From 1841 to 1870 the California Emigrant Trail led through this canyon. Thousands of westward-bound dreamers, including in September 1846 the Reed-Donner Party, viewed this path through the mountains channeling the Humboldt River. Later the tracks of the Transcontinental Railroad, and then the asphalt of the Victory Highway ran alongside the river through the canyon. This route, old US 40, is now abandoned by both railway and highway, supplanted by a newer railroad route, and by I-80 a mile away.

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