Bart Smith Photography

​Walking Down a Dream

​Oregon Trail

  1. Managing Director
    Independence Courthouse reflected in drugstore window where a young Harry Truman once worked. Independence Square, Independence Missouri
  2. Managing Director
    Independence Courthouse, Missouri.
  3. Managing Director
    The Frontier Trail route out of Independence Missouri is well signed.
  4. Managing Director
    Shadows on abandoned metal bin east of Lawrence Kansas.
  5. Managing Director
    Oregon/California Trail crossing road between Gardner and Lawrence Kansas.
  6. Managing Director
    Deer on rural road of Oregon Trail between Lawrence and Topeka Kansas.
  7. Managing Director
    Capital of Kansas under renovation, Topeka "Back off, if you know whats good your yah".
  8. Managing Director
    Camp west of Topeka.
  9. Managing Director
    Squirrel near Red Vermillion River, Kansas along the Oregon Trail.
  10. Managing Director
    Road section between Red Vermillion River and Westmoreland Kansas.
  11. Managing Director
    Decomposing log emitting phosphorescent glow taken near my tent site outside of the village of Westmoreland Kansas. The temperature reached 112 degrees during the day which may have accelerated the bacteria.
  12. Managing Director
    Decomposing log emitting phosphorescent glow taken near my tent site outside of the village of Westmoreland Kansas. The temperature reached 112 degrees during the day which may have accelerated the bacteria.
  13. Managing Director
    Insciption of J.F. Reed, a member of the ill fated Donner Party. Alcove Springs Kansas
  14. Managing Director
    Mailbox along the Oregon trail Southern Nebraska
  15. Managing Director
    Bucolic rendering of Emigrants along the Oregon Trail through Northern Kansas. Hollenberg Museum, Kansas.
  16. Managing Director
    Wagon at camp. Hollenberg Ranch, Kansas.
  17. Managing Director
    Lone covered wagon on Prairie at Rock Creek State Historic Park, Nebraska.
  18. Managing Director
    Lone covered wagon heading towards the setting sun over Nebraska prairie at Rock Creek State Historic Park, Nebraska.
  19. Managing Director
    The route of the Oregon Trail through Nebraska is very well signed.
  20. Managing Director
    High hopes. A few miles fromLittle Sandy Station, Nebraska.
  21. Managing Director
    Wagon remnants beside granite marker designating the site of the Kiowa Pony Express Station along the Little Blue river, Nebraska.
  22. Managing Director
    I say old chap, you wouldn't happen to have lighter by jiffy? , Nebraska.
  23. Managing Director
    Juvenile Grasshopper, near the Little Blue River, Nebraska.
  24. Managing Director
    Sign above section of the Oregon Trail along the Little Blue river known as the "Narrows".
  25. Managing Director
    Myself with Jim Mermon, a farmer who walked with me for about five miles near Hastings Nebraska. His wife gave me a bag of goodies when she picked Jim up.
  26. Managing Director
    Susan Hail Gravesite, she was likely a victim of cholera, passing a way near this location on June 2, 1852. She was 34.
  27. Managing Director
    Lightening storm over the Platte River near Cozad Nebraska along the Oregon Trail.
  28. Managing Director
    "Seeing the Elephant" Rainbow and lightening along the Platte River. Near Cozad Nebraska.
  29. Managing Director
    Rainbow along the Platte River from passing thunderstorm near Cozad Nebraska.
  30. Managing Director
    Concrete statue of frontier soldier at site of Fort McPherson, built in 1866 to counter Indian uprisings in the 1860s.
  31. Managing Director
    Road sign along my walk of the Oregon Trail west of North Platte Nebraska.
  32. Managing Director
    Nebraska landscape west of Sutherland Reservoir, Nebraska.
  33. Managing Director
    Dried out canal, effect of 2012 drought along the Platte River supply canal west of Paxton Nebraska.
  34. Managing Director
    "I can fly circles around you, neener neener." Dragonfly, Oregon trail, Nebraska.
  35. Managing Director
    Access point to the swale of the Oregon Trail heading up California Hill west of Brule Nebraska. One of the most pronounce swale along the Oregon trail through Nebraska.
  36. Managing Director
    Swale of the Oregon Trail heading up California Hill west of Brule Nebraska. One of the most pronounced swales along the Oregon trail through Nebraska.
  37. Managing Director
    Location where the Oregon Trail begins steep descent into Ash Hollow Spring. Ash Hollow State Historic Park Nebraska.
  38. Managing Director
