18. History of the Oregon Trail

Between 1811 and 1830, fur trappers laid down the Oregon Trail. Initially the trail could only be accessed on horseback or foot. By 1836 the first migrant trains of wagons began to cross the terrain. The wagon trains started in Independence, Missouri and traveled West. Slowly but surely improvements to the roads were made. The trail covered over 2,000 miles and stretched all the way to Oregon.

Topographical map of the road from Missouri to Oregon, commencing at the mouth of the Kansas in the Missouri River and ending at the mouth of the Walla-Wallah in the Columbia. (Image Courtesy of Library of Congress)