As the official end of the Oregon Trail, history comes to life at our museums, interpretive centers and famous landmarks. Visit these locations with the family for a historically great time.
The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located at the very spot pioneers camped in Oregon City when they finished their journey west. This interactive museum highlights the stories of the pioneers who came across on the famed road, and the indigenous peoples that lived here for centuries prior. A new film was just added in their theater called "Oregon's First People" which was created in partnership with the Grand Ronde Tribe.
The museum also offers fun and interactive family activities like candle dipping, butter making and packing a wagon to get a quick feel for life back in the 1800s. (Photo: Kayla of This Messy Season)
Known as the father of Oregon for his role in assisting exhausted Oregon Trail pioneers once they reached the end of their journey, Dr. John McLoughlin resided in Oregon City in a home he had built in 1845, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the grounds are available; check ahead for times. Fun fact: This location is a National Parks Passport stamp cancellation location.
Philip Foster was one of Oregon's earliest pioneers, and his farm remains today much like it was then. But of course some new has been added to the historic. Alexa skills now guide through the buildings and share stories of the fabled residents. Another recent addition is the restoration of the historic sawmill on site. Each fall Philip Foster Farm hosts a cider squeeze where visitors can press their own apples or those from the farm. Spend the day with family enjoying live music, food and of course, cider!
The Museum of the Oregon Territory overlooks historic Willamette Falls, offering an amazing view of this natural wonder. Kids can learn about the history of the region through fun hands-on exhibits that allow them to really put their creativity to work.
Willamette Falls has been an important part of the history of this region long before the pioneers arrived. Today, you can take a kayak tour with eNRG Kayaking to the base of the falls and hear about this history, and even see Native petroglyphs, along the way.
Originally built in 1915, the Oregon City Municipal Elevator is the only outdoor municipal elevator left in the United States. Free to ride, the observation deck at the top offers a bird’s eye view of downtown Oregon City and the historic Arch Bridge.
Located along the historic Barlow Road, which was the last section of the Oregon Trail, the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum is filled with the history of Mt. Hood. Discover the ski history of the area, history of the US Forest Service and of course a collection on the Barlow Road and Oregon Trial.
Also located along the historic Barlow Road, the Sandy Historical Society is filled with history from the area. Two floors of exhibits are filled with carefully curated pieces that provide a glimpse into the history of Sandy, Boring and the surrounding area.
The Barlow Toll Road, built in 1846, offered Oregon Trail pioneers a cheaper, more direct route to the Willamette Valley. The road was not easy for wagons and oxen to cross. You can still see the wagon ruts, called swales, where they travelled. No matter the distance you decide to hike, it’ll be fun for your family to follow in the footsteps of those pioneers.
Our Oregon Trail Activity Guide is a fun way to get kids interested in history. Filled with coloring pages, mazes, scavenger hunts and other activities, it will keep them so entertained they won't even realize that it's educational. Download your own copy today for free!