    From plaque memorializing the site of John Hollman's grave along the Oregon Trail near Oshkosh Nebraska. He died in 1852, likely of Cholera.
  39. Managing Director
    Another storm over the North Platte River, near village of Lisco Nebraska.
  40. Managing Director
    Another storm over North Platte River near village of Lisco Nebraska.
  41. Managing Director
    Auto accident memorial beside a braid of the North Platte River west of Broadwater Nebraska.
  42. Managing Director
    Nebraska State Highway. Platte River Valley east of Bridgeport Nebraska.
  43. Managing Director
    Camp in fallow field beside corn fields. Platte River Valley east of Bridgeport Nebraska.
  44. Managing Director
    "Seeing the Elephant" Narrow rain squall falling directly behind Jail Rock viewed from Courthouse Rock. Both Jail and Courthouse Rocks were important landmarks along the Oregon Trail, Nebraska. This storm flattened my tent and spawned a tornado many miles away.
  45. Managing Director
    "Seeing the Elephant" Both Jail and Courthouse Rocks were important landmarks along the Oregon Trail, Nebraska. This storm flattened my tent and spawned a tornado many miles away.
  46. Managing Director
    Expansive thunder cloud behind Jail Rock viewed from saddle with Courthouse Rock. Nebraska.
  47. Managing Director
    Distant Chimney Rock. Nebraska.
  48. Managing Director
    Chimney Rock viewed from eroded badlands at the west base. The wind blown shrub leaves scratch marks in the soft sandstone. Nebraska.
  49. Managing Director
    Chimney Rock from the cemetery. Nebraska.
  50. Managing Director
    Common items carried along the Oregon Trail. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska.
  51. Managing Director
    Wagons heading up to Mitchell along the Oregon Trail. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska.
  52. Managing Director
    Re-enactor holding tack, a common food along the trail, essentially flour biscuits. "It travelled well, filled the belly and broke your teeth". Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska.
  53. Managing Director
    Postcard of famous painting by William Henry Jackson depicting the Oregon Trail from Mitchell Pass. Scotts bluff National Monument. Nebraska.
  54. Managing Director
    Hoop Dreams, Wyoming.
  55. Managing Director
    Stump, Wyoming.
  56. Managing Director
    Grave site of Lucinda Rollins just outside Guernsey Wyoming.
  57. Managing Director
    Bart beside stone marker placed by Ezra Meeker designating the route of the Oregon Trail west of Guernsey Wyoming.
  58. Managing Director
    Tree growing in deep swale of the Oregon Trail along private property west of warm springs Wyoming. ( I was granted access through this private property)
  59. Managing Director
    Whimsical bicycle along Oregon trail west of Glendo Wyoming.
  60. Managing Director
    Very rare photo of a Jackelope. West of Douglas Wyoming.
  61. Managing Director
    "The Outliers", downtown Douglas Wyoming.
  62. Managing Director
    Old farm machinery along the Council Bluffs route of the Oregon Trail east of Glenrock Wyoming.
  63. Managing Director
    Gravesite of A.H. Unthank. A young man who succumbed to Cholera along the Oregon Trail a few miles east of Glenrock Wyoming.
  64. Managing Director
    Sculpture outside of the National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, Casper Wyoming.
  65. Managing Director
    Blacksmith shop at Fort Caspar Wyoming.
  66. Managing Director
    Eroded sandstone formations along "The Avenue of Rocks", a geologic landmark along the Oregon Trail west of Casper Wyoming that many of the Emigrants called "Devils Backbone".
  67. Managing Director
    Heading west along the Oregon Trail west of Prospect Hill Wyoming.
  68. Managing Director
    Independence rock reflected in Lake Playa. There are over 800 emigrant signitures carved into Independence Rock. It got it's name because the emigrants hoped to reach the rock by 4th of July to ensure snow free travel over the Blue and Cascade Mountains later in the journey.
  69. Managing Director
    Emigrant signature in Independence Rock appropriately etched on July 4th 1850. There are over 800 emigrant signatures carved into Independence Rock. It got it's name because the emigrants hoped to reach the rock by 4th of July to ensure snow free travel over the Blue and Cascade Mountains later in the journey.
  70. Managing Director
    Cow carcass along the Oregon Trail. Wyoming.
  71. Managing Director
    Split Rock along section of the Oregon Trail which today runs through private property of Sun Ranch. I was given permission to walk through.
  72. Managing Director
