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Itinerary: Oregon Trail

From Courthouse Square in Independence, Missouri to Oregon City on the Willamette River, the Oregon Trail was the first road west for Americans migrating from the east 150 years ago. The length of the trail was 1,923 miles, and it was used from 1843 to 1868. The trip took five to six months to complete, and most emigrant wagons traveled at an average speed of 12-20 miles per day.

The highest point of the Oregon Trail was at 7,500 feet at South Pass near Lander, Wyoming. Over 350,000 people are estimated to have traveled the Oregon Trail during its working days, making it the greatest mass migration in human history. As many as 35,000 people perished along the route. The Trail allowed the United States to expand west through Oregon and achieve its national "Manifest Destiny" to reach from "sea to shining sea" by sheer force of population.

The Western Wagon Jamboree is an annual event held in late May in Douglas. The event features wagon driving and pulling competitions, music, vendors, a horse and wagon auction and an old west cookout. The second weekend in August, Glennís Ferry, Idaho, recreates the most difficult river crossing of the Oregon Trail. Numerous other events commemorating the spirit of the pioneers occur all summer long. Tours and packages are being offered throughout the length of the trail and are available by contacting receptive operators found within this publication.

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