Lower and Upper California Crossings

“Between Fort Kearny and Fort Laramie there were only two divergences that are noteworthy; both pertain to the late period of the trail. Until 1859 all travel on the south bank of the Platte crossed the south fork of the river west of its junction with the north fork. The trail then moved northwest up the ‘peninsula’ between the south and north forks of the river and through Ash Hollow before reaching the valley of the North Platte. It then continued up the south bank to Fort Laramie. The discovery of gold in Colorado let to the Pike’s Peak trail southwestward up the South Platte and another connecting trail northward to the North Platte via Courthouse Rock, for which Julesburg, Colorado, became the new junction point.”

[N.B. The first crossing became known as the Lower California Crossing, and the later crossing near Julesburg was the North California Crossing. The Pony Express used the North California Crossing. Julesburg was the most problematic station at the opening of the Pony Express.]