The history of the Oregon Trail journey from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon, is part of most 4th grade teachers' curriculum as they relate the journey of early pioneers. These days, it can feel like parents are doing a bit of pioneering of their own as they navigate new ways to engage kids with education. If you and your family are looking for a way to bring learning home and/or see some historic sites firsthand, get our free Oregon Trail Activity Book full of activities and coloring pages inspired by real places and Oregon Trail history. You can order the free book online, and we'll ship it to your door, or for instant fun you can download the full book as a PDF.
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 Oregon Trail pioneers experienced throughout the expedition. The Oregon Trail Activity Guide sheds light on pioneer life, from what they packed in their limited wagon space to hand gestures used to communicate with Indigenous 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.
Laurel Hill - Look 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.
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 & Visitor Information 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.
Molly Johnson grew up in Mt. Hood Territory and loves getting to write content inspiring others to visit her beloved home.