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oregon trail road trip

this summer, shall we ford the river or caulk the wagon and float it across? (this is actually a mix of the oregon, mormon, and california trails, because we live in california and need to get home eventually)

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Oregon Trail Ruts in Guernsey, WY

Oregon Trail Ruts in Guernsey, WY

Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT

Lou Tauberts Ranch Outfitters in Casper, WY

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Independence Rock in Alcova, WY

Independence Rock in Alcova, WY

Pony Express Station, Gothenburg NB in Big Springs, NE

Pony Express Station, Gothenburg NB in Big Springs, NE

Fort Laramie Historic Site in Fort Laramie, WY

Fort Laramie Historic Site in Fort Laramie, WY

Fort Kearney State Park in Kearney, NE. This is a reconstructed stockade -- the outlines of the original foundations of the fort buildings are still extant. We found it most impressive for its enormous mature trees -- many originally planted while the fort was still in commission.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site in Bayard, NE. The trail up to the rock does close when the visitor center closes, but if you're running behind, you can still get a pretty good view at sunset.

California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, NV. We accidentally missed the exit and drove an extra mile or two out of our way just to make the U-turn and get back there -- so glad we did. Incredible little museum.

California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, NV

Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

Windlass Hill

Windlass Hill

Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, NE

Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, NE

Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, NE

Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, NE

Railroad Town at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, NE. Check in on the tinsmith and buy a handmade tin cup, see how an old sawmill worked, buy candy and soap at the general store, then sit down for an old-fashioned sandwich and sarsaparilla.

National Historic Oregon Trail Cholera Cemetery in Louisville, KS

Louis Vieux Family Cemetery near Louisville, KS. This lonesome burial plot along the old Oregon Trail route is worth a visit. The headstones have been lovingly recorded and preserved where possible, and there's even a little picnic bench down at the bottom of the hill. Good views down onto the neighboring countryside.

The entire village of Arrow Rock has been designated a National Historic Landmark recognizing its association with Westward Expansion, the Santa Fe Trail and artist George Caleb Bingham.

South Pass City, Wyoming A ghost town with the illustrious distinction of being the birthplace of women’s suffrage in the US, South Pass City has seen a recent return to semi-glory. Restoration has been done with such authenticity and attention to detail that every one of the 30 historical buildings, containing over 30,000 mostly original artifacts, is a delight to enter and explore. The hotel rooms look inviting enough to rent, the saloons to enjoy a drink.

Church Butte by miocyon, via Flickr

Western Mining & Railroad Museum in Helper, UT

Echo Canyon, Utah.

Granger Stage Station - Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office,

Sonora Pass in California

California National Historic Trail - The Forty-Mile Desert was a barren stretch of waterless alkali wasteland, the most dreaded part of the California Trail. Emigrants entered this valley via the Humboldt River. If possible, the Forty Mile Desert was crossed at night. Regardless of its horrors, it was the accepted trail. A survey in 1850 showed the following statistics: 1,061 dead mules, almost 5,000 horses, 3,750 cattle and 953 graves. The heaviest traffic came from 1849 to 1869.

A living history of emigrants on the Oregon Trail and a museum with Oregon Trail artifacts. Call ahead in the winter to schedule a tour. 208-847-3800

Deeth - Nevada Ghost Town

Oregon and Pony Express Trails, Alexandria Nebraska, Heritage Highway 136

visit to This Is the Place Heritage Park - walking through old pioneer buildings and getting a good view of the city

The Natural History Museum is a beautiful space nestled in the foothills of Salt Lake City in Research Park at the University of Utah.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park near Fairbury, Nebraska

Hollenberg Ranch Pony Express Station, near Hanover. Pony Express Riders carried the Overland Mail through 1,966 miles of territory, now eight states. This is the only unaltered station in its original location.

Carissa... The Carissa Mine is what brought people to South Pass City, Wyoming.

Map image of the auto tour route driving directions across Wyoming.

Image map of the auto tour route driving directions across Nebraska.

the tracy aviary, salt lake city

utah natural history museum, slc

fort churchill, nevada -- a u.s. army fort and waystation on the pony express, c. 1860

a glimpse of the old brick paving of the lincoln highway near elkhorn, nebraska

Rock Creek Pony Express Station, Fairbury NE

Devil's Gate, WY

US Route 50 - The Loneliest Road, Sand Springs Pony Express Station and Sand Mountain

US Route 50 - The Loneliest Road, Cold Springs Pony Express Station and Frenchman Lakebed

Pony Express route - Nevada

Image map of the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, & Pony Express national historic trails across the United States.

Known as the "Register of the Desert," Independence Rock was a key landmark for pioneers as they picked their way across the American frontier. Hundreds of names have been carved into the hard stone over the years. Travelers of the Oregon Trail raced to reach Independence Rock by the fourth of July when a giant celebration was held each year. The rock was named by William Sublette in 1830 in honor of the birth date of the United States. Arriving at this location by the fourth of July assured the the wagon trains would make it through the Rockies before winter.

The Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site at Guernsey, Wyoming. Photo by Anita Mae Draper, September 21st, 2009.

Split Rock Oregon Trail wyoming

Ash Hollow State Historical Park, Nebraska. On the original Oregon Trail, there are still wagon ruts and an old stone cabin.

The Parting of the Ways is where the Oregon and California Trails fork from the original route to Fort Bridger to an alternative route, the Sublette-Greenwood Cutoff, across the Little Colorado Desert. Many wagon trains parted company, some preferring the shorter cutoff route, which involved fifty waterless miles, to the longer but better-watered main route.

Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska, 1986

Cemetery WY Independence Rock - Graves are scattered along the Oregon Trail route. There are three graves at Independence Rock. They are protected by an iron fence.

Oregon Trail

Harold Warp Pioneer Village - largest private collection of Americana anywhere, includes a Pony Express station and a sod house

Parting of the ways pioneer historical marker, Oregon trail WY

Nebraska: Oregon Trail: Eagle Rock is the most mention landmark mentioned in the diaries of those who traveled on the Oregon Trail.

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie

The music for this place was great in the Oregon Trail videogame

Located along the old Oregon Trail

Ash Hollow State Historical Park -- Windlass Hill

Fort Cody Trading Post, North Platte, Nebraska

Kearney, Nebraska

Scotts Bluff National Monument by Zack Frank #SeeAmerica

blue mound, near lawrence, kansas -- the first "mountain" pioneers would see on the oregon trail -- not exactly the rockies.

shawnee indian mission, fairway, kansas -- one of the first major buildings pioneers encountered in "Indian country"

national frontier trails center, independence, missouri

national frontier trails center, independence, missouri

courthouse, independence, missouri

santa-cali-gon days, independence, missouri

vaile mansion, independence, missouri