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Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway
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"The Main Oregon Trail Back County Byway allows us to share the Oregon Trail with the public from Glenn's Ferry to Boise. It is so accessible; you can follow it on county roads. You don't need 4-wheel drives. It's a great opportunity to share that history and have the people get out and enjoy it. You can get the booklet at BLM offices. It gives you mile by mile instructions on how to get there."
The Oregon Trail pioneers hitched their wagons to faith, hope and a dream. Their journey was not an easy one. They endured grueling hardships all for the opportunity to find a better life. Two primary trails made up the journey west. One trail headed southwest toward California, while the route to Oregon continued through southern Idaho along the Snake River . . . a river they eventually had to cross.
The Main Oregon Trail Backcountry Byway starts at Three Island Crossing on the Snake River near Glenns Ferry. Here many emigrants chose to cross the river to avoid the dry alternate route to the south. A visitor center at Three Island Crossing State Park tells their story. There's also a campground, picnic area, and interpretive trails here.
Whether exploring the bway with a group, or on your own, you will experience much of the route as the emigrants did. The ruts left from thousands of wagon wheels are still visible across the high desert of southern Idaho. Critical points along the Oregon Trail are marked for visitors as they work their way along the 102 mile byway. The best time of year to travel the route is spring or early fall when temperatures are mild.
Bonneville Point, named after an early Idaho explorer, gave emigrants their first glimpse of the Boise River Valley. A monument and interpretive site now mark this historic spot. While the byway ends near Bonneville Point, a side trip will take you to the Oregon Trail Head Interpretive Center on Highway 21 southeast of Boise. On the hillside you can still see the scars left behind where locked wagon wheels slid down over the rocky terrain to the river.