Pony Express Route
Map - 1862 - Pony Express Route California Nevada Utah Nebraska Territory - West Nebraska Territroy - East Kansas
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Source: Naval and Military Map of the United States - 1862
Pony Express and Telegraph Route

A distance of almost 2000 miles, the route of the Pony Express was brutally simple: west out of St. Joseph, the eastern portion of the route followed the Oregon Trail from Kansas through what is now Nebraska and Wyoming. The rider would pass by many of the landmarks then familiar to thousands of overland travelers.

Proceeding up the Little Blue River to Fort Kearney, the route then continued up the Platte River passing Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock, and Scotts Bluff to Fort Laramie; then along the Sweetwater River passing Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, and Split Rock, to Fort Caspar, through South Pass to Fort Bridger and Salt Lake City, across the Great Basin and Utah-Nevada Desert, skirting Lake Tahoe, over the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains into California as fast as man and horse could go, day and night. The entire trip of the Pony Express would be completed in 10 days cutting the time of mail and news delivery to the west coast by more than half. No wonder for all the excitement that it generated at the time!

The Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California , was 1840 miles in length. Upon arrival in Sacramento, the mail was placed on a steamer and continued down the Sacramento River to San Francisco for a total of 1966 miles. The Pony Express Trail went through the present states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California.

A point of trivia!

When the Pony Express started it only went through TWO states, Missouri and California, since the rest of the area was still territories: Nevada and Utah, Utah Territory; Wyoming, parts of Utah and Nebraska Territories; Nebraska and Colorado, Nebraska Territory; and Kansas, Kansas Territory.

When originally established, the western terminus of the Pony Express was Sacramento, where the mail was placed on a steamer for San Francisco. On a number of occasions, twice in 1860 and at least 18 more times in 1861, the Pony was routed overland between Sacramento and Oakland because of missed boat connections.

The overland route between Sacramento and Oakland, generally followed Interstates 80 and 680 between Sacramento and Benicia. The route passed through what is now the campus of the University of California, Davis, by the site of the abandoned Village of Silvey, through Vacaville, Fairfield, Rockville, Cordellia, and Benicia. After crossing by ferry from Benicia to Martinez, the route followed what is now Pacheco Boulevard, Contra Costa Boulevard by Sun Valley Shopping Center, North Main Street through Walnut Creek, Mount Diablo Boulevard through Lafayette, and over Fish Ranch Road to Oakland, down Telegraph Avenue ending at Jack London Square.

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