Pony Express National Historic Trail

This article is an itinerary.

The Pony Express National Historic Trail is a United States National Historic Trail commemorating the mail service route through the Old West, between St. Joseph, Missouri and San Francisco, California, from April 3, 1860 to October 1861. It was an astonishing fact that a letter could be delivered across the 1,800 mile trail in only 10 days. Originally established in 1859 as the Leavenworth and Pike's Peak Express Company of 1859, in 1860 became the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell. As quickly as the young rider blazed a trail across half the continent, the technology replaced the ways of a horseback rider. The telegraph was able to do the same thing, faster and cheaper.


Travel along the Pony Express National Historic Trail is largely done for the historical understanding of the past, however, there can be many aspects your travels can take you to see. First is the obvious, the learning of the Pony Express. Second is the parallel stories of the Oregon Trail, California Trail, and Mormon Trail. Finally your travels will take you along some of the most breath taking scenery. This itinerary is focused on the Pony Express, but we will take tangents when they so necessitate.


First and foremost, get maps. The modern Interstate system does not take you along the trails, they are designed for speed and efficiency. The trail was designed for a different type efficiency. That efficiency was based around not recreating the wheel. As previously mentioned, three other trails go in the general direction, and the Pony Express used the routes already established to keep expenses low.

While traveling off of the interstate, keep your bearings about you. The worst that will happen along the majority of the trail is getting turned around and having to back track to get back the right way.

Get in


This itinerary discusses a route of travel from Missouri to California. It is the most logical is beginning in Missouri traveling towards the west.


There are so many things to do and see. Monuments and markers, museums and historic buildings dot the landscape across the trail.


Missouri is known for a couple of American Presidents. While here in Independence, you can see the home of President Harry S. Truman.

Saint Joseph



Parting of the Ways: end of the South Pass segment


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.