A Photo Tour to California Via the
Photos copyright by Shann Rupp

In 1851, William Nobles discovered this route, which was first used by emigrants in 1852.  This easy wagon route ran off the Applegate/Lassen Trail from the Boiling Spring at Black Rock to Shasta City via Smoke Creek Desert and Lassen Peak.  A shortcut came into use in 1856 which by-passed the Boiling Spring at Black Rock, heading southwest shortly after Rabbit Hole Springs.

Trego Hot Springs

"It was night when I saw the springs and therefore could not have a good view of them although I had the sense of feeling and the water one could keep warm [in] comfortably especially if he should be fortunate enough to tumble into the seething cauldron for I could compare it to nothing else..."  -- Mary C. Fish, 1860

Wall Springs

"When in the center of the plain, we were gratified by the sight of bushes and of green vegetation in the mountains we were approaching, indicating the position of springs and of small streams;..... We were here upon the Noble road, which follows the north shore of the lake by the Boiling springs."  -- Lt. Beckwith, 1854

Buffalo Springs in Distant Grove of Trees

"Got an early start and drove 20 miles to Buffalo Springs.  12 miles of the road was on the barren bottoms and as good as a level plank road."  -- Wm. Gregg McPherson, 1859

Lower Smoke Creek Meadows

Smoke Creek Canyon

Drove to Smoky creek, about 16 miles, a part of the road was hilly, rough and stony and some a very heavy sand."  -- William Gregg McPherson, 1859

Robbers Roost

"one [branch] up which we passed running through a narrow canyon we were compelled to pass over a hill rough with the fragments of basaltic rock which occur every where in this region."  -- J. R. Bradway, 1853

The trail then opened up into level land, and the next campsite was at Mud Springs.

"Drove  12 miles to Mud Springs.  Had to climb one mountain the rest of the road was good."  -- William Gregg McPherson - 1859

Penstamen Field Along Nobles Route

Blue Penstamen

Big Springs

"Immediately after leaving the valley, you enter open, but heavy pine woods - not unwelcome to the sun-scorched emigrant..."  -- John A. Dreibelbis, 1853

Nancy Allen Grave at Bridge Creek

Bridge Creek - Emigrant Campsite

Feather Lake

This was  an important camping and watering stop on the combined Lassen Trail, 1848, headed south, and Nobles Trail, 1852, headed north.

Snow Plant Near Feather Lake

Trails West Marker at Lassen Trail & Nobles Trail Junction.

Sign reads: "Passing 2 small lakes or ponds on the left [Feather Lake]...you come into the Lawson [trail] in about these lakes"  -- J. D. Randall, Aug 24, 1852

Butte Lake

"The small streams that rise on the buttes around and run down their sides, all sink, or form small lakes and marshes, there not being slope sufficient to run off their waters."  -- John A. Dreibelbis, 1853

Cinder Cone

"...the Black Butte, some 800 or 1,000 feet high.  It is conical from its base upwards for several hundred feet, and it terminated in a peak with a semi-sperical outline; and its whole surface, as black as the darkest iron ore, is covered with a coarse, pebbly sand, formed from its crumbling mass, which has so smoothed its surface that a pebble would roll from its summit uninterruptedly to its base..."  -- Lt. Beckwith, 1854

Mt. Lassen From the Cinder Cone

Manzanita Chute

"... a very steep rise conducted to a long, gently ascending slope, bare of trees, but covered with a dense growth of Manzanita bushes."  -- Williamson and Abbott, 1855

Mill Seat Creek

"Several mills are in successful operation in the vicinity, and others are being built."   -- Lt. Beckwith, 1854