These springs, seen as marshy spots and small ponds of water in the meadows, are the Humboldt Wells, a historic oasis on the California Emigrant Trail. Between 1845 and 1870, hundreds of covered wagon trains camped here, refitted from their arduous journeys, and prepared for the grueling 300 mile trek west along the Humboldt Valley. Ruts of the old emigrant trail winding down to the springs can still be seen on the slopes above them and to the northwest.

The City of Wells, first established as the water stop of Humboldt Wells on the Central Pacific Railroad in September 1869, is named after these springs.  Its name was shortened to Wells in 1873.