Oregon Trails Advice Guide

Zoe Zamiatala & Courtney Loniello

Ten Helpful Tips

The Oregon Trail ran 2,000 miles from the east to the west. Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah would not be apart of the U.S. if the Oregon Trail wouldn't have been created. It was a dangerous and risky trip, one in ten people died along the way. The Native Americans helped the Americans. Cholera and poor sanitation was the biggest problems.

1. Jumping Off

This is very important because it helps your traveling group rest, rejuvenate, and be ready to complete the journey.

2. Waiting

Waiting is crucial for your transportation to be able to complete the journey. Pioneers would have to wait for the grass to grow, so their animals could graze on the way. If the grass wasn't ready the animals wouldn't be able to eat and the animals wouldn't survive and the people would have to walk.

3. Supplies

The settlers needed to make sure they had enough supplies to last the entire journey. They were recommended to have 200 pounds of flour, 150 pounds of bacon, 10 pounds of coffee, 20 pounds of sugar, and 10 pounds of salt. A typical family of four would need over a thousand pounds of food in order for everyone in the family to complete the journey healthy.

4. Wagons

Having a wagon was extremely important because you needed something to haul all of your supplies. All the wagons were small, about four feet wide and ten feet long. The covers were treated with linseed so the covers would be almost waterproof, but would eventually leak. The whole wagon was supported by a large axel, if it broke the pioneers would need to get a new one or they would be forced to walk the rest of the way. Most wagons had a toolbox, a water barrel, and hardwood brakes.

5. Congestion

If travelers left too early they would get caught in congestion. If they got caught in congestion they would have to travel with the greenhorns. Greenhorns were people who lived farther east and had little knowledge of how to drive a wagon or navigate their way. Many of the greenhorns didn't make it to Oregon or farther west.

6. Over Packing

Many emigrants over packed their wagons and took way more supplies then they needed, but they only noticed once they had started their long journey west. The pioneers were forced to throw things out. Scavengers would then pick up the thrown out items from the previous wagons.

7. Horses? Mules? Or Oxen?

Pioneers that were fortunate enough to have wagons to haul their supplies west, had to decide whether they wanted horses, mules, or oxen to do the job of pulling the wagon.

Horses were ruled out because they couldn't last the whole journey on just prairie grass. Oxen were the main choice of pioneers because, they were cheap, strong, and could live off of prairie grass. The only downside to having oxen do the job is they only traveled at 2 mph.

8. Weather

The weather played a great factor in how easy the trip west was for the settlers. Many of them got injured by the large hail. Rain poured very often and there was no shelter out in the open plains. The canvas wagon covers leaked after a while and all the supplies got wet.

9. Beware Of Cholera

Cholera was a deadly disease that roamed the Oregon Trails. It had no disease and may have been one of the biggest problems the settlers faced. The disease would infect one person and they might be dead by the end of the day. Many sick were left on the side of the trail to die alone. Cholera killed off many emigrants, and on bad years it could kill two-thirds of a family.

10. Buffalo

Buffalo herds roamed the plains of the great west. A large herd looked like a rushing ocean. The wagon trail would wait hours for a herd to cross the trail. Buffalo held up the train many, many times. The pioneers would hunt the buffalo not for materials, but for game.