    Jeffrey City Wyoming. A uranium mine nearby gave Jeffrey City a brief boom in the 50s and then even briefer in the 80s. It is now a ghost town with a few hardy residents.
  73. Managing Director
    Along the Oregon Tail heading west towards Rocky Ridge and South Pass. Wyoming.
  74. Managing Director
    Along HW 28 nearing South Pass Wyoming.
  75. Managing Director
    South Pass, where the Oregon/California/Pony Express/Mormon Trails cross from the Atlantic drainage to the Pacific drainage.. The stone memorial was placed by Ezra Meeker in (I believe) 1906. Thanks buddy for all your efforts to memorialize the historic trail west.
  76. Managing Director
    Remnants of the Ghost town of Pacific Springs, a few miles west of South Pass Wyoming. It was more of a ghost ranch than town.
  77. Managing Director
    Remnants of the Ghost town of Pacific Springs, a few miles west of South Pass Wyoming.
  78. Managing Director
    Pacific Springs creek, the first water the Emigrants encountered which flowed west to the Pacific Ocean, a few miles west of South Pass. Wyoming.
  79. Managing Director
    Monument along HW 28 designating the "parting of the ways" for those emigrants who chose to take the Seminol Cutoff. This monument, however is now believed to be a substantial distance from the true Parting of the Ways. Along HW 28 Wyoming.
  80. Managing Director
    On the Tip of the Vortex
    Infinite Dust after setting the self timer on the camera affixed to a tripod in a culvert for a shaded lunch on another hot day along Oregon trail through Wyoming. Near Simpsons Hollow.
  81. Managing Director
    Moon rise over The Big Sandy River near Big Timber Pony Express Station site. Wyoming.
  82. Managing Director
    Rain over the desert east of Green River along the Oregon trail. Wyoming
  83. Managing Director
    Green River near Lombard Ferry Crossing along the Oregon trail. Wyoming
  84. Managing Director
    Badlands east of Granger Wyoming along the Oregon Trail
  85. Managing Director
    Storm clouds over Church Butte, an important landmark along the Oregon Trail in western Wyoming. A Pony Express Trail station was positioned nearby.
  86. Managing Director
    Goblins, evening light west of Church Butte along the Oregon Trail. Wyoming.
  87. Managing Director
    Dragonfly I photographed while resting along the Oregon trail west of Montpelier Idaho.
  88. Managing Director
    Along HW 30 and the Oregon trail west of Montpelier Idaho.
  89. Managing Director
    Oregon trail ruts still visible through Soda Springs Golf Course. Soda Springs Idaho.
  90. Managing Director
    Sheep Rock over Bear River. One mile west of Soda Springs Idaho.
  91. Managing Director
    Tools and yokes displayed in replica of Fort Hall, Pocatello Idaho.
  92. Managing Director
    Rough road a few miles west of Pocatello Idaho.
  93. Managing Director
    Room with a view. Camp a few miles west of Pocatello.
  94. Managing Director
    Very creative mailbox on the outskirts American Falls, Idaho.
  95. Managing Director
    Swale of Oregon Trail through recently burned section of Massacre Rocks State Park. It was near here that a small wagon train was attacked by Native Americans.
  96. Managing Director
    An etching by a 7 year old emigrant boy in 1866 of an Indian Chief at Register rock State Park. Idaho.
  97. Managing Director
    Baseline Road heading towards Rupert Idaho.
  98. Managing Director
    Food storage building and sometimes jail at Sticker Store. It provided provisions to emigrants along the Oregon trail during the later years of the migration. South east of Twin Falls Idaho.
  99. Managing Director
    Visitors enjoying Shoshone Falls Overlook along the Snake river at Shoshone Falls State Park Idaho.
  100. Managing Director
    Shoshone Falls along the Snake river at Shoshone Falls State Park Idaho.
  101. Managing Director
    Sun setting through wheat along Black Butte section of Oregon trail. Idaho.
  102. Managing Director
    Three Island Crossing where the Emigrants crossed the Snake River. Near Glenns Ferry Idaho.
  103. Managing Director
    Ruins of Canyon Creek Station. It was built in 1873, after the major migration along the Oregon Trail but the location was a popular campsite.
  104. Managing Director
    Becoming less visible over time this name was painted on Inscription Rock by an emigrant using axel grease from the wagon. Inscription Rock Idaho.
  105. Managing Director
    Open road along the Oregon Trail east of Boise Idaho.
  106. Managing Director
    Granite boulders and outcropping along the Oregon Trail, Idaho.
  107. Managing Director
