Each June for the past 64 years, caravans of men, women and children have taken the six-day, 90 mile organized ride over Echo Summit at Highway 50 down to the West Slope, to get a taste of what many experienced when they made their pilgrimage from Nevada to California 160 years ago.
Yet for any minor conveniences, the Wagon Train tradition remains uniquely rich and authentic in its pioneering spirit as, arguably, any event of its kind in California. Horse-drawn carriages are mostly replicates of 1850s and 1860s travel wagons, complete with hard seats, and large spiny wooden wheels that are prone to cracking and splitting.
The Highway 50 Association's Wagon Train annual trek over the Sierra Nevada pass includes all the rugged Old West richness following behind. The annual re-enactment includes a dozen covered wagons, 75 horseback riders, two tons of hay and grain for the horses, not to mention several hundred pounds of beans, stew fixings, beef, pork, bacon, eggs and cowboy coffee for the riders.