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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main route of Oregon Trail (green line) and California Trail (thick red line), including Applegate Trail (northernmost thinner red line)

The Applegate Trail was a wilderness trail through today's U.S. states of Idaho, Nevada, California, and Oregon, and was originally intended as a less dangerous route to the Oregon Territory. U.S. Route 99 through Oregon (now Oregon Route 99) and Interstate 5 follow the trail's route.



In 1843, part of the Applegate family of Missouri headed west along the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country.[1] Charles, Jesse, and Lindsay led their families along the trail and lost two children on the journey down the Columbia River.[1] The hardships along the way influenced the family to find an easier and safer way to the Willamette Valley.[1]

In 1846, the Oregon Provisional Legislature allowed the Applegates and others to attempt to find a more southerly route to Oregon.[2] The group began the task on June 25, 1846, with Jesse Applegate, Lindsay Applegate, David Goff, John Owen, B. F. Burch, W. Sportsman, Robert Smith, a Mr. Goodhue, J. Jones, B. Ausbuan, and Levi Scott starting the survey.[1][2] Leaving La Creole, the party spent three and a half months surveying a route to Fort Hall in present day Idaho.[3] At that location the Applegate Trail departed the main branch of the Oregon Trail.[3] On the return trip, the group brought approximately 150 immigrants along this southern route, also known as the South Road, South Emigrant Trail or the Scott-Applegate Trail.[3]


From Fort Hall, the route headed south following the Humboldt River before passing through the Nevada desert.[4] The trail then entered northern California and passed Goose and Tule lakes.[1] After crossing the Lost River, the route then crossed the Klamath Basin and the Cascade Range into Southern Oregon.[3] The trail then followed Keene Creek to the Siskiyou Mountains where it followed the south branch of the Rogue River.[3] Heading northerly, the route followed the Umpqua River before crossing the Calapooya Mountains into the southern Willamette Valley.[3]

Subsequent history

The trail continued to be used and improved over the next few decades after the initial party traveled the trail.[3] In 1848, when news of the California Gold Rush reached the Willamette Valley, many settlers left Oregon for the gold fields using the trail to reach northern California.[1] This included Jesse and Lindsay Applegate.[1] On August 3, 1992, the Applegate Trail became a National Historic Trail as part of the California National Historic Trail.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Most, Stephen. The Oregon History Project: Subtopic : Inhabiting the Land: The Applegate Trail. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved on June 8, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Brown, J. Henry (1892). Brown’s Political History of Oregon: Provisional Government. Wiley B. Allen. p. 292.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Portland: Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 218–19.
  4. ^ "Notable Oregonians: Jesse Applegate - Pioneer". Oregon Blue Book. Oregon State Archives. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-07.  
  5. ^ California National Historic Trail. National Park Service. Retrieved on June 8, 2008.

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