California Gold Rush Trail And Lied Historical Building – Council Bluffs, Iowa

 CaliforniaGoldRush.jpg And Lied Historical Building – Council Bluffs, Iowa

Approximately 8 miles SE of Council Bluffs is the memorial marker of the 1849 Gold Rushers and Pioneers.

Owned and operated by the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs opened in 1997. A partnership with the National Park Service, the Center interprets the Lewis and Clark, California, Oregon, and Mormon Pioneer Trails. The Western Historic Trails Center covers 480 acres of river bottom adjacent to the Missouri River and Interstates 80 and 29, including the Lied Historical Building and Harvey’s Recreation Complex.

At the entrance to the Lied Historical Building is the Western Relief Silhouette, a polished granite sculpture detailing the elevation faced by the emigrants between the Mississippi River and California. The Path of Names leading to the front door is made of granite blocks. Each block has the name of an emigrant that made the journey or the Indian Nations the trails traveled through.

On the floor of the entrance rotunda is a stone compass showing the importance of direction to the early travelers.

Displays show how many modern roads are built on top of the trails since these were most often the easiest routes.

A sidewalk leads from the Lied Historical Building to the top of the Sieck Levee where there is an interpretative panel. From the top of the levee, a crushed asphalt trail leads west to the banks of the Missouri River just over a half mile away. The trail passes through stretches of prairie grasses and cattails with stands of cottonwood and willow, typical wetland environment of the Missouri River’s floodplain. Our Sauganash Pond is named after a Chief of an important village of Potawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa. The thick mud, mosquitoes, sand burrs, and tall grasses were daily tribulations faced by emigrants while they waited to "jump off" on the trails west. In addition, there is a paved bicycle trail that runs east from the parking lot a mile to South 24th Street then another two and a half miles to Lake Manawa State Park.

Winter Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Summer Hours: Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Located in Council Bluffs on 24th Street south of I-80 (exit 1B) across from Bluffs Run Track & Casino.

For more information or to schedule a group tour, contact the local manager:

Western Historic Trails Center
3434 Richard Downing Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Call 712-366-4900 

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