Map detail from Horn's Overland Guide to California and Oregon, 1852 (Anticipating CPRR route, above);
See second map detail below(Anticipating UPRR route).
Travelling the route by wagon in 1850 [Horn's Overland Guide p. 56.]:
"HUMBOLDT CAÑON:* ... 1849 [miles from Omaha]
-At the mouth of this is a good place to camp ; Carson river runs through the cañon.
* Through this cañon is the roughest road, I am persuaded to think, that ever a wagon traveled over. The west branch of Carson river has its source near Bonpland lake, at the east foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and runs through this cañon, which you cross six times in passing up. At places there is just barely room for a wagon to pass through between vertical rock, perpendicular 300 to 400 feet high. Other places you will have to ascend and descend a solid smooth stone for several yards, almost perpendicular; and again you must make your way for miles over rocks of an intolerable size for a wagon to pass over, and now and then a miserably bad mud hole, which, when considered altogether, is the worst road ever traveled by man, I think."
Courtesy Bruce Clement Cooper Collection.