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Pony Express National Historic Trail

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The Pony Express NHT was used by young men on fast horses to carry the nation's mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only ten days. The relay system became the nation's most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph, and it played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War.


Local brochures and guides are generally available at each trail site. Autpo Tour Route driving directions and maps, approximate the historic route of the Pony Express.

Entrance and parking fees may be charged at some locations and hours vary at the discretion of the site administrator. Large groups are encouraged to make prior arrangements for tours, where available.

Please respect private property by staying in public areas, and help protect our national heritage by leaving trail resources undisturbed.

Basic Directions

Those portions of the Pony Express National Historic Trail authorized by Congress include nearly 1,900 miles of historic trail that was once the primary "road" taken by young riders on swift horses to carry the U.S. Mail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California--often in ten days or less with good weather. The route passes through eight states from Missouri to California.

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