The famed Oregon Trail, which brought thousands of settlers to the vast wilderness of the American West, stretched for about 2,000 miles, from St. Louis, Missouri, to western Oregon.
For many years the home of native Indian tribes, the Oregon Country began to be explored by white people. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806) paved the way for further westward movement.
Traveling by wagon using a simpler route, missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman headed toward Oregon’s Willamette Valley, stopping short of their goal and establishing a mission near what is now Walla Walla, Washington, in 1836.
The “Great Migration” of 1843 was made by a large group of pioneers traveling west by wagon train, thus beginning a steady flow of immigrants westward. In 1846 the British, who had earlier claimed the Oregon Territory, now ceded it to the United States. Fur traders, miners, and settlers followed this same route during the 1840’s to the 1860’s.
After leaving Fort Boise, settlers traveled toward the present town of Vale, Oregon, before heading north toward what is now Baker City, Oregon, and the Blue Mountains before going west toward Oregon City, Oregon.
For more information:
The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.