Oregon

National Historic Trail - ID,KS,MO,NE,OR,WA,WY

Imagine yourself an emigrant headed for Oregon: would promises of lush farmlands and a new beginning lure you to leave home and walk for weeks? More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states and serve as reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers.

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Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Rock Springs

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Pinedale

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Pinedale Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Lander

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Lander Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Wyoming Public Land - Kemmerer

Map of Seasonal and Year-Round BLM Public Land User Limitations in the BLM Kemmerer Field Office area in Wyoming. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

https://www.nps.gov/oreg/index.htm Imagine yourself an emigrant headed for Oregon: would promises of lush farmlands and a new beginning lure you to leave home and walk for weeks? More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states and serve as reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers. More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states- reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers. Visitor Centers vary from state to state The Oregon National Historic Trail passes through seven states. A variety of visitor facilities are available along the trail. See our Things to Do page for recommendations. Guernsey Ruts, Wyoming A wagon swale is cut deep into limestone rock with trees in background. The Guernsey Ruts in Wyoming feature deeply eroded rock from wagon traffic. Devil's Gate, Wyoming A rock buttress with a notch in it surrounded by sagebrush flats. Devil's Gate was an important emigrant landmark in Wyoming. Alcove Spring Park Wayside An exhibit with an illustration in front of green trees and a rock ledge. Alcove Spring Park is located in Kansas near Blue Rapids and Marysville. Split Rock, Wyoming A large yellow flowering desert shrub in front of sagebrush and a large rock buttress. Split Rock was an important emigrant landmark in Wyoming. Fort Laramie, Wyoming Two people walk on a green lawn in front of historic fort buildings. Fort Laramie National Historic Site features a replica fort with exhibits, located in eastern Wyoming. Circle of Life for an Apple Tree Vancouver’s Old Apple Tree, nearly 200 years old and historically associated with Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver, died in late June 2020 from natural causes. It was the oldest apple tree in the State of Washington—maybe the oldest in the Pacific Northwest—maybe the oldest on the West Coast. A large, twisted apple tree behind a steel fence. The Lands of the Overland Trails: Protests against the Mexican American War Almost every movement in American history has a corresponding counter movement. The Mexican American War (1846-48), which resulted in Mexico ceding much of the modern-day American Southwest to the United States, is a good example. With the stroke of a pen, parts of the Santa Fe, California, Oregon, Pony Express, Mormon Pioneer, and Old Spanish trails, as well as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, suddenly became American territory. A dirt road snakes down a steep cliff face in the desert. Fourth of July on the Overland Trails For many travelers on the overland trails, the Fourth of July was just another day of trekking through sand and sagebrush. For some it was a day of melancholy, thinking of how their loved ones at home might be celebrating. For others, especially the Fortyniners, it was fun a day of celebration, usually involving the firing of “salutes” with their handguns and rifles, energetic flag-waving, and a feast. A covered wagon sits in front of a vast rocky landscape Cholera: A Trail Epidemic In the early years of the California gold rush, cholera struck each spring at the thronging jumping-off towns along the Missouri River where thousands of gold seekers and Oregon-bound emigrants gathered to outfit. The deadly disease claimed many lives before the victims even had a chance to start across the prairies of Kansas or Nebraska. It claimed many more along the trail corridor to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and in American Indian encampments and villages, as well. A stone grave monument, stands in a field of tall grass. Oregon and California Trails Fall 2020 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. What Happened to the Bison? Crossing the Southern Plains in 1806, Zebulon Pike described herds of bison that “exceeded imagination.” Yet by the 1850s, many of the Native nations that relied on bison for sustenance—such as the Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes—were seeing fewer bison than ever before. What happened? A bison stands and eats grass. The Platte Experience Otoe Indians called this region “Nebrathka,” meaning “flat water,” and the French word “Platte” means the same. The defining flatness of the broad Platte River Valley, which averages five to seven miles wide, made it ideal for animal-powered travel on both sides of the stream. The long Platte River also provided plenty of water and native