Pioneers reach the end of the trail

By Mina Watson |

Although emigrants from the East Coast set off on the Oregon Trail with dreams of exciting adventures in their heads, actually making it across the country in a wagon was difficult. During their trips, these trailblazers often encountered unusual sights or frightening occurrences, with some poor pioneers losing their belongings, family members or even their lives along the way. However, once the emigrants finally made their way to Oregon, the long journey to their new lives in the West seemed worth it. As they neared the end of the trail, The Dalles welcomed them to Oregon and filled them with great hope.

The Dalles is known as the end of the Oregon Trail, according to the Oregon-California Trails Association. First inhabited by Lewis and Clark in the early 1800s, The Dalles camp is located along Mill Creek on the very northern border of Oregon. When pioneers finally reached this site after spending as much as five months on the trail, they were able to use the waterway at The Dalles to sail right into Oregon City. These emigrants were surely very tired after traveling some 2,000 miles along the trail and were very glad to be able to load their wagons on barges and give their poor animals a rest.

Although The Dalles was established as a campsite during the very first days of the Oregon Trail, an actual fort was not built at Mill Creek until 1850. Today, only the Surgeon's Quarters, one of the buildings that once made up Fort Dalles, is still standing. This structure has been incorporated into the Fort Dalles Museum, along with a great deal of military artifacts and different products left over from the trail. Students learning about the Oregon Trail are sure to have a fantastic time exploring this educational site.

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