Take a tour with us as we learn more about the people who traveled the Oregon Trail, experience a covered wagon and walk in the actual ruts from thousands of wagons.
Our next stop after the John Day Valley on our tour of northeastern Oregon was to the real Oregon Trail. I’m a lover of history and thought it would be fun to take the kids to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center just outside of Baker City. After spending the night with a girlhood friend of mine (thanks, Lori!), we headed up to Flagstaff Hill.
We were all super impressed with the center. They had very realistic exhibits of people on the Oregon Trail and stories of what they went through that gave us a bit of insight into what the experience must have been like for them. They didn’t leave out the details like how dirty it was, or the sadness some endured. None of us thought we would’ve been able to do it, honestly.
We also loved all the outdoor trails they’ve created that you can hike. They take you past replicas of a wagon encampment circled for the night. My daughter and I climbed up on one (allowed!) and imagined we were Ma and Laura Ingalls.
You can even see and walk the ruts left by the thousands of wagons that took this route to the West! Can you believe they’re still there? Thousands of wagons taking the same route and a hundred+ years later they’re still in evidence.
In this spot where Samson and I are, it was easy to imagine you could be walking alongside a wagon because if you look straight you can’t see power lines, cars, or buildings. Imagine WALKING more than a 1,000 miles and seeing this! Hardly the land of milk and honey, even though you’re in Oregon. You’ve got many more miles to go before you get to the endless forests you had read about.
On our way to Baker City, we stopped at a viewpoint where we could gawk at the Strawberry Mountains (so named for the wild strawberries that grow there).
On a frugal note, a road trip is one of the least expensive ways to see a lot without spending a lot. Our biggest expense is going to be gas. We’re eating food from our pantry, with only a couple of meals out planned. We’re staying in state campgrounds that are under $20 each night. We’re taking hikes during the day and playing dominoes in our trailer at night. The only place we’ve been that we’ve had to pay to get into was the Oregon Interpretive Center in Baker City, and that was only $8.00 for adults and kids under 16 are FREE. This is a great way to have a family vacation, seeing new and interesting things without breaking the bank!
I can’t help but brag a little bit about our gorgeous state! I’ve got a couple more posts up my sleeve to see if I can’t get anyone else to make the trip here to see some truly beautiful sights.