Hastings Cutoff

Raft River to Humboldt Sink

Hastings Cutoff

The Hastings Cutoff was opened to travel by Lansford Hastings in 1846. It was promoted to save up to 400 miles in going to California.

From Pilot Peak/Donner Springs, the Hastings Cutoff traveled into present day Nevada. Hastings took the wagons from one spring to another to the Ruby Mountains He traveled south through the Ruby Valley and crossed the Ruby Mountains at Overland Pass. Next he turned north along Huntington Creek drainage and eventually went through the South Fork Humboldt River canyon, connecting with the California Trail west of present day Elko, Nevada.

Portions of the Hasting Cutoff in Nevada where traveled by the 1841 Bidwell-Bartleson Party to find an overland wagon route to California and the 1845 Fremont Expedition (Talbot-Walker Party)

The 1846 parties that traveled the Cutoff were, the Bryant-Russell pack party, Harlan-Young party of 40 wagons, another 20 wagons of the loosely organized Hoppe company, and the ill fated Donner-Reed wagon train.

Even after the Donner Party tragedy, memories were short when it came to the gold rush. The Hastings Cutoff was used in 1849 and in 1850 as a relatively large number of gold seekers took their chances on the cutoff, usually with disappointment at finding out that they had actually lengthened their travel time to the gold fields.

After the 1850 surge of gold seekers, the word was out on the hardships and the additional travel time on taking this route.

Thanks to Kevin Lee for the above information.