As the harbinger of America's westward expansion, the Oregon Trail was the pathway to the Pacific for fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries and others. Beginning in 1841 and continuing for more than 20 years, an estimated 300,000 emigrants followed this route from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon on a trip that took five months to complete. The 2,170 mile long trail passes through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
Many of the sites and segments are on public land and are open to visitors. Others are located on private lands (please obtain the landowners permission before entry). The approximate route can still be followed by automobile, and opportunities are available to travel by foot, horse, or mountain bike in many places. Information on trail routes and history is available from the National Park Service Long Distance Trails Office. Information on accessibility and travel conditions along the cross-country segments is best obtained from local offices of the Bureau of Land Management or the National Forest Service. Agency addresses are listed below.
For more information on a prominent natural landmark for emigrants on the Oregon and California Trails: visitor center/museum, bookstore, drive or hike to summit, or visit to train ruts. Write Scotts Bluff National Monument, PO Box 27, Gering, Nebraska 69341-0027, or call (308) 436-4340.
Homestead National Monument can suggest places to visit along the trail corridor or auto tour route in Nebraska. Write Homestead National Monument, Route 3, Box 47, Beatrice, Nebraska 66310, or call (402) 223-3514.
Visit Scotts Bluff National Monument, a prominent natural landmark for emigrants on the Oregon & California trails: visitor center/museum, bookstore, drive or hike to summit, visit trail ruts. Write Scotts Bluff National Monument, P. O. Box 27, Gering, Nebraska 69341-0027, or call (308) 436-4340.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site can provide information on the Whitman Route of the Oregon Trail & local area visitor information. Write Whitman Mission National Historic Site, Route 2, Box 247, Walla Walla, WA 99362, or call (509) 522-6360.
The primary information office for the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express National Historic Trails is the Bureau of Land Management, Historic Trails Office. They can provide a wealth of information on trail routes, historic sites and accessibility and trail conditions. Write Bureau of Land Management, Historic Trails Office, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY 82601, or call (307) 261-7600.
The Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center (National Forest Service, BLM Surface Management & USGS 7.5 Minute Topos) can provide Idaho state maps, various other maps of Idaho and western Wyoming and books on Idaho and surrounding attractions. Write Bureau of Land Management, Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center, 505 Lindsay Boulevard, P. O. Box 50498, Idaho Falls, ID 83405, or call (208) 523-1012.
The Pocatello Resource Area is where several historic trail segments crossed. It can provide several pamphlets on trails in the area, and the publication "Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho." Write Bureau of Land Management, Pocatello Resource Area, 1111 No. 8th Ave., Pocatello, ID 83201, or call (208) 236- 6860.
The Oregon State Office can provide a BLM Oregon Recreation Guide. Write Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office, 1515 Southwest 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97201, or call (503) 280- 7001.
The National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center offers a museum, interpretive programs and information on the Oregon Trail in eastern Oregon. Write National Historic Oregon Trail, Interpretive Center, Baker Resource Area Headquarters, P.O. Box 987, Baker City, OR 97814, or call (503) 523-1845.
National Forest Service: Caribou National Forest can provide information on travel in southeast Idaho, the Lander Cutoff and Soda Springs. Write Caribou National Forest, 421 West 2nd South, Soda Springs, ID 83276, or call (208) 236-7500.
For information on trail conditions on the crossing section of the Oregon Trail, write National Forest Service Blue Mountain, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, LaGrande Ranger District, 3502 Highway 30, LaGrande, OR 97850, or call (503) 936-7186.
For end of the Oregon Trail Loop tour brochure & info. on trail resources on the river route, write National Forest Service, Columbia River Gorge, National Scenic Area, 902 Wasco Ave., Suite 200, Hood River, OR 97031, or call (503) 386-2333.
To obtain a map and conditions along the Barlow Road, write National Forest Service, Mount Hood National Forest, Zigzag Ranger District, 70220 E. Hwy 26, Zigzag, OR 97049, or call (503) 622-3191.
For an excellent source for information on the Barlow road, including a detailed map, information on hiking, camping and historic sites along the route, write National Forest Service, Mt. Hood National Forest, Bear Springs Ranger District, Route 1, Box 222, Maupin, OR 97037, or call (503) 328-6211.
To obtain information on the Whitman route of the Oregon Trail, write National Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest, Walla Walla Ranger District, 1415 West Rose Street, Walla Walla, Washington 99362, or call (509) 522-6290.
State Historic sites and Organizations
Fort Kearny State Historic Park was the first military post along the Oregon Trail. It has a museum, outdoor exhibits and bookstore. Write Fort Kearny State Historical Park, Route 4, Kearney, NE 68847, or call (308) 234-9513.
To view prominent Oregon Trail ruts, Windlass Hill, museum and outdoor exhibits, write Ash Hollow State Historical Park, P.O. Box A, Lewellen, NE 69147, or call (308) 778-5651.
For information on Oregon, California, Pony Express and Mormon Trails in southwest Wyoming, and to see a restored military and fur trade post, museum and outdoor exhibits, write Fort Bridger State Historic Site, Box 35, Fort Bridger, WY 82933, or call (307) 782-3842.
To see Oregon Trail ruts, Register Rock and hiking trails and also enjoy campfire programs in summer, visit Massacre Rocks State Park. Write Massacre Rocks State Park, 3592 N. Park Lane, American Falls, ID 83211, or call (208) 548-2672.
Three Island Crossing State Park can provide brochures and information on the location of Oregon Trail ruts/remnants in the area of Three Island Ford. It also has interpretive programs in summer. Write Three Island Crossing State Park, P. O. Box 609, Glenns Ferry, ID 83623, or call (208) 336-2394.
The Oregon Trail Coordinating Council can provide detailed information on the Oregon Trail across the state of Oregon. Write Oregon Trail Coordinating Council, 222 NW Davis, Suite 309, Portland, OR 97205, or call (503) 228-7245.
The Eastern Oregon Visitors Association can provide information on attractions and the Oregon Trail in eastern Oregon. Write Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, P. O. Box 1087, Baker City, OR 97814.
For Additional Information Contact:
National Historic Trail
For more information visit the National Park Service website