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The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

In Wyoming, not far from Guernsey you can get to see history first hand. The physical impressions from the masses of wagons heading west on the Oregon Trail. For here we got to see the best examples of preserved wagon ruts along the whole former length of the trail.

P5191015 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

At this point, the pioneers heading west were forced away from the river, what with the terrain of back in the day. Such was the narrow corridor to pass through over this ridge it meant that virtually every single wagon that went on the trail in the mid 1800s had to cross over this area of soft sandstone at the exact same point. All those wagons, people and animals meant that not only were the tracks left as an impression in the ground, but the ground sank were the wagons went, by two to six feet!

P5190996 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

It was serene quiet area in the middle of nowhere. I was undertaking this journey of approximately 2200 miles by car in just over a week… by good roads. These tracks together with what I had learned so far before even reaching Wyoming made me thing a little of how it must have been for these people heading to the unknown. Their lives and belongings packed into a rickety wooden wheeled wagon, spending their last pennies on animals etc to hopefully get them all the way from Independence, Missouri to Oregon and the promise of a better life. So many months it took, so many dangers along the way.

P5191009 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

P5190992 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

Many undertook this mammoth journey even after hearing of the horror stories and with all the doubt of ever making it. Big river crossings, lack of food, disease, snakes, bears, loss of pulling animals, lack of water, the unthinkable crossing of the Rockies and the great plains. These are only a few of the dangers that lay before them, yet, thousands went ahead and the west was settled.

P5191000 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

This spot, the half mile or so of wagon ruts, are now a National Historic Landmark, a must see if taking on the trail and its history today.

P5191008 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

P5191016 The Guernsey Wagon Ruts of the Oregon Trail

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele


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  1. What a fascinating thing to see. I don’t know much about the Oregon trail but there’s something about looking at the path created by the wagons all those years ago that really tells a story.

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