grasses for game and livestock. Many emigrants later recalled it as the easiest, most pleasant part of their westering journey. A statue of a bison in front of a large museum. Gateway to the West: National Historic Trails Across the Continental Divide The Rocky Mountains stretch like a jagged spine between Alaska and Mexico, splitting North America into East and West. The Continental Divide is not a simple line of peaks, easily threaded by tracks and roads, but a complex of overlapping mountain ranges and treeless sagebrush steppe, hundreds of miles wide. In the days of covered wagon travel, the Rockies were an imposing barrier to the movement of people, commerce, and communications. South Pass was the gateway to the West. Historic image a covered wagon train meeting tall mountains. War on the Oregon & California Trails Once-friendly Western tribes watched with mounting anger as emigrants helped themselves, often wastefully, to their game, grass, water, and wood. Indian agents warned of bloody conflicts ahead if the issues between native peoples and emigrants were not soon resolved. In response, the U.S. government called for a treaty conference to be held near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in September 1851. Some 12,000 members of 11 different Northern Plains tribes answered the call. A green lawn stretches back to a distant historic fort. A Gathering Storm: American Indians and Emigrants in the 1830s As American settlers surged westward across the eastern woodlands and prairies in the early 19th century, they pushed American Indians out of their ancestral homes. The U.S. government resettled many of those displaced Eastern tribes —the Kickapoo, Delaware, Potawatomi, and others— in congressionally designated Indian Territory west of the Missouri River and south of the Platte. The resettled Eastern tribes were among the first Indians encountered by emigrants through Kansas. Hike on a National Historic Trail Hiking a National Historic Trail isn't always what people expect. Like the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails pass through multiple states and travel across a variety of land ownership. Unlike the National Scenic Trails, the historic trails can't be traversed on one long walking trail. You can plan a weekend adventure or an afternoon outing on a National Historic Trail. The following trips will give you the opportunity to hike pieces of the historic trail routes. A brown trail sign stands next to a trail that leads through the forest. “Thicker than Stars in the Firmament”: Bison along the Platte River Corridor Emigrants heading west along the Platte River in the early years of the overland emigration wrote excitedly in diaries and journals about their first sightings of buffalo and the wild hunts that typically followed. Some wagon trains got caught in buffalo stampedes, and some lost cattle that ran off to join the unimaginably enormous herds of wild bison. But as commercial hunters and sport-slaughter thinned those herds that part of the overland experience changed. An illustration of a group of covered wagons and American Indians on horseback. Traveling the Emigrant Trails Learn a little bit about what life was like for the emigrants traveling west by covered wagon. Wagons on the Emigrant Trails Emigrants along the western trails had several options when it came to wagons. Three covered wagons are seen in front of a distinctive rock formation. Places to See Oregon Trail Ruts Over the years, thousands of wagon wheels and hooves churned the earth as they traveled west. Their traces are often referred to as wagon ruts and they can appear a variety of ways depending on the type of soil and the continued effects of water erosion. One of the best ways to experience the Oregon Trail is by taking a step back in time while visiting a trail rut. Luckily, there are still places where you can have that experience today. Take a look and plan your visit today! A highly eroded channel through thick, light colored rock. Overlanders in the Columbia River Gorge, 1840-1870: A Narrative History Most who followed the Oregon Trail did not traverse the Columbia River Gorge, if they could help it, because the gorge posed numerous dangers for travelers unfamiliar with the rugged terrain and raging river. When Samuel Barlow opened a road around the southern side of Mount Hood in 1846, overlanders going to Oregon City more often chose that route, rather than braving the Columbia River. Looking into a deep, steep-walled rocky canyon with a large river below. Death and Danger on the Emigrant Trails There were many life-threatening challenges for the emigrants who traveled the emigrant trails to California, Oregon, or Utah. A watercolor painting of wagon trains approaching Chimney Rock. Bloomers on the Trail Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a suffragist and women's magazine editor from New York, kicked off a dress-reform movement in 1851 by appearing in public wearing puffy pantaloons under a short skirt. Although she was ridiculed for her attire, some young women happily adopted the practical and comfortable "bloomers" outfit for their trip west across the overland trails. An illustration of a woman in period dress, showcasing her long short pants. Women Traveling West The Oregon and California trails traverse lands where women challenged traditional gender roles. In the early 1840s Americans began heading west in large numbers, many traveling in family groups. Women in the nation’s more settled areas were supposed to excel at domestic work, like cooking, cleaning, and raising children; however, as part of a wagon train, women got to showcase a wider range of skills. An illustration of a string of covered wagons, with an encampment scene in the foreground. African Americans on the Oregon Trail African Americans were among the pioneers who crossed the trail to Oregon, some coming willingly as free men and women but others forced to travel as the property of slaveholders. Those who reached Oregon between the 1840s and 1860s probably numbered in the hundreds. Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides: Oregon Trail Download one of these booklets and begin your state by state trail adventure! The Auto Tour Route (ATR) guides provide an overview of local trail history while giving driving directions to suggested points of interest along the trail. There are auto tour route guides available for the trail across MO, KS, NE, CO, ID and WY. The cover of a travel guide that has an illustration of a covered wagon train in the plains. Become a Junior Ranger for National Historic Trails Learn about the National Historic Trails and earn junior ranger badges! These activities can be completed virtually or after visiting a site along the National Historic Trails. Booklets can be submitted either electronically or by mail. Take a look and start exploring the trails today! small photos of different trail sites with junior ranger badges. Color the National Historic Trails Express yourself and learn more about the trails with these coloring sheets! Download, print, color, and then share with us! Do you want to know what pioneers thought about bison? Elk? Salmon? Pick an animal, learn more, and download your coloring sheet today. A coloring sheet with an image of a wolf walking. Historic Valentine's Day Cards Valentines day cards rose to popularity in the United States in the mid-1800s. Victorian cards were elaborate, decorative, often-lace trimmed, and mass-produced. Not everyone could afford such cards, so handmade cards were very popular with pioneers and others who couldn't buy an expensive card. You can take your Valentine back in time by making a historic card! Use the provided template, or make a handmade card, and return to the 1800s with your love. A historic valentines day card with a rose illustration. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Spring 2021 Newsletter Read the latest news from the National Trails Office - Regions 6,7 and 8. Topics include: welcome new staff, Oregon Auto Tour Route Guide in review, updates on Historic Research Associates project, signing updates, and more! A picture of a newsletter containing text and photos. Series: National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides Interested in planning a trip along a national historic trail? Use these guides to follow the historic routes while learning more about local and trail history. The cover of a travel guide that has an illustration of a covered wagon train in the plains. Series: The Emigrant Experience Have you ever wondered what the experience was like for the emigrants who traveled west on the Great Platte River Road? A man dressed in period clothing leans on a covered wagon. Transportation: Cars on the Oregon Trail The historic Oregon Trail was not abandoned with the advent of the transcontinental railroad and automobiles. Some travelers continued to take wagons over the old trail as late as the 1920s. Why? Usually because they didn’t have the money to buy train tickets to take their families west, or they had livestock that needed herding along, but sometimes just because they loved the old-timey adventure of it. A man stands next to a historic car with a covered wagon top. George Washington Bush, the Oregon Trail George Washington Bush, a free Black Missourian who had become wealthy in the region’s cattle trade, loaded his white wife and their five children onto a wagon at Savannah Landing in the spring of 1844; they joined a train of eighty-four wagons headed towards Oregon Country and the Columbia River Valley led by Michael T. Simmons, an Irish immigrant. Historic portrait of an African American man. Robin and Polly Holmes, the Oregon Trail Robin and Polly Holmes (along with their three-year-old daughter Mary Jane) arrived to Oregon Country after a long journey on the emigrant trail from Missouri in 1844. Brought there by their owner, Nathaniel Ford, the Holmes family had landed on “free soil”—meaning slavery was not legal there. Yet this law was not enforced, and the Holmes’ long journey was only the beginning of their ordeal. Amanda Gardener Johnson, the Oregon Trail Amanda Gardener was born in Liberty, Missouri, in 1833 and became a wedding present to her owner’s daughter, Nancy Wilhite. When she was seven years old, she was given to Wilhite’s daughter, Lydia, who had recently married Anderson Deckard. Gardener left for Oregon with the Deckard Family in March 1853 and arrived there six months later. She married a blacksmith and lived in Albany, where she remained close to the Deckards throughout her life. National Historic Trails: Historical Routes of National Significance Wondering about National Historic Trails? Check out this infographic with basic information about the trails, their purpose, and where you can go for more information! Infographic about National Historic Trails featuring a map. Full description available at link. Child’s Play: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Laudanum is a tincture made from powdered opium, morphine, and codeine. Today it is available in the US only by prescription, but in the 19th century it was an inexpensive patent medicine used to quiet agitated minds, ease fever and pain, and relieve diarrhea. An overdose causes the victim to stop breathing, lapse into coma, and die. That’s what happened to six-year-old Salida Jane Henderson, called “Lettie,” while she camped with her family in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. A small green glass bottle with a cork topper. Can I Eat This: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails In 1849, many companies of gold seekers decided to follow the Applegate Trail to a new cutoff, said to be a quicker way to the goldfields. Lassen’s Cutoff turned out to be 200 miles longer than the established routes, extending the trip by weeks. Long before reaching the mines, most companies ran out of food. Starving men desperately filled their empty bellies with anything they could chew- rotting livestock lying trailside, boiled bits of leather, and plants, some poisonous. Clusters of small white flowers. Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Edwin Bryant, traveling overland to California in 1846, had only briefly studied medicine, and he never claimed to be a physician. But somewhere along Nebraska’s Platte River, a little boy from another party had gotten his leg crushed under wagon wheels. The child, eight or nine years old, survived but desperately needed medical attention. There being no doctor nearby, Bryant reluctantly agreed to examine him. A wooden wagon wheel with spokes radiating out from the center. Mother’s Mortal Mistake: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Joel Hills Johnson started along the trail in April 1857, on his way to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Big Mountain, less than 20 miles from the city, his group overtook a party of “apostates” – former Mormon converts who had abandoned their church and were leaving the Mormon realm. As was common practice, a mother of that party had stirred together a pan of bread dough in the morning and set it to rise in the wagon during the day... A risen bread loaf in a tin pan. Fatal missteps, Part 2: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Emigrants on the Truckee Route to California typically started across Nevada’s Fortymile Desert in the evening in order to avoid the heat of the midday sun. The one reliable place to find water along the desert trek was a place called Boiling Springs, where travelers could dip out and cool the precious water for their livestock to drink. Steam rises from a small pond that sits in a desert setting void of much vegetation Thunder Road: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails First comes a sudden stillness, then an unexpected cool breeze. Sunshine dims to darkness as growling, green-black clouds pile overhead, flickering with lightning. The wind rises. A brilliant bolt splits the air with a deafening crr-ACK, followed by momentary silence and then a violent, crashing boom that makes the living earth tremble... Lightning bolt in a dark sky. Fatal missteps, Part 1: Freak Accidents on the Westering Trails Devil’s Gate, near Independence Rock in south-central Wyoming, is a deep, V-shaped cleft cut through a granite ridge by the Sweetwater River. Curious emigrants, including the younger brother of pioneer Ezra Meeker, made side-trips to explore the scenic feature. A river squeezes through a narrow passage between two sheer rock walls National Historic Trails Scrapbooks Imagine if early travelers on the National Historic Trails had a polaroid camera... what would their scrapbooks look like? Though we have many journals describing their experiences, there are obviously very few or no photos at all from these journeys. Cameras didn't exist! Well, we took a crack at it and created scrapbook pages for them! Take a look at what we imagine a trail traveler's scrapbook would like! A scrapbook page depicting multiple scenes from the trail, and relevant icon images. Mill Creek Exhibits Audio Description Listen to the audio descriptions for the exhibits at Mill Creek in Independence, Missouri. Wayside exhibit audio descriptions for Mill Creek. Oregon and California National Historic Trails Fall 2021 Newsletter Read the latest project updates and completions for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails from the National Trails Office of the National Park Service (NPS). National Historic Trails Fashion Inspiration During NPS Fashion Week, we are exploring some ways fashion inspiration may be found on National Historic Trails (NHTs). On NHTs you’ll find intriguing colors, shapes, textures, histories, and stories. From golden sunsets to feathered hats, NHTs have diverse natural and cultural environments that can inspire the fashionista in us all! A red rock cliff with a path winding through it

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