The first interstate highway in the U.S. wasn’t created until 1940. But that doesn’t mean travelers didn’t want to cross state lines until then. Before even the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, migrants made their way from state to state on foot, horseback, and eventually in wagons. After years of traffic, trails formed like the Oregon Trail formed. Spanning from modern-day Missouri to Oregon, nearly 400,000 people used the nearly 3,000-mile Oregon Trail from 1830 to 1869.
We’ll check out the states and their sites along the Oregon Trail and how to measure the distance between the start and end points of the Oregon Trail with the help of the map below.
View Oregon Tail Map 1883 in a full screen map
The Oregon Trail was named for its western endpoint, which is also home to many of its 98 landmarks. However, notable trail sites aren’t only located in Oregon, as you’ll see on the map and the list below.
- Wyoming – 21 Oregon Trail sites
- Oregon – 17
- Nebraska – 16
- Missouri – 16
- Idaho – 14
- Kansas – 13
- Washington – 2
Even though Wyoming is home to the most Oregon Trail sites, we’ll focus on the sites located in the trail’s namesake. The 17 sites located in Oregon include six museums such as the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City and two parks: Birnie Park in La Grande and Celilo Park in The Dalles. There are also multiple overlooks, viewpoints, centers, and kiosks located throughout Oregon, among the many more types of trail sites in the six other states along the Oregon Trail.
Click around on the map to view the sites of the other states that are a part of the trail, including its easternmost sites in Missouri. Otherwise, stick around while we dive deeper into the Oregon Trail sites’ types.
From historic sites to swales, there are many types of sites you can still see along the Oregon Trail. The 17 types depicted in the following table prove that no matter your interests, the Oregon Trail has something for everyone.
|Oregon Trail Site Type
|Swales or Ruts
|Rest or Recreation Area
|Overlook or Viewpoint
|Landing, Crossing, or Pass
|Center or Kiosk
|Monument or Grave
|Rock or Spring
|Heritage Area or Trail
|Butte or Hill
Let’s take a look at some of the more common types.
The most common Oregon Trail sites are parks. Among the 18 located throughout the seven states of the trail are state parks, national parks, parks with springs, and even one park-and-marina.
Both the Ash Hollow State Historical Park and Fort Kearny State Historical Park are located along the trail in Nebraska. Meanwhile, Oregon Trail fans near Idaho can visit Massacre Rocks State Park or Three Island Crossing State Park.
Also in Idaho is the Oregon Trail Park and Marina. This park contains a lake that’s available for swimming and fishing. It’s also home to some original Oregon Trail wagon swales—sunken or marshy places.
Alcove Spring Swales is one of the many Oregon Trail sites with its original swales or ruts still intact. Heavy wagon after heavy wagon (up to thousands) dug into the ground, creating ruts. These ruts were deepened and lengthened by wagons wet from river crossings, which made the ground muddy.
You can find these original indentations throughout many of the Oregon Trail sites, though the following six are known for them:
- Alcove Spring Swales (Kansas)
- Bedlam Ruts (Wyoming)
- Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site (Wyoming)
- National Historic Oregon Trail Center- Trail Ruts (Oregon)
- Oregon Trail Historic Reserve (Idaho)
- Wieduwilt Swales (Missouri)
Don’t miss your chance to learn about the other types of trail sites on the map above using map grouping. Now, let’s move on to distance.
So where did the Oregon trail end? On one end of the Oregon Trail is the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center while Blue Mills marks the end on the other side.
Curious about the exact distance between these two points, or any two points on a map? Let’s take a look at how to break out your digital measuring tape and measure the distance between two markers on any BatchGeo map.
- Open your BatchGeo map and select the measuring tool with a ruler icon, which is available to all BatchGeo Pro users
- Click and hold where you want to begin a measurement (such as your starting point marker)
- Drag the cursor to the end of your measurement (like the endpoint of the trail)
- As you drag, you’ll see the current distance from the initial point to the current cursor
- Switch between metric and imperial systems by clicking the scale on the bottom right of the map
According to our calculations, the Oregon Trail is 2,170 miles long. That’s nearly 500 miles shy of the length of the Pacific Crest Trail. For more mapping inspiration, also check out Mapping the Appalachian Trail: Landmarks and Milestones or even Route 66 Map: Historic Locations You Can Still Find.