    A character who stopped to talk with me for a while. I can't remember his last name but his first and middle name is John Wayne. About 12 miles east of Boise, Idaho
  108. Managing Director
    Cool restaurant in Notus Idaho.
  109. Managing Director
    Replica of Old Fort Boise in Parma Idaho.
  110. Managing Director
    Jan Boog walking the Oregon Trail through a remote region of Eastern Oregon, 2012.
  111. Managing Director
    Jan Boog resting on his journey along the Oregon Trail in a remote region of Eastern Oregon, 2012.
  112. Managing Director
    Three of my favorite things: Oregon, Beer and Motels. Oregon Trail Motel, Baker City, Oregon.
  113. Managing Director
    Vista from National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. It was built atop Flagstaff Hill roughly 8 miles from Baker City and well worth a visit. Oregon.
  114. Managing Director
    Dynamic weather over the Blue Mountains from along the Oregon trail near the town of North Powder. Oregon.
  115. Managing Director
    Close-up of deceased owl along Interstate 84. Oregon.
  116. Managing Director
    Deceased owl along Interstate 84. Oregon.
  117. Managing Director
    Ruts and swale of the Oregon Trail still evident through sections of the Blue Mountains. Oregon
  118. Managing Director
    "This is my post pal", Pendleton Oregon.
  119. Managing Director
    Dusk along Umatilla River Valley. Oregon.
  120. Managing Director
    Moonset along Umatilla River Valley. Oregon.
  121. Managing Director
    Graffiti on abandoned house along Umatilla River Valley. Oregon.
  122. Managing Director
    Ruts along the Oregon Trail through Echo Meadows. An excellent demonstration of swales and ruts five miles west of the town of Echo, Oregon.
  123. Managing Director
    Chasing rainbows along the Oregon Trail through Umatilla River Valley, Oregon.
  124. Managing Director
    Following the general route of the Oregon Trail through Umatilla River valley, Oregon.
  125. Managing Director
    Wagon parts scattered at Well Spring. A popular camp location along the Oregon Trail south of Boardman Bombing Range. Oregon.
  126. Managing Director
    An Oregon Trail sign along Eighteen Mile Canyon. Oregon.
  127. Managing Director
    Monument at site of McDonald Ford where the Oregon Trail crossed the John Day River. Oregon.
  128. Managing Director
    Columbia River from short stretch of The Oregon Trail still evident a few miles west of Biggs junction Oregon.
  129. Managing Director
    Camp along Pine Creek Valley, Oregon.
  130. Managing Director
    Laurel Hill, a very steep descent for the emigrants and their wagons. A few miles west of Barlow Pass. along HW 26. Oregon.
  131. Managing Director
    Cedar Forest along trail section of the Barlow Road route descending the Cascades. Near Zig Zag Oregon.
  132. Managing Director
    Trace of Barlow Road still evident a few miles east of Rhododendron Oregon.
  133. Managing Director
    Oregon Trail Monument. Near Rhododendron Oregon.
  134. Managing Director
    Forest just out side Oregon City. By the time many emigrants arrived at Portland most of the grand trees were cut down and many emigrants commented on the "forest of stumps". 170 years later this forest has returned.
  135. Managing Director
    One tired wet puppy upon completing my 2012 Oregon Trail walk. I started at Independence MO on June 15 and finished here at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on October 31.

​​Summary of the Trail




1978 - Oregon NHT

Hundreds of thousands of emigrants followed this 1,200 mile route in the 1840s and 1850s leaving the United States for the fabled Oregon Territory in search of wealth and fresh opportunities.  Families and individuals traveled in covered wagon trains that crossed the Grat Plains and snaked through rough mountain terrain.  This overland route crossed the Rocky Mountains at South Pass in what is now Wyoming, an area first explored by European fur traders in the early 1800s.  In 1836 a missionary party headed by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman proved that it could be accomplished by wagon - and the flood of westward expansion began.  

The Oregon NHT today stretches over 2000 miles of routes between Independence, Missouri, and Oregon City, Oregon and is administered by the National Park Service in close partnership with the Oregon-California Trails Association.  The was the first national historic trail added to the National Trails System - and many of the underlying concepts for NHTs were articulated in this trail's feasibility study. 

(See website "www.nps.gov/oreg")