Oregon National Historic Trail

Black and white drawing of the Oregon Trail map from Missouri to OregonThe Oregon Trail is a historic east-west wagon route stretching across a large section of the country from St. Louis, Missouri to the Williamette Valley in Oregon. From the early 1800s up through the end of the century, thousands of travellers relied upon the 2,000 mile route to get them to their new home in the west.  Major side routes branched off from the Oregon Trail including the California Trail splitting off in southern Idaho, and the Mormon Trail which paralleled much of the Oregon Trail, connecting Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City.

 logo for the Oregon National Historic Trail wiht a wagon National Trail Designation

The Oregon Trail was designated by Congress as a National Historic Trail in 1978 under P.L. 95-25 (amending the National Trails System Act of 1968). Although many sections of the trail are managed by various agencies, the National Park Service is the official administrator.  The National Park Service also completed a Comprehensive Management and Use Plan for the trail in 1981.

National historic trails were established by Congress for the purpose of identifying and protecting the historic route and its historic remnants and artifacts for public use and enjoyment. The Act directs the route to follow as closely as possible and practicable the original trails or routes of travel of national historic significance. 

Interpretive Opportunities

As you travel through Baker and Union Counties along I-84 there are two great opportunities to explore and learn about this historic trail and the emigrants that endured it's hardships.

3 people walking into a wildflower lined path to the Oregon Trail Interpretive CenterNational Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located about 5 miles east of Baker City, Oregon on Highway 86 and has extensive historic and educational displays. A variety of historic re-enactments, living history presentations, videos, and workshops are hosted each month. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management, the center is open daily except Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day. (The photo of the Center and Oregon Trail map above is provided by the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center).



Oregon Trail wagon ruts going through a pine forest

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mountain Crossing

Located off of I-84, the Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mountain Crossing offers an opportunity for local and regional travellers to better understand and discover the trials of climbing over the Blue Mountains of Oregon. The Park has several short interpretive trails, restrooms and picnic areas. It is operated by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and open from early summer through the fall. RV parking and accessible facilities are available.


The Interpretive Park recreation area guide has more information about the facility, operating hours and associated day-use fees. 

The Blue Mountain segment of the Oregon National Historic Trail is the only significant section of the trail in the National Forest System. The 7 mile stretch from mile 1636 to 1653 is found on Forest Service lands within the total 17 mile Blue Mountain area.

More Information

For more information about the Oregon Trail history and travellers visit these websites: