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Pony Express Trail

The Pony Express Trail's legend has endured longer and stronger than the very short 18 month length of it's life.

photo: the trail to Cody Lake near Twin Bridges and Strawberry off Highway 50 in California (photo by Tova Jarvis)

Length: 8.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry
Agency: USDA Forest Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Dogs - On leash
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running

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Location: Between Echo Summit and Pollock Pines.
State(s): California
Counties: El Dorado
Longitude: -120.50289
Latitude: 38.76302

Driving Directions

Trail can be accessed from several locations along Hwy 50,between Echo Summit and Pallock Pines. Primary single track trail is between Kyburz and Strawberry


Prior to 1851, mail from the United States took around 30 to 90 days to be delivered to the Gold Rush communities. The desire for even faster mail delivery led to the establishment of the Pony Express, which brought mail to California in a mere 10 days by individual riders on horseback. The Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, was 1840 miles in length.

Mail service by the Pony Express began in April of 1860 to October of 1861 when the Union Telegraph line was completed. The Pony Express National Historic Trail was established in 1992 to preserve the trail and commemorate those who rode it.

There are 19 miles of the trail in the Eldorado National Forest, eight which are designated as an NRT and parallel Highway 50. Access Points for the Pony Express Trail are: Echo Summit, Wrights Lake Road, Webber Mill Rd., Peavine Ridge Road and at the end of Bryan Meadow Road (11N09A) near the entrance to Sierra At Tahoe Ski Area. This trail is open to equestrians, bicyclists and hikers. Motorized use is not allowed.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Website: USFS Trail Details

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Lester Lubetkin
Recreation Officer
El Dorado National Forest
100 Forni Rd.
Placerville, CA 95667
(503) 622-5061



1917 commemorative ride from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe. Photo by Jeff Barker.

1917 commemorative ride from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe. Photo by Jeff Barker.


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