The Oregon Trail stretched west from the Mississippi River all the way
to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were
important trailblazers for this historic journey, making the first covered
wagon trip to Oregon in 1836. Less than ten years later, in 1843,
massive migration along the Oregon Trail kicked off with a wagon train
departing Missouri. Travelers began their journey from St. Louis,
following the Missouri River west to Independence or other "jumping off"
points. Oregon was not the only destination; settlers headed for
California, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Idaho also followed the trail
over the mountains before splitting off towards their final
destinations. Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans were
not the greatest threat to settlers, but often helped them. Poor
sanitation, cholera, and accidental gunshots were actually the greatest
cause of death along the trail. More than a half-million people
traveled west along this corridor before the advent of the
transcontinental railroad in 1969.
Stone Marker for the Oregon Trail
• Oregon - Find travel information, maps, tourist resources, and more photos of Oregon.
• Oregon National Historic Trail - Learn about this historic pioneer route between Missouri and Oregon.