Driving the Oregon Trail by car is a terrific trip full of history and new adventures.
Celebrate the pioneering spirit that brought America west during the 1800s.The Tale of the Trail is dedicated to the many trails across the country, and those travelers that made the journey. They were the emigrants and pioneers full of hope and optimism at the prospect of owning land, and gaining wealth. In America, it no longer mattered who your parents were. America could truly be the land of opportunity.
Many groups offer information, knowledge, stories and places to learn more about the Trails that crossed America.You can learn more by joining Oregon-California Trails Association, a national organization that cares about trail history. If you look into your own genealogy you may find a pioneer in your not too distant past!
Oregon City was the end of the Trail. Dr. John McLoughlin was a good man and helped people settle after their long journey. Visit the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Oregon City, OR
The history of the Oregon City Falls is very rich. In 1889, the Willamette Falls Electric Company successfully transmitted d-c (direct current) electrical power from Oregon City fourteen miles to Portland. There is an easy exit viewpoint off Interstate 205 with a view of the falls.
Directly on interstate 84 as you head out the Columbia River Gorge. Troutdale is a community with a rich historic past. It's agreat stop along the trail. Be sure and check out their caboose museum and general store.
The Barlow Road
The Barlow Road allowed thousands of Oregon Trail emigrants to travel overland to the Willamette Valley rather than risk floating the dangerous Columbia River.
A stop at Multnomah Falls is a must if you make it to this area. Beware it is a left lane exit off Interstate 84 for an easy stop along the trail. It’s a nice hike and a fabulous view of the Columbia River.
The Mount Hood Railroad Hood River, OR
If you are a rail fan Hood River Railroad is an amazing ride. Take time to explore Hood River for lunch, find some of their famous apples, learn more about their windsurfing fame and their rich history.
BLM Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Baker City, OR. This is the centerpiece to your education about travel on the trail. You can spend one hour or four enjoying exhibits, movie and displays. It's at the top of the hill with a vantage point overlooking the trail. You can even take time to walk on the trail if you are so inspired.
Geiser Grand Hotel
Baker City, OR. Built in 1889, the rich history of this renovated hotel makes your time there even more precious. There is real gold on display in the bank across the street! You can discover the mining history on your own.
Oregon/California Trail Center
Montpelier, ID. An incredible source of education and information from their website or museum.
Pocatello, ID. A visit to the Fort Hall Replica is to enter the 19th Century world of explorers, trappers, fur traders, Native Americans, pioneers, Gold seekers, historic figures, and common folk; all of whom visited the place called Fort Hall on the banks of the Snake River in what is now Southeast Idaho.
Soda Springs, ID
If you are willing to leave the Interstate and enter the back roads this trip gives the kids a chance to smell the sulfur from the hot springs without traveling all the way to Yellowstone. The Oregon Trail passed through Soda Springs, which was then known as the “Oasis of Soda Springs”.
Independence, WY. Independence Rock was the most-noted landmark on the emigrant trails west of Fort Laramie.
Casper, WY. In 1859, Louis Guinard built a trading post and a bridge near the point where the Mormon Pioneer Company crossed the North Platte River in 1847.
Fort Laramie, WY
Originally established as a private fur trading fort in 1834, Fort Laramie evolved into the largest and best known military post on the Northern Plains.
Cheyenne, WY Big Boy Steam Engine
Cheyenne, WY. Surviving Big Boy Steam Engine #404 is displayed in Holliday Park on US 30.
Marysville Pony Express Museum,
Marysville, KS. This number one home station is valuable history of the trail that still exists in Kansas.
Marshall County Historical Society
Marysville, KS. The old courthouse museum is like a time capsule. It is a precious collection of living history on display.
Independence, MO. Everyone should belong to this valuable organization to help you live history first-hand.
Frontier Trails Museum,
Independence, MO. Whether this is the start of your trail trip or the end of the trail, this museum and this story are an important part of history. This city is the home of Harry Truman and his presidential library and well worth the visit.
Discover your own family roots!
Knowing your own family history and back story helps inspire you to be a better American.