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Wagons, ho! Here's another way to relive the Old West.

Wagon ruts and remnants of 1800s households still litter emgirant trails--reminders of the thousands of pioneers whose dreams and hopes sent them lurching and plodding west in search of a new life.

Now, a century later, the calls of "Wagons, ho!= and the smell of beans and flap-jacks cooking over an open fire once again fill the air as wagon trains offer modern families a chance to relive that part of our heritage. Trips listed here last a day to a week. Some offer a combination horse and wagon ride. You sleep under the stars or in tents, or in the wagon. Food is hearty fare that pioneers either ate or wished they could have eaten.

"Camaraderie comes fast on a trip like this," says wagonmaster Gordon Howard. "We all pitch in to help, like the pioneers did. And after four days without a bath, we all smell alike."

Outfitters listed here will send free brochures with details of their operation.

Asterisks indicate an annual trek. In most of these, wagon owners join forces to reenact a historic ride. You can join any of these treks if you have a horse; two also welcome paying guests as passengers. Usually the wagon trains join a parade at trip's end--a good time to see them.


One to four days, year-round. Adventure Wagons plans four-day outings (you join for one or more days) in pine forests near Flagstaff and Prescott in summer, circling Wickenburg's desert in winter. Trips leave once a month; write or call for dates. Cost (including meals, campfire entertainment): $95 a day, $75 with own horse; 10 percent less for children. Adventure Wagons, Box 1494, Wickenburg 85358; (602) 684-3106.

Two- to five-day trips, June and July, north Arizona. Honeymoon Trail, Inc., sponsors wagon trips June 24 to 29 and July 8 to 13. Sixty passengers can join the whole 60 mile loop ($350; under 22, $275) or a two-day segment ($160 and $130). Mel Heaton, Moccasin 86022; (602) 643-7292 or (801) 648-2408.

September 10 to 14, Honeymoon Trail. Honeymoon Trail, Inc.., also reenacts a pioneer trek for 220 participants (costumes encouraged) from Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona, to St. George, Utah, ending in Lions Dixie Roundup Parade at 5 on the 14th. Cost: $350, children $250. Address above.


Day and weekend trips, May through October, Los Olivos. The Wagon Train offers weekend trips in Santa Ynez Valley, 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. Wagons have upholstered seats but wooden wheels. Cost, with four meals: $145; two children age 15 or younger ride free, an additional child $75. Also day trips to wineries, $50; free for two children per family, additional child $2k. Randy Hunter, Box 779 Santa Ynez 93460; (805) 688-1455.

June 7 and 8, Yosemite to Mariposa. Anyone with a horse can join the 10th annual Mariposa County Pioneer Wagon Train Ride from Yosemite National Park over Battalion Pass to Mariposa. Trip ends in parade through Mariposa Saturday at 1 P.M. Pioneer costume encouraged. Register by May 27. Wagon Master, Box 2046, Mariposa 95338; (209) 742-7473.

June 16 to 23, Carson City to Placerville. About 30 people can hire seats on this 36th annual wagon trek. Covering 15 to 20 miles a day, the entourage roughly follows U.S. 50. Securing a seat takes enterprise. Pioneer Adventures (see below) can take about 15 guests. Highway 50 Association (Box 454, Placerville 95667) will try to find you a ride. Cost: $50 to register, $15 a day for a seat on the wagon train. Meals about $15 a day. Also open to horsemen ($50 registration).

Weekends, July through September, near Placerville. Pioneer Adventures offers weekend wagon trips for 6 to 40. Camp by a lake Friday night, head out by wagon Saturday, return Sunday afternoon. Rides are on old wagon roads near Placerville. Cost (includes five meals, campfire entertainment, gold panning): $140. J.B. Ranch, Box 288, Elverta 95626; (916) 991-3386.


Four- to six-day trips, June through October, near Billings. Montana Wagon Train Adventures, 180 miles northeast of Billings, sets up trips through Missouri Breaks country whenever 10 or more sign on. (Will match up interested parties.) Bring sleeping bags. Fishing is an option. Cost: $100 a day ($75 if more than 10 join); $50 ages 12 and under. Claude Saylor, Bar Y7 Ranch Box 10, Brusett 59318; (406) 557-6150.


Three- and four-day trip, June through September, on the Oregon Trail. Fifty miles east of the Wyoming border, the Oregon Trail Wagon Train has outings June 14 to 16, July 21 to 23, August 18 to 21, September 14 to 17. (Other dates may be added.) Trips conjure up the pioneer experience with daily mail delivery to pony express and attacks by Sioux Indians. You churn butter and make beef jerky; horse rides included. Pioneer dress is encouraged. Cost: three-day trips, $180 adults, $144 children under 12; four-day, $270 and $216. Gordon Howard, Route 2, Bayard 69334; (308) 586-1850.


Various-length trips, June through November, Pioche. High County Wagon Train sponsors trips along Great Basin Desert pioneer trails for a minimum of 10 (they'll match parties). All meals plus horse or wagon ride or both cost $50 a day. Bring a sleeping bag. Leave from Pioche, 175 miles north of Las Vegas. Box 117, Pioche 89043; (702) 962-9082. See page 44.

Two- to six-day trips, September through April, Lake Mead. Wagons West (see Wyoming) has just won permission to operate weekly trips in the Lake Mead area near Las Vegas, beginning in September. Write the Wyoming address for details.


June 29 to July 4, La Grande to Pendleton. Pendleton Roundup Wagon Train (about 15 authentic wagons) starts near La Grande, travels 80 miles through the Blue Mountains, partly on the Oregon Trail. Watch the ride's end during a parade through Pendleton, midmorning July 4. You need you own horse to join. Meals for you and horse cost $25 a day. Must sign on by June 1. Pendleton Roundup Assoc., Box 609, Pendleton 97801; (800) 824-1603 in Oregon, (800) 524-2984 elsewhere.


Two- to six-day trips June 3 to September 1, Jackson Hole. Wagons West offers weekly trips in Bridger-Teton National Forest. Wagons have rubber tires, padded seats. Cost includes half-day horse ride option--or pay $15 a day extra to ride all day. Bring a sleeping bag. Two days $190, children $140; four days, $325 and $260; six days, $450 and $340. L.D. Frome, Afton 83110; (307) 886-5240.

Four-day trips, June 17 to August 26, Jackson Hole. Bar-T-Five Outfitters trips begin every Monday, traveling some 35 miles in Targhee National Forest. Wagons have rubber tires. Trip includes Indian attack, mountain man visit, mail delivery by pony express, canoes at camp. Cost (with part-time horse ride option): $360; children ages 4 to 14, $325. Bill Thomas, Box 2140, Jackson 83001; (307) 733-5386.
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Date:Jun 1, 1985
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