The Sierra Nevada is a great mountain range in easternCalifornia that had to be crossed by the wagon trains on the California Trail. The two main routes across the Sierras was the Carson Pass and the Donner Pass.
The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for Snowy Range) goes from Tehachapi Pass in the south to the Feather River in the north. There are eleven peaks in the 430 mile range of mountains that are over 14,000 feet. The highest point is Mount Whitney (14,495). The lower slopes of the Sierras are covered with forests of pine, fir, cedar and oak.
On 24th January, 1848, James Marshall, discovered gold on land owned by John Sutter in California on the west side of the Sierra Nevada. This started the Californian Gold Rush and dramatically increased the number of people crossing these mountains.