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Word Count: 538
The Oregon Trail was an overland emigrant route in the United States from the Missouri River to the Columbia River country was the way to travel back in the 1840s through the 1860s In 1843 the Great Emigration began and the west would never be the same after the out set of the travelers The pioneers by wagon train did not however follow any single narrow route In open country the different trains might spread out over a large area only to converge again for river crossings mountain passes In time many alternate routes also developed They originated at various places on the Missouri although Independence were favorite starting points the routes taken along with the wagon trails are the key points in which made it possible to travel westThose starting from Independence followed the same route as the Santa Fe Trail for some 40 miles then traveled to the Platte and generally followed that river to the North Platte and then the South Platte Crossing the South Platte the main trail followed the North Platte to Fort Laramie then to the present Casper Wyo and through the mountains by the South Pass to the Colorado River The travelers then went to Fort Bridger from which the Mormon Trail continued to the Great Salt Lake while the Oregon Trail went northwest across a divide to Fort Hall on the Snake River The California Trail branched off to the southwest but the Oregon Trail continued to Fort Boise From that point the travelers had to make the hard climb over the Blue Mountains Once those were crossed paths diverged somewhat many went to Fort Walla Walla before proceeding down the south bank of the Columbia River traversing the Columbias gorge where it passes through the Cascade Mountains to the Willamette Valley where the early settlement centered The end of the trail shifted as settlement spreadThe mountain men were chiefly responsible for making the route known and
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