Family Jeeping since 1957

The Henness Pass Road - The Forgotten Highway

Sacramento Jeepers, Inc. will host the
seventh Henness Pass Road Trip
from Marysville, California to Virginia City, Nevada
on August 24 and 25, 2013.

Sacramento Jeepers, Inc. announced that it will host the scenic Henness Pass Road four-wheel drive trip, from Marysville, California to Virginia City, Nevada. This event is specifically designed as an overnight outing for owners of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) with 4 wheel drive 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.

Warner Anderson, a noted Sierra historian and narrator for previous trips says, "The Henness Pass Road trip is ideally suited for Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) with 4 wheel drive and is a mild, historical four-wheel drive trip designed especially for families." “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”. “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 Comstock.”

Warner Anderson said some of the more popular stops along the way include Mountain House, a 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 or silver. 

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 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 Pass.

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.

VERDI

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 Radio
(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

Contact: Email 2013Hennesspass@sacramentojeepers.org

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Updated: March 13, 2014.