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The Henness Pass Road - The Forgotten Highway
Sacramento Jeepers, Inc. will host the
5th Annual Henness Pass
from Marysville, California to Virginia City, Nevada
on September 18 and 19, 2004.
Sacramento Jeepers, Inc. announced that it will host the
scenic Henness Pass Road four-wheel drive trip, from Marysville,
California to Virginia City, Nevada.
According to Warner Anderson, noted Sierra historian and narrator for the trip, the Henness Pass
Road trip is ideally suited for Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) owners and is a
mild, historical four-wheel drive trip designed especially for families. The Henness Pass Road was one of the most heavily traveled routes in its day but
has virtually disappeared from most modern maps.
The historic road stretches from near Verdi in the then-Territory of Utah
(later to become the Territory of Nevada), over the Sierra Nevada via Webber
Lake, over the Henness Pass, down the ridge between the north and middle forks
of the Yuba River to its junction with routes into Yuba and Nevada Counties.
“We will be
making many stops on this trip to provide our participants with a full
appreciation of what was going on in the early 1850’s along a road route
believed to have been designed by Patrick Henness,” said Anderson.
“By mid 1859, silver was discovered near Reno and the exodus of miners
from California to the big Silver Bonanza was on.
Henness Pass Road, with its easy grades and established mining camps and
stage stops along the way, became one of the more popular routes to the
Anderson said some of the more popular stops along the way will include Mountain House,
former stage stop and inn, where there was once a three-storied structure with
16 lodging rooms; Henness Pass, approximately 6,900
feet above sea level, where Patrick
Henness sold hay from Jackson Meadows; and Sardine House, former location of a
hotel, and barn, along with a 1,500 acre ranch in the Sardine Valley.
“We really want to encourage SUV owners to consider bringing the entire
family on this exciting two-day adventure,” Anderson said.
“This trail not only affords breathtaking scenery, but we know everyone
will have an opportunity to learn a great deal about the Comstock Connection.”
Many routes to California were established during the
California gold rush. Once the Mother Lode had given up her easy gold, those
miners began to backtrack the Emigrant Trail in search of other deposits of gold
The1859 rush to the Nevada Comstock began
another era as miners rushed from California to Nevada. One of those routes
used, second only in use and fame to the Placerville Road was the Henness Pass
Road. Founded during the California gold rush, the Henness Pass Road was one of
the most heavily traveled routes in its day but has virtually disappeared from
most modern maps. The Henness Pass Road stretches from near Verdi in the
then-Territory of Utah (later to become the Territory of Nevada), over the
Sierra Nevada Mountains via Webber Lake, over 6,900 feet Henness Pass, down the ridge
between the North and Middle forks of the Yuba River to its junction with routes
into Yuba and Nevada counties. Come explore this forgotten road with it's
breathtaking scenery, weathered ghost towns, mine ruins and abandoned camps to
see what many others had seen after 1850 on the original trail of the Henness
Sacramento Jeepers, Inc. is sponsoring
this historic run over the Henness Pass Road. This event is specifically
designed as an overnight outing for SUV owners looking for a scenic drive
through the Sierras with some mild four-wheeling and learning about some of
California's transportation history. This two-day trip begins in Marysville,
California and concludes in Virginia City, Nevada.
Oregon Creek covered bridge, was constructed by hand in 1871. It is
over 100 feet long and is still drivable today. It linked many historic Mining
communities, via the Henness Pass Road, with the Comstock Mining area in western
Due to a dam breaking upstream, the bridge broke away from its
footings in 1883 and washed 150 feet downstream; turning it end-for-end in the
process. It was replaced on its abutments, backwards, and remains that way to
this day. The bridge is commemorated by a plaque. It is also a stop along the Highway 49' historic driving tour. Oregon Creek Bridge is located in the Oregon Creek Day Use Area,
at the confluence of Oregon Creek and the Middle Yuba River, about 20 miles
north of Nevada City, on Highway 49.
JUNCTION HOUSE—FIRST SETTLEMENT
Located on one of the busiest crossroads of pioneer Nevada, this was the converging point for many major toll roads of the area. The earliest emigrants
from the east crossed through Truckee Meadows at this point and by 1853 the
intersection was known as Junction House, the first permanent settlement in this
valley and a stopping place for thousands.
Junction House, later called Andersons, was a station for such
toll roads of the 1860's as the turnpike to Washoe City, the Myron Lake road to
Oregon, the Geiger roads to Virginia City and the important Henness Pass route
to California. Governor Sparks bought the property in the late 1890's and
more recently it belonged to cattleman William Moffa.
Modern Verdi came into being with the construction of the
Central Pacific Railroad through Nevada in 1867-69. It became a major mill town
and terminal for the shipment of ties and construction timbers, with a network
of logging railways reaching into the timber north and west of here.
In 1860, a log bridge was built across the Truckee River near
where Verdi is now located. Known as O'Neil's Crossing, the site served as a
stage stop during the 1860's on the heavily traveled Henness Pass turnpike and
Toll Road and the Dutch flat and Donner Lake Road.
In 1864, the Crystal Peak Company laid out a town on the site
some two miles from Verdi's present location. The company owned mining and
lumbering interests near the settlement which was then called Crystal Peak. Verdi remained an active lumbering center into the twentieth
century due to the exertions of men like Oliver Lonkey of the Verdi Lumber
Company. A disastrous fire in 1926, plus depletion of timber reserves, resulted
in Verdi's decline.
Required Equipment: Tent - Sleeping Bag - Cooler - Folding chairs - CB
(A Citizens Band radio is required for the narration portion of the tour and to advise
participants of tour stops and/or emergencies)
The Sacramento Jeepers have a limited number of loaner CB Radios available.
Please contact us if you need a loaner CB Radio for the trip.
Recommended Equipment: Camera - Binoculars - Jacket (for
evening) - Moist Towelettes
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