The Three Main Routes to California
Around the Horn
"Around the Horn" consisted of a dangerous overseas voyage from the east coast of the United States to San Francisco, California. It required going all the way around South America. The most dangerous part of the trip was the straight of Magellan, due to its narrowness and unpredictable currents. The men who chose to travel this route did not have the option of bringing their family along, as traveling by ship was far too dangerous. Approximately 25,000 people traveled this route, and it took them about nine months to complete. Traveling "Around the Horn" cost around four hundred dollars.
"Overland" was traveled by covered wagon, and generally could be completed in one hundred days. This route was much safer and more comfortable than "Around the Horn," and the men who participated in the travels on this route had the option of bringing their family along. The downfall of traveling on "Overland" was that the travelers often faced rivers, food shortages, and Indian attacks. This route cost around four hundred dollars to travel, as well.
Isthmus or Nicaragua
"Isthmus," or "Nicaaragua," was the quickest of the primary routes, as well as the most popular. This route was traveled by steam ship from the east coast of the United States to San Fransisco. This route differed from "Around the Horn," however, because it went through the Panama Canal, rather than around South America. Although this was the quickest route, it was not the safest, as many people died during the journey from diseases such as Malaria, Cholera, Dysentery, and Yellow Fever.