Idaho’s History With the Oregon Trail


The Oregon Trail is an important part of Idaho’s history. It brought immigrants to the state and there are a lot of stories and history held within the paths that the Oregon Trail has carved out of the land. These trails did not only bring people to Idaho but also through Idaho and allowed for people to travel and make trades. There are journals that have been left behind by people that travelled along the trails that describe the difficulties that they had to face. It is interesting to be able to read some of the passages that were written about something that you can review all the time that was such a big part of your history. The journals describe the areas they are in, the weather and the moods of the other travelers. These journals were upbeat and full of hope at first, they would have dances at night, race their wagons and play games with each other. As time wore on and the summer heat began to wear on them and their animals it became more difficult to keep up the spirits. If you go to the Oregon Trail and visit the museums that are there you can learn about all of these happenings and more. You can even tour the area and see where the travelers of the past came to the state and find a connection with the people of our past.

There are guides that you can use to follow while taking a car tour of the trails that will point out certain landmarks and areas that are spoken of in journals and maps we have found from people that have come to live in this area. These guides give information about the areas that you are visiting. There is more It is so fun to go and look around at the state that you live in and put yourself in the shoes of the people that brought you there. The people that made it possible to live in such a great state with opportunity and peace offered to you. It is important to remember the efforts that it took to get here. People searched and travelled to end up in the state of Idaho and make lives for themselves. They got into the fur trade, mining and farming and these are all things that some people still participate in today. There are small pieces of history that dots the entire state and there are several guides, museums and other resources that hold a lot of information for you to find. Luckily, a lot of the travelers had journals and documented parts of their travels. Of course, some information was lost in the travels or people did not write as much due to fatigue, lack of time and so on. However, we have compiled enough of the journals that we have been able to collect the information in each journal and connect some of the dots with the small passages that we have been given.

In the present day, there are several places that you can visit that are landmarks of the Oregon Trail and you can learn about the certain places. The naturally occurring carbonated water of Hooper Springs is not just a fun phenomenon to visit but it was a sign of getting out of the difficult Rocky Mountain terrain that the settlers had to travel through. Now you can visit there and see the springs and be a part of some of the history that Idaho holds. There is also a golf course that looks over the old trails that are still intact even after all of these years. The National Oregon/California Trail Center is a place you can visit and it is a memorial of the travelers that crossed the Oregon Trail. At this center, they represent the lives of the travelers through movies, paintings, displays and even life actors in period costume. This center is located where an actual encampment in Montpelier was located when the travelers where crossing through. Pocatello has created a Fort Hall Replica for people to visit and learn more about the past. Fort Hall was a trading post that turned into an encampment. Massacre Rocks State Park is along the Snake River and another place that the Oregon Trail reached within Idaho’s boundaries. You can camp here or bring your RVs to spend time in nature. There is also a building there with things that represent the Oregon Trail such as journal entries and other artifacts.

The Oregon Trail was an important part of Idaho history. It started getting a lot of people into the west and this helped Idaho grow. These travels were difficult and there are a lot of things that were left behind by the people that were using the Oregon Trail in search of a better life. We have their diaries, maps, tools and pictures to show for their labors. It is very interesting to learn about the way of life they had and the culture around the wagons that rode through the state. The people were tough and they made it through some very difficult times and that is one of the main reasons that we have so many things to remember them and honor them. Our state wants to pay respects to those that sacrificed to settle in this state and make it possible for us to live in the beautiful state of Idaho. Whether you visit one site at a time or you go on a roadtrip to check out every site there is at once, it is definitely a great experience to go and check out what was left behind and learn about that period of time. You can reflect on what they had to do and how that reflects in your life now. It helps put things in perspective as well as make you feel closer to the place you live in and fall even more in love with Idaho. Living in Idaho is a great blessing and it is very satisfying to learn about the people that first brought us all here.


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