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oregon trail

The Oregon Trail and Native Heritage are woven into Oregon history in many varied ways. Today we celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and the Native Tribes in Oregon

The Oregon Trail History

The Oregon Trail was a 2,170-mile, large-wheeled wagon route, from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers to emigrate west in in the mid-1800s. The trail was filled with peril – potential accidents, ailments, and steep climbs, and crossing through Indian territories – but it paved the way for the United States to expand to the west.

Contrary to popular Hollywood depictions, most Indians were tolerant, helpful even, of the pioneer wagons that drove through their lands, at least initially. Over time, relationships between the Indians and pioneers deteriorated. The passing of the Oregon Donation Land Act, encouraged settlement into the area in 1850. Slowly relations improved. Today Interstate 84 passes through towns originally established to serve those using the Oregon Trail. There are currently nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon: Burns Paiute of Harney County; Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians; Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; Confederated Tribes of Siletz; Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Reservation; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians; Coquille Indian Tribe; and Klamath Tribes.

To learn more about Oregon’s native heritage of the land, check out:

Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, located on the Umatilla Reservation, about 15-minutes from Pendleton, is the only tribal-run museum that highlights the history and culture of Native Americans along the Oregon Trail. While there, visit the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts – it’s the only fine-print studio on a reservation.

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center offers living history demonstrations, interpretive programs, exhibits, multi-media presentations, special events, and more than four miles of interpretive trails. The outdoor wagon encampment, trails and access to the historic ruts are open daily. Located five miles east of Baker City, on Highway 86, Exit 302 from Interstate 84, 125 miles northwest of Boise, 95 miles southeast of Pendleton.

The Museum at Warm Springs houses a large collection of North American Indian artifacts. 2189 US-26 in Warm Springs.

Chachalu Museum and Cultural Center tells the story of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde — the community, Tribe, and culture that has persisted despite the challenges. 9615 Grand Ronde Road
In Grand Ronde.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art at the Portland Art Museum has a Native American art collection with 3,500 prehistoric and historic objects created by some 200 cultural groups from throughout North America. 1219 SW Park Avenue in Portland.


The Oregon trail of Waterfalls represents countless hours, many sketches, and endless conversations to help make your next Oregon road trip one to remember. We look forward to seeing you soon. Please complete the form below to receive your free limited edition map now, while supplies last! If you prefer to view a digital version of the map or if you’re outside the U.S. or Canada, click here.

oregon waterfalls map request

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NEXT: Click on each image below to create your own epic Oregon road trip! Click here to view a digital map with interactive links.

We look forward to seeing you on the Oregon Trail!

oregon trail game online

The Oregon Trail game online continues to educate and entertain people to this day!

The iconic Oregon Trail game from the ‘70s taught kids about the life of a 19th century pioneer on the Oregon Trail. Do you remember playing the role of wagon leader and guiding your group of settlers along the Oregon Trail? Go to VisitOregon online and click on the first game image to launch The Oregon Trail game and play it online now!

Here’s a video of someone playing the Oregon Trail game.

History of The Oregon Trail Game

Oregon Trail is an older, very popular computer game that was developed by Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger back in 1971. It was then put out on the market in 1974 by MECC. The game is simple and was created to teach school children about the life of a 19th century pioneer on the Oregon Trail. You get to play the role of a wagon leader and guide your group of chosen settlers from Independence, Missouri, to the Willamette Valley in Oregon while traveling along the Oregon Trail in 1848. The game has since been released multiple time on multiple platforms by various game makers and publishers who acquired the rights.

The Oregon Trail is a game that was created by Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger in 1971. In 1974 it went to market by MECC (the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium; later Corporation).

The Oregon Trail is a simple game. It was developed to teach kids in school about the life of a 19th century pioneer on the Oregon Trail. In the game, you’re assigned the role of wagon leader and it’s your job to guide your group of settlers from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The idea is you’re making the treacherous trek back in 1848. The game became incredibly popular and has since been released many times on many different platforms by many different publishers who over the years acquired the right to the game.

While The Oregon Trail became the most famous of the games, though MECC also created: The Yukon Trail, Number Munchers, Storybook Weaver, The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary, Lemonade Stand, Word Munchers, and DinoPark Tycoon.

And MECC took the production of these games very, very, seriously. All of their games had to do four things, according to an interview the creators granted to Smithsonian Magazine:
1. The information in their games had to historically accurate.
2. The learning had to be woven throughout a game, it could not be parsed out.
3. Each game had to include detailed documentation for teachers to use in class.
4. The games had to be fun!


Questions About the Oregon Trail Game

Can you play Oregon Trail online for free?
Yes, you can play the Oregon Trail game online for FREE! The game runs on your web browser, so you won’t even need to download anything!

Where can I play the Oregon Trail game?
You can play the Oregon Trail game for free here.


The Oregon trail of Waterfalls represents countless hours, many sketches, and endless conversations to help make your next Oregon road trip one to remember. We look forward to seeing you soon. Please complete the form below to receive your free limited edition map now, while supplies last! If you prefer to view a digital version of the map or if you’re outside the U.S. or Canada, click here.

oregon waterfalls map request

* indicates required









NEXT: Click on each image below to create your own epic Oregon road trip! Click here to view a digital map with interactive links.


PS – Best of luck as you play the iconic The Oregon Trail game online!