Fort Kearney in Nebraska was the first military post situated along the Oregon Trail. Many travelers bought food there and took advantage of the mail service at Fort Kearney. Today, Fort Kearney is designed to give visitors insight into life back then. There is a visitors interpretive center and a blacksmith-carpenter shop. Nearby Fort Kearney State recreation area offers 152 acres perfect for camping and hiking.
Fort Kearny SHP
1020 V Road
Kearney, Nebraska 68847-9804
Legend says that Independence Rock in Wyoming gained its name because travelers had to get to the rock by July Fourth. However, it actually gets its name from a group of fur trappers who camped there on that date. Today, visitors can stop at Independence Rock, along Highway 220. Close to the rest area, there is a well-worn path up to the top of the rock, where travelers had etched or painted their names, many of which can still be seen.
Three Island Crossing
The Three Island Crossing of the Snake River is said to have been the place where travelers had to decide between a dangerous but direct crossing of Snake River to Fort Boise or following the river around the bend. In actuality, there are two areas known as Three Island Crossing. One is Three Island Ford and allowed a crossing without having to swim across, while the other more dangerous crossing was actually a two-island crossing. Travelers combined the area to call it Three Island Crossing. Visitors to Idaho can see Three Island Crossing, which is now inside Three Island State Park. There are campgrounds in the area and numerous hiking trails.
Three Island State Park
Glenns Ferry, Idaho 83623
Fort Vancouver, Washington, situated on the other side of the Columbia River was the end of the trail for many travelers. It was built by John McLoughlin and was meant to be a center of commerce. Today, Fort Vancouver is a national historic site that includes the McLoughlin house in Oregon City. Visitors to Fort Vancouver can participate in either guided or audio tours of the area. Thee are also cultural demonstrations at McLoughlin House, such as Victorian handcrafting and a historic weapons firing program.
612 E. Reserve St.
Vancouver, Washington 98661-3897
713 Center St.
Oregon City, Oregon 97045-1948