Teaching young kids the significance of our nation's history, like the Oregon Trail journey from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon, is part of most 4th grade teachers' curriculum. It's no small task, and while you can't relive the past, nor would you realistically want to be confronted with the challenges the pioneers faced, it's vitally important for our youth to understand all that was sacrificed in that journey.
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The city of Oregon City in Mt. Hood Territory is the official end of the Oregon Trail. In 2018 while commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, (yes, 175 years, time flies, right?) we were inspired to create an entertaining and interactive tool that would resonate with kids and adults, explaining the trials and tribulations the pioneers experienced throughout the expedition and why it was worth it. Our free Oregon Trail Activity & Coloring Book is that tool and is a history lesson camouflaged in FUN! The guide sheds light on pioneer life, from what to pack in their limited wagon space, to hand gestures used to communicate with Native American tribes, to tracking skills. It is a tactile tutorial that stands out in this digital age, and hopefully arouses your curiosity to see these historical sites in person as well as the other splendors that make up Mt. Hood Territory.
Summit Meadow - Camp at Still Creek Campground or stay at Summit Meadow Cabins and forage for huckleberries at Summit Meadow across the way or along the hike to Mirror Lake and Tom Dick and Harry Mountain to add some sweet nourishment to your picnic in August.
Laurel Hill - Look out in awe at the site and imagine what it must have been like to lower a wagon down the steep hill while finding a deep appreciation for our ease of access to this area now.
Wild & Scenic Clackamas River - Use the assistance of one of our expert guides to take you on an adventure down the rapids that resembles what the pioneers attempted to float down on the Columbia River in order to reach their destination.
Philip Foster Farm - Visit the preserved historic home of this early pioneer family, and try activities like blacksmithing, log cabin building and corn grinding, or take part in one of their annual celebratory events.
Wildwood Recreation Site - Check out the underwater fish viewing window at Cascade Streamwatch, travel along the same path as the pioneers and even see remaining swales from their wagons. This multiuse site will bring joy to your family all day long.
Jonsrud Viewpoint - Color in the Jonsrud Viewpoint image on page 16 of the Activity Guide and then visit the actual site to see how spot-on your vision was to reality. Bring your camera, you'll want a picture of this gorgeous location.
The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Step foot at the official end of the long journey for the pioneers in Oregon City, and hear the stories recorded from actual pioneers. Dedicated volunteers will help your kids make their own candles and butter, just like children did in the 1800s.
The western frontier was a dream that hundreds of thousands of Americans risked everything for, selling most of their possessions, walking every step of the more than 2,000- mile trail with family in tow, while braving the unknown. It was that important to reach the farmland here, and we are able to live and visit today because of their determination. So come enjoy our beautiful four-season climate and experiences to match, while making lasting memories with your family.
Next Steps: Order your free Activity Guide