When people think of the Oregon Trail, many initially recall the old computer game where players used math to restock supplies and hunted elk by typing “BANG.” But for 400,000 settlers in the mid-1800s, the reality was a 2,000-mile adventure that stretched from Missouri to Oregon City, half an hour southeast of Portland. At the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Historic Site, visitors can learn about their journeys and discover what it was like to be a pioneer.
Tips for Visiting the End of the Oregon Trail
When can I visit the Interpretive Center?
Sunday 10 a.m. -5 p.m.
The last admission to the Interpretive Center is 3:30 p.m.
How much does it cost?
Seniors (60+): $9
Youth (13-18): $9
Children ages 4-12: $8.
Children 3 and under and active military personnel are free.
Details are subject to change; please check End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center’s Website for current information.
How far is Oregon City from Portland?
What other historic sites are in Oregon City?
•Historic Oregon City, from Main Street, and up the bluffs overlooking the Willamette River.
•Take a short trip up the Oregon City Municipal Elevator off Main Street in downtown Oregon City. The original water-powered elevator was built in 1915 and renovated into what you can experience today in 1955.
•On the Overland Tour you can walk in the footsteps of pioneers along the Oregon Trail Experience Interpretive Trail, which features replica animals and landmarks, such as Independence Rock and Laurel Hill.
Made up of several buildings beneath giant wagon frames, the Interpretive Center contains hands-on exhibits where costumed interpreters describe the challenges of packing for the cross-country trek. Little explorers can get hands-on with history here by dressing up, packing a wagon and trying their hands at pioneer crafts and activities like candle making. The “Bound for Oregon” video presentation and other exhibits also immerse visitors in historical tales and explain how Oregon City was the end of the trail for many because it was where land claims were granted for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming.
The historic site is also home to the Country Store, where authentic keepsakes and locally made goods — like beaded items from Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde — are available for sale. Also on view is a Master Gardener’s Pioneer Garden, where plants and heirloom roses similar to those found in 1860s Oregon are on display. Expertly researched, the specimen roses are attended by master gardeners, who present plant life in pioneer times, a topic that, like Oregon, is still green today.
You can learn more about the rich history of the region, the Oregon Trail, and the people who traveled it with several special video presentations from the Interpretive Center and understand more about this region’s indigenous peoples, follow the history of Barlow Road, experience a day in the life of a Woman of the West and more.
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