By Jan Jackson
Most people have heard of the Oregon Trail though they may not be aware of all the details.
For those who don’t know, it was a wagon road stretching 2170 miles from Missouri to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Between the 1840s through the 1880s, thousands of people, all for reasons of their own, packed up what they thought they could carry and came west. Some folks came for adventure and some because things weren’t going well for them where they were.
The Oregon Trail migration is full of heart-breaking stories, but those stories show what people were like that settled the West. The courage and ingenuity it took to make the six-month-long trip boggles the mind.
The best place to find out the details of this story is at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon, located five miles east of Baker City ((22267 OR Highway 88, Baker City, OR 97814). You don’t get but a few feet inside and you know you are someplace you are going to remember. Using life size displays, films and live theater presentations, it’s all there and it’s special.
Rates depend on the season. Free year round for kids under the age of 16, winter rates are $5.00 adults and $4.50 for senior citizens. Summer rates are $8.00 and $6.00. If you have one of the National Park passes, you may get in free of charge – you can check that out at www.oregontrails.blm.gov.
Know Before You Go:
- Pets are ALLOWED but must be LEASHED. Service animals only inside the Interpretive Center.
- No food or drink is permitted inside the Interpretive Center.
- OPEN 9: am – 6 pm. Hours of operation change seasonally and may be impacted by severe weather events. Please call 541-523-1843 for more information on planning your visit. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
- Download a free brochure to plan your visit: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/val-nhotic-brochure.pdf
- Read Morris Pike’s story of Two Oregon Trails
- For another Oregon trail story, read Morris Pike’s “The Diary of Snap Wolf” based on the real life story of OR 7 – the Wolf that walked 1200 miles across Oregon in search of a mate. Ideal way for grade school students to learn about wolves, Oregon and never giving up.