Think Oregon

Exploring the Oregon Trail

Learn pioneer history with a modern-day app

Written by Corinne Whiting

For many, the words “Oregon Trail” conjure happy childhood memories of hopping on old-school computers to transform oneself into a fearless wagon leader. Hours swiftly passed as we guided settlers from Independence, Missouri to Oregon’s Willamette Valley along the 2,170-mile emigrant wagon trail. On a good day in this wildly popular fantasy-land set in the 1850s, you’d hunt enough game for a hearty bison dinner for you and your team; on a really bad day, you’d die of cholera or a pesky snakebite.

While history remains alive and well on the screen and through interactive technology, we’d argue it’s always much better to visit firsthand. And thanks to the new Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail app, going back in time in welcoming Oregon has never been easier to navigate. Whether you’re a history buff or not, we recommend adding learning about the fearless pioneers of the Pacific Northwest to your summertime bucket list.

With its abundance of museums, interpretive sites and historic homes, Mt. Hood Territory is steeped in rich history. Along the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail, TeleTales signs help point out significant sites and expose alluring tales of the region’s well-known past and lesser-known treasures. For example, discover how Portland got its name, and learn how the Supreme Court decided the fate of an elevator in a surreal tale that involves everything from dirty politics and a never-ending feud between the rich and poor to the end result of a spaceship, UFO-looking lift.

“I can’t make this stuff up,” joked said Aaron Liersemann, Tourism Development Specialist for CCTCA, who helmed the extensive project.

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