The Pony Express Rides Again

By: Anne Sutterfield

The National Pony Express Association will conduct its Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, June 17 – 27, 2024.

This Re-Ride will be a 10-day, 24-hour-a-day, non-stop event by over 750 riders and horses over the 1,966-mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The Re-Ride travels east (CA > MO) one year and west (MO > CA) the next year.

It is the longest event held annually on a historical trail in the nation.

It was a short-lived mail service, but it became a symbol of the Old West. Its story has been retold in books, movies, and re-enactments. And 158 years after the anniversary of the start of the famed Pony Express, horsemen still want to deliver mail by horseback on the same trail.

Pony Express Route

The event commemorated the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual recreations by the NPEA.

The Pony Rides Again

A lone rider gallops across rolling hills of prairie grass and sagebrush. The sound of approaching hoofbeats is heard from afar. Another rider and horse awaits in the shade of a tree. The incoming rider reins in and greetings are exchanged. Dismounting, the incoming courier lifts a leather mochila from the saddle. It is placed on the new horse and the fresh rider steps into the stirrup, swings into the saddle and begins a ride over the horizon and back into history.

Each June, members of the NPEA recreate the Pony Express in a Commemorative Re-Ride over a 10 day period. Letters are carried in a mochila over the original trail. The 1,966 mile, eight state event is conducted 24 hours a day until the mail is delivered to its destination. This national event is an opportunity for all young and old to ride the Pony Trail and to send a letter via the Pony Express!

Over 750 riders participate and around 1,000 letters are mailed each year. Riders come from all walks of life, but are all members of NPEA. We invite you to join us in this exciting event!

Pony Express
Photo Credit: Darren Gappa via Flickr

Today, part of the Pony Express Trail route is a multi-use trail located near Sierra-at-Tahoe. There are a few relay stations in South Lake Tahoe. One at Friday’s Station, just east of Harrah’s casino where the statue is today, and two others out in Meyers by Lira’s Market and the Hawley Grade Trail. Another station is located at Woodfords near Markleeville.

Pony Express History
Plaque at commemorative Pony Express statue in Sacramento, CA. Photo Credit: A Yee via Flickr

More information is available at

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