Three Segments Considered: Boise to Emmett, to Cambridge, to Brownlee

The name “Goodale” alone must be attached to the original route from Boise to Emmett, on down the Payette River, and then northerly from where Goodale would have departed from the later Olds Ferry road and crossed the Weiser River. His route on through Middle Valley, and to an eventual second encounter with the Weiser River, was also said to have been an old Indian trail. The wagon road that passed that way after Goodale, a poor road that it was, seemed to have been only improved much later, but was certainly part of his “Cutoff.” If that part of the original route can be substantiated, mapped, and marked accurately, from the lower Weiser River to the Salubria Valley, the documenting of this route should also credit the first wagon train leader across the area, Tim Goodale.

If by some possibility the Goodale Train had followed the exact route which preceded U. S. 95, directly NE of Weiser, the early route was not clear enough to even be indicated as an old Indian trail on the finished 1870, LaFayette Carter, Land Plats, now archived in the BLM Idaho State Offices. Therefore, indicated by this and other related evidences Goodale probably went up Mann Creek, where the only evidence of a road going to the north was found by the early surveyors!

The Mann Creek trail was in place and was indicated on those 1870 Plats. All available information seems to indicate that the worst part of the route, which was rough and difficult on man and beast to follow, was the last miles over the long hill down to Midvale. This surely limited other emigrant travel on the route. We do not have much information showing emigrants using that route, much less information than even the first-hand meager accounts of those who used the central variant north of Emmett.

We also considered the traffic over Goodale’s route on from Salubria to the Brownlee Ferry, and have determined that it may have been limited. We have yet to discover much direct evidence that later emigrants followed that route on to Oregon-maybe partly because of the difficulties of the early route and possibly because that first Ferry had been reported to have closed in 1864. But most of that trail, some now forest roads, still exists! Much of the route can be viewed and followed on satellite photos, and this route agrees with the earliest road indicated on the old plats. It was inscribed on various area plats as the “Trail to Pine Valley [Oregon],” “Salubria Road,” and “Road from Cambridge to Brownlee Ferry,” depending upon the differing years the plats were finished. Surveyors at different times inscribed particular names for the plat that they had surveyed! One can understand the names of Salubria and Cambridge being applied in different years. The whole route from Boise to Brownlee Ferry was the northern section of the whole “Jeffrey-Goodale” and “Goodale’s Cutoff,” from Fort Hall to Baker City, Oregon!

Thus if the segment of the original road north of Weiser to the area of Salubria was almost completely impassible for years, or at least was little used to connect the northern Cutoff in favor of a much easier parallel Crane Creek route on the east, this replacement route invariably became a Goodale variant or alternate trail. And it certainly began to be used earlier than most of the three eastern end “Goodale” secondary routes across Bingham County. Each of those were labeled years ago as a “variant of the Goodale’s Cutoff,” and all, “three routes of Goodale’s Cutoff.” [1]Daniel J. Hutchison and Larry Jones, tech. eds., Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho (Boise: Bureau of Land Management and Idaho State Historical Society, 1993), pp. 131-142. Those are the three of four total “Goodale,” carsonite-post marked routes, from the Snake River to Big Southern Butte. None of the variants were crossed by the Goodale Train, but all were used by emigrants, stages, and freight wagons! Many emigrant miners also chose those routes and went on across and stayed in Idaho. The same also traveled north on the Crane Creek route!

Back to: Goodale North Trail


1Daniel J. Hutchison and Larry Jones, tech. eds., Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho (Boise: Bureau of Land Management and Idaho State Historical Society, 1993), pp. 131-142.

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