World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Forty Mile Desert

Article Id: WHEBN0016316077
Reproduction Date:

Title: Forty Mile Desert  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Carson Sink, California Trail, List of North American Deserts, Interstate 80 in Nevada, U.S. Route 50 in Nevada, Nevada Historical Markers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Forty Mile Desert

Lahontan Valley
Humboldt Sink.
Country United States
State Nevada
Coordinates 34|0|N|118|50|0|W|type:landmark_region:US-NV name=


The Lahontan Valley is in Churchill County in the U.S. state of Nevada. The valley is a landform of the central portion of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan's lakebed of 20,000-9,000 years ago. The valley and the adjacent Carson Sink represent a small portion of the lake bed, and Humboldt Lake is to the valley's northeast (Pyramid Lake is west and Walker Lake is south). Aside from the city of Fallon, the railroad junction at Hazen, and the ghost town of Stillwater, the Lahontan Valley is mostly uninhabited desert. During the era of the California trail the Lahontan and adjacent valleys to the northwest were called the Forty Mile Desert.

Forty Mile Desert

The Forty Mile Desert is a California Gold Rush name for Nevada's Lahontan Valley and the adjoining area to the northwest. Emigrants following the California Trail west came into the Lahonton Valley via the Humboldt River. West of the river's end in the Humboldt Sink, the trail forked, with one branch leading towards the Carson River and the other towards the Truckee River.[1] Regardless of which route they took, the travelers would have to endure about 40 miles (64 km) of desert without usable water.[2] The Truckee route traversed the area starting at modern Lovelock, reaching the waters of the Truckee River near modern Wadsworth. This path is along a series of smaller valleys separated from the main part of the Lahontan Valley by the Hot Springs Mountains. Modern Interstate 80 closely approximates this path. The Carson route across the Lahontan Valley proceeds south from modern Lovelock towards an area west of modern Fallon called Ragtown, which had the last usable water on the Carson River.[3] The First Transcontinental Railroad (modern Overland Route) and U.S. Route 95 loosely follow the Carson route.

Per a state historical marker at a rest area at the junction of I-80 and US 95, the Forty Mile Desert was the most dreaded part of the California Trail. If possible, it was crossed at night. An 1850 survey counted 953 graves along this portion of the trail, along with thousands of animal skeletons and abandoned belongings of the desperate travelers.[2][4]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.