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Trails West

What better way for third graders to learn about the westward movement than by taking them out on the trail?! That's what we do at the Lewis Center, on our 150-acre Mojave River Campus. Up to 60 third graders arrive in Mineral City, our simulated town on campus, and prepare for their journey in search of a better way of life.

Third grade "families" withdraw "union bucks" from Union Bank, Mineral City Branch to purchase a covered wagon. Once wagons are loaded and lined up in town, students depart on the trail to find their new homestead. Students experience what it might have been like to be a pioneer and life on a wagon train. How far could you travel in one day in a wagon train? Where did the pioneers sleep each night?

TrailsWest is not only about the westward movement, but also about the local history of our area as the program relives the first wagon train through the Mojave Desert from Utah to San Bernardino.  Utilizing the elements of nature and what they can find native to the area to survive, our student pioneers learn how important wagons were to the westward movement, how the Serrano people survived in the Mojave Desert, and to appreciate what the pioneers sacrificed.

Students are required to bring a journal for the TrailsWest program. Students will write in their journals various times throughout the adventure just as the pioneers did before them. Once the third grade pioneers reach their new homestead, they "settle" their land by building log cabins and planting crops.

Bring your third graders and watch, as they become pioneers!
Students get to shop in Johnson's Emporium for ole' time merchandise.  Prices range from $1 - $5.  Souvenir Gold Rush t-shirts are $10.  All proceeds support Mineral City.

Click here for a printable flyer about this program.

To schedule a field trip program, contact the Lewis Center at 760-946-5414 ext. 276 or email

To become a volunteer for this adventure, email Amy Ritter or call 760-946-5414 ext. 276.