Peter Lassen, leading a group of 12 wagons, pioneered this trail in 1848 from the Applegate Emigrant Trail at Goose Lake. The new Lassen Emigrant Trail was touted as a shorter and easier trail than the Applegate to head south to the gold mining towns of California. This was not true. The Lassen Emigrant Trail was actually 200 miles longer, which many pioneers found out the hard way.
In 1849 more than twenty-thousand pioneers left the east to follow the Lassen Emigrant Trail. The settlers approaching the Black Rock Desert in the late summer found a dry, desolate, wasteland. There was no water or feed for livestock, and many pioneers and livestock perished in this miserable portion of the trail. Names such as Bloody Point and the Descent into Goose Lake conjure up events of the past and are still in place today.
The historical monument shown here marks a route popular with 49ers on their way to the gold fields of the Sacramento Valley. There are a number of marked sites along Highway 395/299 where you'll find more information, and you'll be able to retrace the Lassen Party's descent into Goose Lake and California. The views are spectacular.