050
Or, via Salt Lake City, 1074
Fort Hall,491099
Pannack River,121111
American Fails,101121
Raft River,191140
Rock Creek,781218
Chute or Salmon Fail River,281246
Crossing Snake River,401286
Fort Boisse,1301416
Malheur River,291445
Burnt River,431488
Powder River,401528
GRAND RoNDE,281556
Blue Mountains,171593
Walla-Walla, on Columbia River,781651
Umatillah River,251676
John Day's River,701746
Falls River,201766
Dalles of the Columbia,201786
Fort Vancouver,531890
Council Bluffs,about900
Fort Laramie,4100
South Pass,7100
Fort Bridget,4500
Salt Lake City,4100
From Salt Lake City to Sink of Carson's River,4000 to 5000
Summit of Sierra Nevada,7200

N. B. The distances from St. Joseph are about 128 miles greater. The distance of Council Bluffs from New York, via Chicago, Dubuque, Galena, Cedar Rapids, and Fort Des Moines, is 1511 miles.

Transcribed from pages 851-852 of Hayward's United States Gazetteer 1953

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