by Deborah Miller, St. Joseph Of Cupertino

As early pioneers in the year 1849, students will travel the Oregon and California Trails in the search of a better life out west.

Introduction

The Oregon Trail was more than a pathway to the state of Oregon.  It was the only practical corridor to the western United States.  Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho and Utah would probably not be a part of the United States today if not for the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail was the only realistic way for settlers cross the mountains.

The first pioneers to go to Oregon in a covered wagon were Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (1836).  The big wave of western migration did not start until 1843, when about a thousand pioneers made the journey, “the great migration”.  Over the next 25 years, more than a half million people went west on the Trail. Some went all the way to Oregon's Willamette Valley in search of farmland and many more went to California in search of gold. 

The year is 1849 and you are living on the East coast.  The paper headlines scream “Gold is found in California”.  Will you face the perils of the Oregon and California Trails for your chance to strike it rich?  Click on the links to begin your quest.