California Pony Express

Pony Express Historical Trail

The Pony Express was instrumental to the development of communications in the west and are commemorated by the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Legislation authorizing the addition of the Trail to the National Trails Systems was signed by President George W. Bush on August 3, 1992. It is administered by the Department of Interior/National Park Service. The P.E.N.H.T. is a route rather than a continuous trail. It can be followed by horse, foot or auto for most of its length.

Large expanses of the territory through which it transverses are still very scenic and many museums and historical sites offer interpretation and preservation. Through its Re-Ride, publications, resource guides, speakers bureaus, work parties and commemorative events on the trail, it seeks to give the horseman, historian and general public a sense of excitement, danger and accomplishments of the unique historic mail service on this trail.

Today, the volunteer Pony Express riders actually clear the trail prior to the annual Re-Ride in order to ensure that the trail is passable. The clearing of the trail also helps the public enjoy the trail when hiking, running, backpacking, biking, and of course, enjoy a great ride with your equestrian friend!

The Only Break In The National Trail

Brockliss Bridge

The bridge was built in 1855 by Anthony Brockliss. It was used to cross the American River by the miners. In 1858, the bridge was rebuilt as part of a larger project to construct a road to the Carson Valley in the State of Nevada.

In 1869, this bridge collapsed due to wear and neglect. The bridge was so important that by the mid-1920’s a replacement bridge was built. This time however, this hardy bridge was built to accommodate the logging industry. After 60 years of service this historic bridge was finally deemed unsafe and destroyed. 

The bridge has never been replaced and is currently the only break in the Historic Pony Express Trail. Since the bridge was destroyed the Pony Express riders have had to use a pulley system in order to get the mail across the America River to the awaiting rider on the other side. At times, the pulley system has been dangerous due to high, fast moving waters and always poses a risk to the safe delivery of the mail. 

The California Pony Express Association has been working alongside of several other agencies in an attempt to have the bridge rebuilt for the enjoyment of all that use the Historic Pony Express Trail. To rebuild the Brockliss Bridge, it is estimated to cost approximately $3 million. This cost includes the bridge, a road down to the bridge from Pacific House to the American River along with an interpretative center. An additional $300,000 is also needed to build a smaller bridge across Brockliss Creek.