The Oregon Trail is the name given to an important historic trail that connected the various cities on the Missouri River to Oregon Country, which later became Oregon Territory. The trail spanned the future states of Kansas (partial), Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. It spanned more than half of the country and was one of the most important migration routes that allowed pioneers to travel across the United States and settle new parts of the country. The trail was originally used by traders and fur trappers from around 1811, but at this time it could only be passed on horseback or by walking. In the 1830′s wagon trails were cleared in the region and eventually reached the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This trail was improved each year as more people made the journey. By 1845, just a few years after the trail had opened, more than 3,000 migrants made the journey and by the close of the trail it is estimated that 400,000 people had made the journey! Let’s find out the distance of the Oregon Trail.
How long is the Oregon Trail?
The Oregon trail is approximately 2,000 mi (3,200 km) long although there were a number of different shortcuts that became popular during the time. However, the basic route remained the same during this time because it provided access to water and grass for the animals. The trip took more than 160 days when the trail opened, but with improvements to the trail this was reduced to about 140 days in 1860. Other trails, such as the California Trail and the Mormon Trail both utilized the Oregon trail for much of its length! Although the trail was abandoned not long after the construction of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, modern highways follow much of the route.