Oregon’s history is deeply tied to its trails. The routes followed by American explorers stretched across the Oregon Country a full 50 years before the Oregon Trial migrations of the mid-1800s. And before the explorers were the systems of trails used by the wide variety of tribal groups who populated the region.
Oregon’s historic trails represent the transformation of the American West and are essential to understanding Oregon’s history. Oregon’s historic trails combine to tell a story, beginning before Euro-Americans arrived and continuing through the Nez Perce War of 1877. Together they present an interwoven account of native peoples, explorers, and settlers. The outcomes of their travels and activities shaped the place where we live, for today we still travel many of the historic routes that are now the foundation of Oregon’s modern transportation system.
The Oregon Historic Trails Fund awards grants to develop interpretive, educational, and economic projects to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of Oregon’s historic trails.